DENVER– This game will be remembered for a lengthy weather delay, and several big gains by the Broncos offense, which did whatever it wanted in this victory.
Like all games, though, there were a handful of plays that often get lost in the mix, but still changed the outcome. Let's take a closer look at five that affected this one.
1. Missed Interception on First Drive– On Denver's first offensive possession, Trevor Siemian threw a pass over the middle that was deflected twice in the air and the Cowboys had a decent shot for an interception. Instead, Byron Jones couldn't come over in time to make the pick. The Broncos kept the ball and the drive alive and eventually scored their first touchdown of the game to grab a 7-0 lead.
2. Broncos Recover Fumble on Kickoff– After Dallas tied the game, 7-7, the momentum had shifted to the Cowboys, who came flying down the field on the ensuing kickoff. Usually, players don't take the ball out more than five yards deep in the end zone by Cory Latimer brought it out and was met by Jeff Heath, who forced a fumble. However, the Cowboys didn't get enough hands on the ball to rip it away from Latimer, who was fortunate the ball bounced right into his hands. Dallas could've grabbed possession at the Denver 19-yard line. Instead, the Broncos took over and drove for a touchdown.
3. Lawrence Penalty on FG – Just after recording his second sack of the game, DeMarcus Lawrence was flagged for an unusual leverage penalty on the field goal attempt. The 15-yard mistake gave Denver a first down instead of the three points, and the Broncos promptly marched down and scored a touchdown to take a 14-7 lead.
4. Dez Flagged For Offensive PI – With the Cowboys down 14-7 late in the second quarter, the offense looked to be on the move after a catch by Dez Bryant of 22 yards to the Broncos 47. But Dez was called for pushing off on Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib. The 10-yard penalty resulted in a 32-yard difference in field possession. The Cowboys then couldn't move the chains and had to punt to the Broncos, who took the ball down the field for another touchdown and a commanding 21-7 lead.
5. Anderson Hauls In Third-and-Long – On the first drive of the third quarter, the Broncos put together an impressive drive that was extended thanks to a third-and-11 play from the Dallas 30-yard line. Seemingly playing for better field-goal position, Trevor Siemian dumped the ball short to running back C.J. Anderson, who made several defenders miss as he took the ball across the field for a 12-yard gain. It was one of five third-down conversions on that drive, including the touchdown pass to tight end Virgil Green. The Cowboys had a shot to get the ball back trailing by two touchdowns, but it was 28-10 before they ran their first offensive play of the second half.