In the first game action of the 2022 season, the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys pitted their backups against each other in each team’s preseason debut. Denver had dominated the Cowboys during their joint practice session on Thursday and that domination continue through much of the game on Saturday.
The Broncos beat the Cowboys 17-7, but the story for Dallas was highlighted by the onslaught of penalties. They finished with 17 on the night. That made it easy for the Broncos to keep up the pressure and the lead for the whole game.
- ILB Jonas Griffith left game in first quarter with a left elbow injury.
- CB Michael Ojemudia left game in first quarter to be evaluated for a concussion; he was later cleared to return.
- CB Delarrin Turner-Yell left the game in the fourth quarter to be evaluated for a concussion.
Both teams were rather off on offense to start the game. Neither team completed a pass until halfway through the first quarter. The Cowboys did get things going on the heels of that first completion, but the drive was stuffed by an interception from P.J. Locke on fourth down.
That spurred the Broncos offense out of their slumber as Josh Johnson finally got his first completion to Seth Williams for 19 yards into field goal range. Two short passes later Johnson was faced with a third and two, but his pass was a little off target to Mike Boone in the flat. The pass was catchable, but he couldn’t bring it in. On fourth and two, Albert Okwuegbunam whiffed on his block leading to Johnson being pressured into throwing the ball in the dirt.
The first quarter would end with the Cowboys facing another fourth down near midfield.
After another failed fourth down by Dallas, the Broncos quickly turned things into offensive big plays. Wide receiver Brandon Johnson caught a deep pass down the field for a 40-yard gain to setup a first and goal at the five yard line.
Josh Johnson would seal the deal with a one-yard pass to Seth Williams for the touchdown and the first half lead.
Broncos 7, Cowboys 0.
Dallas would end up punting on their next possession where rookie Montrell Washington would return the punt 27 yards to set the Broncos offense up with excellent field position. Josh Johnson would cap the drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Kendall Hinton to put Denver up by two scores.
Broncos 14, Cowboys 0.
In the minute drill, the Cowboys did begin to threaten moving into Broncos territory. However, Baron Browning had quite a first half with a few tackles for a loss and pressures. He got to the Cowboys quarterback for a big sack to force a third and 21 with just over a minute left in the half to keep them scoreless.
Josh Johnson would get cooking with just over a minute to go and led the team down the field to setup Brandon McManus with a 52-yard field goal attempt to end the half.
Broncos 17, Cowboys 0.
Rain began to fall as the teams took the field in the second half. They would exchange punts, but the Cowboys pinned Denver on their own one yard line with theirs.
Backed up on their one one-yard line, Jalen Virgil broke free down the sideline where Brett Rypien fired a perfect pass for a 42-yard gain.
Rypien would quickly pass the team down inside the 10 for a first and goal opportunity at the five yard line. The drive would stall at the three-yard line, but they would go for it on fourth down. The Rypien was was nearly intercepted, then nearly caught for a touchdown, before falling incomplete. Denver would come away empty handed after a 96-yard drive.
The Cowboys couldn’t stop shooting themselves in the foot, however, ending the third quarter with 14 penalties for 114 yards in the game.
Dallas had their best drive of the game into early in the fourth quarter, but a missed field goal kept the score 17-0.
After that missed field goal, the Broncos were getting some momentum. However, whether it was the rain playing a factor or whatever it was, penalties began to bite the Broncos. Back-to-back penalties led to a 1st and 25. That would predictably lead to a punt.
The fourth quarter continued to drag on as both teams began to pile up the penalty numbers. Mercifully, the game would come to an end with a late score by the Cowboys. Denver would take the win 17-7.
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