Well, that looked easy.
The Dallas Cowboys went 13-3 last year behind the strength of their running game and quarterback Dak Prescott. They were a popular pick to reach the Super Bowl going into this year.
Then Dallas rolled into Denver on Sunday and got absolutely throttled. The Broncos were better in every facet of the game. Aqib Talib capped things off with a 103-yard interception return for a touchdown.
“I was going to run up in them stands and get me a hot dog,” Talib said afterward. “That was my initial plan.”
It was that kind of day for Denver. To the numbers.
The Broncos rushed the ball 39 times for 178 yards. It was their highest rushing total since they had a 190-yard day nearly 11 months ago in a win over the Texans.
C.J. Anderson played another great game, carrying the rock 25 times for 118 yards and score. Anderson eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for the sixth time in his career. Denver is undefeated in those games. Anderson averaged over three yards after contact per carry and forced six missed tackles, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s rolling right now.
Trevor Siemian targeted his best two receivers, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, 16 times. Thomas finished with six catches for 71 yards. Sanders had six catches for 62 yards and two TDs. Sanders ran some beautiful routes. R.I.P. Jourdan Lewis’ ankles.
Ezekiel Elliott rushed the ball nine times for 8 yards — a 0.9 yards-per-carry average. When asked if he could remember the last time he rushed for single digits, Elliott told reporters, “never.”
The Broncos’ run defense is back after a down year in 2016.
Dak Precott attempted 50 passes. Fifty! Only once in his NFL career had he thrown the ball 40-plus times in a game. Then Sunday came, and he hit the half-century mark. Asking so much of the second-year quarterback against the best pass defense in football predictably did not go well. Prescott threw for only 238 yards and was picked off twice.
Know who picked off Prescott the second time? It was Talib, a Dallas native. The 31-year-old cornerback now has 10 interception returns for TDs in his career. That’s the fourth-most all time. Few players are more fun to watch week in and week out than the Broncos’ brash shut-down man.
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