clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Denver Broncos are better than anyone expected, especially Dallas

New, comments

The Broncos announce themselves as a contender with a big win over the Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

An honest fan will tell you that the Denver Broncos probably didn’t have much chance to win their game against the Dallas Cowboys. While I predicted a Broncos win on the MHR predictions article, I was skeptical. The Broncos had more than couple questions about the offensive and defensive lines going into the game.

Are the questions answered? No, but things look a lot clearer. The defensive line held up their end, holding Ezekiel Elliot to just 8 yards on 9 carries. I was told there would be no math, but that is less than a yard per carry if your keeping score at home.

Domata Peko and Derek Wolfe created push up front that Elliot could not penetrate. The defensive line rotation harassed and bullied the Cowboys offensive line. It was a tall order, but they showed up for the challenge. Their ability to dictate the line of scrimmage forced the Cowboys into the exact offensive scheme the Broncos wanted.

The ideal game plan included stopping the run and forcing Dak Prescott to beat the No Fly Zone. That is a rare feat, and one he failed to accomplish. Both Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib came away with interceptions. Talib’s was exclamation point filled 103 yard pick six, assuaging any leftover fears of a crazy 4th quarter collapse that almost ruined week one.

The secondary did it’s job, and the defensive line did it’s job, which allowed Von Miller and Shaq Barrett to harass Prescott. Miller came away with two sacks, breaking a streak of 5 games without a sack. Miller continues to be a massive threat, and offensive coordinators must adjust to his presence.

The Cowboys had obviously put together a game plan concentrating on Miller. As their plan fell apart, Miller was able to pressure and then eventually get to Prescott.

On the other side of the ball, the offensive line played well. Not great, but good enough to allow the Broncos to move the ball, and get points on the board. It is still not a perfect unit, and with the Garett Bolles injury, things might get a little worrisome in the coming weeks. However, C.J. Anderson ran behind that line like a man possessed.

Anderson’s ability to run the ball played a big part in Trevor Siemian being able to carve up the Cowboys secondary. Injuries too their toll on the Cowboys, but Siemian did something he was not capable of doing in 2016, he took advantage.

For the second week in a row Siemian looked like the man in charge on the field. He was comfortable in the pocket. He ran well when he needed to, and he was accurate. His 22 completions for 231 and 4 touchdowns was more than a little encouraging.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing. Siemian fumbled, but that was probably more on Menelik Watson for his poor blocking. He had a bad interception. That was completely on him. It looked like a busted play that should have been a run. It almost seemed like he thought he called a pass play, but everyone else played it as a run. When he let the ball go, Demaryius Thomas had no idea the ball was coming. The whole play felt off.

Even with a few miscues, and an injury to Bolles, the offense was on fire. Nobody thought the Broncos would have the ball enough to score 35 offensive points. And most people still don’t see the Broncos offense as a real threat. That should change in the coming weeks.

Siemian did a great job getting the ball into the hands of his playmakers. Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders both had 6 catches. Thomas went for 71 yards, while Sanders went for 62 and 2 touchdowns. Virgil Green and C.J. Anderson had the other touchdowns.

For all the pundits, and experts who didn’t think Denver could compete in 2017, the first two weeks of the season seem to be pointing in the other direction. It’s early, but watching the Broncos dismantle the Cowboys was up lifting. Dallas is considered a contender to be the NFC representative in the Super Bowl. Denver is pushing to be in the same conversation.

Things won’t get any easier, as Denver has the toughest schedule in the NFL. If they can continue to make statements like they did against the Cowboys, it will be impossible to ignore the Broncos as a true contender.