Former President George W. Bush flipped the opening coin toss and it fell in favor of the Denver Broncos who deferred to the second half, giving Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys the ball first to start the game.
The Cowboys got a Tom McMahon special to open the game returning the Brandon McManus kickoff to the Broncos’ 47-yard line.
An incomplete pass and a four-yard run by Zeke Elliot setup the Cowboys first third down of the game. Prescott on third and six, connected with Amari Cooper for five to bring up a fourth down. Justin Simmons flew in to stuff Elliot short of the line gain for a big turnover on downs.
Really nice play by Justin Simmons on 4th and short pic.twitter.com/XRq905IhVk— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 7, 2021
Teddy Bridgewater held the ball far too long to take a sack on first down. We all knew Pat Shurmur would call a run play on second and 18 and Melvin Gordon was blown up for a two yard loss. Bridgewater wouldn’t have a shot to convert and had his pass broken up for a quick three and out for Denver.
The Broncos defense continued to shine with Pat Surtain pass breakup on first down and another second down Zeke carry for five yards. On third and five with the Cowboys going no huddle, Prescott drew Stephen Weatherly offsides to get the free first down.
Two plays later on another third down, Johnathan Cooper nearly had a sack, but in stead Prescott found Amari Cooper open short who turned it up field for a 32-yard gain into Broncos territory.
Jonathon Cooper can't get to Dak Prescott, who finds Amari Cooper for a big gain pic.twitter.com/KgEV84PQ9V— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 7, 2021
Despite that breakdown, the Broncos defense continued to force the Cowboys into a third down every single time. Two plays after that big play, Prescott facing a third and nine was almost sacked again but rolled out and was able to scramble for seven yards. They were in field goal range at that point, but the elected to go for it on fourth and two. A wide open receiver was there, however the Prescott pass was tipped at the line for another turnover on downs.
Broncos come up huge on 4th down yet again.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 7, 2021
Dre'Mont Jones looks like he batted the pass. pic.twitter.com/gA1CWRWZKf
A busted play led to negative three yards on a Bridgewater pass to Albert O on first down. On second and 13, Javonte Williams got the first positive yardage for the Broncos offense on the day who gained 11 yards on a tough run inside.
Javonte Williams with a nice run on 2nd and 13 pic.twitter.com/6tXuYwqv7Z— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 7, 2021
He got the third down hand-off as well and ran through a huge hole for a 20 yard gain. It wouldn’t be three in a row as Williams was blown up for a short loss on first down.
Jerry Jeudy was double covered deep and made a beautiful catch for a 25-yard gain down to the Cowboys 30-yard line.
Teddy Bridgewater with a 25-yard checkdown to Jerry Jeudy pic.twitter.com/wVO7TMDO8N— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 7, 2021
Williams followed up that play breaking tackle after tackle on his way to a seven yard gain on first down. Melvin Gordon then got in the action with a 13-yard run down to the 10 for a first and goal for Denver.
After a short gain by Gordon and a false start penalty by Graham Glasgow, the Broncos drive nearly completely stalled out. A fortunate pass interference on Trayvon Diggs who was all over Courtland Sutton set Denver up with a first and goal at the one yard line where Gordon would punch it in two plays later for the big first quarter lead for Denver.
McManus inexplicably missed the extra point for a huge momentum killer.
Broncos 6, Cowboys 0.
In the first quarter it became clear the Broncos offense and defense had come to play as massive underdogs to the Cowboys.