Hourglass

Denver Broncos 30, Dallas Cowboys 16: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Denver Broncos stunned the NFL world by beating the Dallas Cowboys in a dominant fashion with a 30-16 victory. After trading future Hall of Fame member Von Miller to the Los Angeles Rams, many felt the Broncos had thrown in the towel this season.

But the players and coaching staff shrugged off the negativity in the air and focused on their work in a grand way. Hopefully this match is a harbinger of what’s left of the season for the Orange and Blues.

Let’s review the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Broncos’ massive win over the Cowboys.

Good

Defensive domination

The Broncos played a locked-down defense against one of the league’s most powerful offenses. Denver’s defensive front-four kept Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott under constant stress.

Rookie outside linebacker Jonathon Cooper was on fire, sacking Prescott twice in key game situations. The Broncos defense refused to be rushed into short range situations and managed to stop the Dallas offense on three fourth down situations, including two early in the game that set the tone.

The Broncos played a decisive complementary defense. The defensive line stuffed running back Ezekiel Elliott, the linebackers played with a high engine and swarmed, and the secondary played suffocating cover. After some questionable defensive game plans, head coach Vic Fangio called the best game of the season so far, passing darling Dallas media offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

Bridgewater Teddy Bear

After four slow performances, Bridgewater made the difference in Sunday’s competition. The veteran flagger did the right readings and was strategically aggressive with deep passes.

Bridgewater completed 19 of 28 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown, as well as a rushing score, which was shrewd sneakiness on the goal line. A key part of the Broncos’ victory was the QB.

Clock control

The Broncos offense controlled the clock – at 41:12 to 6:48 p.m. – keeping the Cowboys’ powerful offense on the sidelines. The rushed attack was the tip of the spear with Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams combining 191 yards on the ground and sucking all the sand out of the game’s hourglass.

While Bridgewater’s play this season hasn’t been stellar, when given enough time in the pocket, it is effective. For those asking for Drew Lock to start, pump the brakes.

General managers George Paton and Fangio’s remarks regarding their belief in Teddy reveal that barring injury, Bridgewater will be the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season.

Offensive line

The offensive line has opened holes as wide as the Colorado River. Denver’s O-line kept Cowboys defensemen on their heels the entire game, no matter which number was called. Hopefully the offensive line can maintain their high level of play, as the unit’s performance was a critical part of the Broncos’ surprise victory.

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The bad

Special teams

The Broncos continue to be plagued by poor special teams play. Basic kickoff coverage appears to be too complicated for the unit to master. In the opening kickoff, the beleaguered Broncos third-phase unit gave up on a long, demoralizing comeback.

More serious was a blocked punt the Broncos gave up, which was thankfully canceled due to an odd rule that is rarely implemented in the NFL. Kicker Brandon McManus, one of the league’s most trusted specialists, missed a workable field goal and an extra point.

“Yes, our special teams took the day off today,” Fangio said after the game.

The special teams unit owes its offensive and defensive counterparts a cup of Gatorade for saving them from yet another poor performance.

The ugly one

Injuries

The Grim Reaper continues to roam the Broncos roster. Rookie cornerback Patrick Surtain II, right guard Graham Glasgow and right tackle Bobby Massie left the game with injuries. Surtain and Massie will run out of time as Glasgow is made for the year.

The Broncos’ “next man in place” mentality is being tested by the NFL’s injury and COVID protocols.


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