ARLINGTON, Texas – The Denver Broncos have had trouble consistently finding their lane this season.
But Sunday was perhaps the franchise’s best win since Peyton Manning called it a career six years ago, a 30-16 victory Sunday over the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.
Facing injuries across the deep box, the Broncos ran the ball effectively and when the right moment came, they put their foot on the gas for a big play in the big moments. The defense, meanwhile, kept one of the most powerful offenses in the league without a point in the fourth quarter.
The Broncos need to feel comfortable playing this type of soccer.
“Our offense ran the ball well, we moved the ball,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio said. “… We were getting first downs, which is critical when you play against such a good team. You want to play, stay away, stay away while you move and score.”
Start with the Broncos ‘190 rushing yards on offense, including rookie Javonte Williams’ first 100-yard career game (111 yards on 17 carries) and 80 more from Melvin Gordon III. The Broncos were patient with the overall running game reaped the massive rewards.
The Broncos are now 4-0, including a previously 6-1 win over the Cowboys, when they hold the ball long enough to squeeze at least 28 carries in a game, 1-4 when they are 23 or less. It’s no coincidence that when they run the ball more, with more intent, they also create more big plays in the passing game and Bridgewater works under the center much closer to 50% of the time.
On Sunday, the Broncos had two 40-yard pass plays, including Tim Patrick’s 44-yard touchdown in the second quarter. It was the first time this season they had two 40-yard pass plays in the same game. Bridgewater averaged 13.1 yards per completion, which is where the league’s most productive quarterbacks have been this season: Joe Burrow entered Week 9 leading the league with 13.3 yards per completion for the year.
“We knew what we’re capable of, we just haven’t put it all together,” Patrick said. “… A full team like that, it just excites you, now that we’ve seen it, we know we just have to stick to the plan and keep doing it week after week.”
The Cowboys stoked the Broncos ire on their first two possessions of the game when Dallas tried to convert a quarter and 1 at the Denver 38 and a quarter and 2 at the Denver 20, both in the first quarter. The Broncos defense held out both times and Denver converted the second for its first score of the game.
“Disrespectful,” Patrick said. “That’s disrespectful shit, that’s what happens when you test us.”
“We went out to the field [after the fourth-down attempts], with a little bit of anger honestly … because they’re saying our offense isn’t going to score or something like that, “Bridgewater said.” We talk about it. “
The Broncos’ task now, with Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) to follow before a much-needed break, repeating the effort against the Cowboys. When asked after Sunday’s game if this is where the bar is for this team now, Fangio said simply:
“We are 5-4, the bar is at 6-4,” said Fangio.