Quite the opposite occurred as the Broncos defense came out playing with the kind of intensity it had during the 2015 Super Bowl run, while the offense came out and played like the Star Wars offense Peyton Manning ran in 2013.
The result was a 42-17 smashing of preconceived notions of the 2017 season.
If we had enough staff, we’d give game balls to just about everyone in this game. Here’s who we were able to reward today.
Part of me wants to just say "if you're reading these, you've seen the game. His game spoke for itself." when saying that Trevor Siemian gets my game ball. But I suppose I'll write something. 231 yards and 4 TDs. No, those aren't Aaron Rodgers numbers, those are Trevor Siemian's numbers.
I know Dallas fans will say that they were down to their waterboy playing corner with the injuries, but you know what? Good QBs play great when they need to, and play great when given the opportunity to. If Siemian wasn't a good QB, he wouldn't have taken advantage of the opportunities afforded him. Plus he threw some really really nice balls, and showed mobility with a few first downs and key runs to shorten the down and distance.
All in all, I'm getting very comfortable with Siemian as our QB. So much so that I'm about ready to say we may never see Paxton Lynch play a snap for our team barring injury. As in, ever. Trevor, keep it up, you are looking like a true franchise QB. And after tonight, unless Stafford throws for more than 2TD, guess who will be #1 in the NFL in touchdowns after 2 weeks? Our very own Trevor Siemian. I'm not saying he'll be the next Montana or Brady, but man, in 10 years when the next up and coming "game manager" QB is lighting it up, the conversation might turn to "he may not be the next Brady, Montana, or Siemian, but he looks really good." - Pete Baron
118 rushing yards and a touchdown. 36 receiving yards and a touchdown. C.J. Anderson was a beast against the Dallas Cowboys. More than his stat, it was they way he ran. He was a wrecking ball, pushing piles, moving the chains, and helping to keep the offense on the field. Anderson has always been a strong runner. Sunday was his biggest performance since 2015, and the statement made was that the Broncos are a force to be reckoned with.
You can point to several reasons the Broncos beat the Cowboys. The passing attack was solid, the blocking was the best it's been in a long time. The defense consistently stopped the run. In the end, it all came down to attitude. That attitude started with Anderson bowling balling his way around the field. - Adam Malnati
In a game showcasing a Broncos' run defense that decimated the league's heretofore best rushing attack, the "Von Miller Effect" could have gone unnoticed. But Pro Football Focus certainly noticed...as did Dak Prescott.
Posting an 89.6 overall grade this week - second highest among all edge defenders - Miller's 22.6 pass rushing productivity was second-best in the league this weekend, totaling a league high 12 pressures, two sacks, two QB hits, and eight QB hurries, plus one batted pass.
And the Broncos' record books certainly noticed too, as Miller passed Barney Chavous for third on the team's all-time sack list. - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
Chris Harris Jr.
For his career Dak Prescott has a quarterback rating of 100.6, last week at home against the New York Giants he had a 90.5, this week against the Broncos he had a 68.6 and against Chris Harris Jr. he had an 8.9. See how the great Dak Prescott only gets worse the closer that he gets to Harris? Prescott doltishly tested Harris eight times, Harris allowed three catches for 29 yards. He also had an interception, two pass defenses, six solo tackles and played center fielder on Denver's stack defense which employed three defensive backs including Harris at safety. - Ian Henson
The story of the week will be (rightly so) the Denver run defense holding Zeke Elliot to less rushing yards than Tom Brady had this week. But the scheme that allowed that to happen is only possible because of guys like Aqib Talib in the secondary. Denver essentially lined Talib up on Dez Bryant all day and said, "have fun", and he did. The trust Denver placed in their corners, and those guys' effectiveness allowed them to commit more bodies to the run game to shut down the best running attack in the league.
Dez Bryant got the better of the matchup for one score on a tough back shoulder throw, but after that, it was Bryant who was playing DB more often than not. Talib was running Dez's route for him and almost hauled in two interceptions throughout the game, until he finally snatched Dak Prescott's throw into the end zone and ran it back all the way for his 10th pick six of his career.
Apparently no one told Aqib Talib that corners start to slow down once they past 30 years old. He got Joseph's gameball after the game, and he gets mine today. - Jeff Essary
I think Talib has made a strong case to be remembered as an all-time Broncos great player.— Jess Place (@Jezru) September 18, 2017
@AqibTalib21 passes Deion Sanders, Ken Houston & Aeneas Williams into 4 place on all-time list w/10 interceptions returned for touchdowns.— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) September 18, 2017
So last season, the Cowboys defense was pretty good in run defense (11th in ypc allowed, 1st in rushing yards allowed - which is all the announcers wanted to talk about), so I'm sure that Ronald Leary had something to prove to his old defensive teammates yesterday.
He wanted to show them that they never had to face him as a run blocker. He proved that the 2017 Broncos running game is most definitely not the 2016 Broncos running game as he paved the way to 178 rushing yards on 39 carries (4.6 ypc). This would have been a larger ypc value if not for the end of the game runs where the Cowboys had 12 men in the box.
Leary also had two tackles in the game, one on the fumble and one on the interception, which was the same number of tackles that Von Miller was credited. And if his run blocking and tackling prowess were not enough, he was also darn good as a pass blocker not allowing a single QB hit this game (Siemian was only hit 4 times outside of the two sacks, three of the hits were the fault of Watson and the other was on Garcia or Barbre if I remember correctly). - Joe Mahoney
Last week Trevor Siemian and Emmanuel Sanders just couldn't seem to get on the same page, especially during critical throws into the endzone. They must have studied up, because this week that connection was humming. Sanders matched Demaryius Thomas for a game-high 6 catches, but while DT got more yards it was Sanders who hauled in the touchdowns. Sanders found a gap near the back of the endzone, and Siemian dropped a dime to to him over triple coverage for the first score of the game.
And with less than 2 minutes left in the first half, Sanders ran a pivot route that got him wide open for Siemian as the QB completed a play-action rollout. Throw in four more catches, often with a generous side of YAC, and it was a good day and a nice bounceback for #10. - Taylor Kothe
My game ball goes to Mike McCoy. It is completely obvious to me and anyone who is a fan of the game that the Denver Broncos have completely flipped the script on the offensive side of the ball. Where they were in 2016 completely predictable, they are now completely unpredictable. They are using the entire field in both the run and pass games. The offense doesn't key in on a small handful of players, but is utilizing all of the weapons that are dressing on game day. The players know it to as was obvious from their answers in the press conferences. Mike McCoy is an NFL weapon and he game planned a completely massacre on Sunday afternoon against the Dallas Cowboys. - Sadaraine
Broncos Defensive Line
Tom Brady finished with nine yards rushing on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. In most cases that’s not significant to Denver. Who gives a shit what Brady does? This is an exception to that general notion. Brady finished with more yards rushing than Ezekiel Elliott.
In fact, the Cowboys running back had more carries (nine) than he did yards (eight). That’s a direct result of how dominant the Broncos defensive line was in this game. No matter the game plan the coaches concoct, the players have to execute. Domata Peko, Derek Wolfe, Adam Gotsis, Shelby Harris and the others humiliated the vaunted Dallas offensive line. They made the Cowboys look soft and weak. Even that is an understatement.
In the biggest test to date, Denver’s front not only aced it, but sent a message: We will beat you down until you’re ours. Here’s where it gets fun for the Broncos - they did this without Zack Kerr and Ahtyba Rubin. Good luck to LeSean McCoy and the Buffalo Bills, you’ll need it. - Ian St. Clair
When Wade Phillips moved on, there was worry the Broncos defense would miss his 40+ years of NFL experience. The Broncos just weren’t willing to take the risk of losing Joe Woods who was the architect of the No Fly Zone and made the decision to promote him to defensive coordinator.
Through two games, it sure looks like John Elway made the right decision. This defense is as ferocious as ever and Broncos Country excitement is growing with each impressive performance. - Tim Lynch
VJ on run defense: "Joe had a great plan, our plan was to fog every gap, play man free with our corners outside...and it worked."— Brandon Krisztal (@BKDenverSports) September 18, 2017
You probably don't know who he is, but Casey Kreiter is the best long-snapper in the entire NFL and a standout performer on special teams. The Denver Broncos kicked ass and took home a lot of names against the Dallas Cowboys, so why shouldn't Kreiter get a game ball too? Everyone gets a game ball! - Christopher Hart