With almost 100 total points and over 1,000 yard of total offense, it was a good old fashion shootout deep in the heart of Texas. The Denver Broncos walked away with the narrow 51-48 win over the Dallas Cowboys under the big screen and on the big stage.
Jerry’s World turned into Mile High South, with much of AT&T Stadium decked out in orange. It didn’t feel like an easy home win, however.
Matt Prater kicked a 28-yard field goal as the clock hit 0:00 to break the tie and give the Broncos a pleasant flight back to Denver. With the win, the Broncos made it 16 straight regular season wins and eight straight road victories, which sets a new team mark.
Peyton Manning, Julius Thomas, Knowshon Moreno. Wait, wait, wait. The Cowboys put 48 points up on the board against the Broncos. Huh? The absence of Von Miller was certainly felt as Tony Romo passed for 506 yards and five touchdowns without much pressure all day. Champ Bailey’s absence was felt with Dez Bryant running around like it was recess on his way to six catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns. It certainly didn’t help that MLB Wesley Woodyard (neck), DE Robert Ayers (shoulder) and CB Chris Harris (concussion) were lost early in the game.
Nevertheless, the Broncos got it done with big plays when it mattered most. We can’t go any further without talking about Danny Trevathan. He was the ‘Big D.’ He made Tony Romo look like Tony Romo. The linebacker injured his knee earlier last week in practice. It didn’t show on Sunday. With the game tied and the Cowboys ready to drive with 2:39 left, Trevathan picked off a pass intended for Gavin Escobar at the Dallas 24-yard line. That play set up Prater’s eventual game winning boot.
“He’s a great young player,” John Fox said of Trevathan. “I think he works very hard. I think we all breathed a sigh of relief when his MRI came back negative. Shoot, he was at practice the very next day. But it appeared to be a pretty serious injury, but it ended up being a very minor injury.”
While Romo pulled a “Romo,” Manning was his usual self except he made a mistake. Gasp! He threw his first interception of the season after passing for 19 touchdowns and running for one (his first touchdown run in five seasons).
“It was a bad decision,” Manning said of his pick. “We were trying to get something down the field. They were in zone coverage. I thought I might be able to get one in there. Didn’t make a good throw but it really wasn’t a good decision as well, so certainly a bad time for it.”
It was an under thrown ball intended for Eric Decker in the third quarter that simply showed he was human. That’s all. No more, no less. Manning ended the day going 33-for-42 with 414 yards and four touchdowns. His favorite target was Julius Thomas, who had nine receptions for 122 yards and two jaunts into the end zone.
The ground game took off under Knowshon Moreno, who had 93 yards on 19 carries (4.9 avg.). He came up big in the receiving game as well with five catches for 57 yards.
Like every other game this season, it was a total team performance. For as poorly as the Broncos played, particularly in the beginning, and for how well the Cowboys played, it’s unreal that the Broncos walked away with a win on the road. It goes to show their dominance, their determination, their desire to win. Those are the real ‘Big D’s.’