When it rains, it pours. And on this day, it came both literally and figuratively.
In their 42-17 loss to Denver, the Cowboys just didn't have much of an answer on either side of the ball, as the Broncos thoroughly dominated both offensively and defensively.
Dallas was limited to only 40 yards rushing and 268 yards of offense in total as the Denver defense completely bottled up the Cowboys' vaunted rushing attack. Ezekiel Elliot finished with only eight rushing yards on nine carries.
And the Cowboys weren't much better through the air. Quarterback Dak Prescott attempted 50 passes and completed 60 percent of them, but only for 238 yards. He also had two touchdowns with two interceptions for a 68.6 passer rating.
Meanwhile, making the task that much harder for the Cowboys defense was the fact that the team lost two cornerbacks early in the game. Rookie Chidobe Awuzie, who battled a hamstring issue throughout training camp, again came up limpy and was forced to leave. Soon thereafter, veteran Nolan Carroll was sent to the locker room with a concussion.
That left Anthony Brown and rookie Jourdan Lewis, who also missed nearly all of training camp due to injury, as the team's only true cornerbacks. Forced to help out in the slot was safety Xavier Woods, another rookie.
So perhaps understandably, Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian had field day, tying his career high with four touchdown passes while completing 68.8 percent of his passes for 231 yards and a 116 passer rating. He was complemented by a run game that posted 178 rushing yards, led by C.J. Anderson who totaled 118 yards on the ground.
Things started going downhill almost immediately for the Cowboys when they let the Broncos march right down on their first possession for a relatively easy eight-play 78-yard scoring drive. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders provided the touchdown, hauling in a 10-yard pass from Siemian.
The literal part of the pouring rain then came into play as things actually got stormy and the game had to be halted due to lightning in the area with 33 seconds remaining in the first quarter. That resulted in a 62-minute delay before the two teams were able to take the field again.
And once they did, Dallas found a little life. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence took down Siemian on Denver's first possession of the second quarter. In the process, he also knocked the ball loose from the quarterback and linemate Maliek Collins picked up the prize to give the Cowboys' possession at the Broncos' 3-yard line.
Two plays later, Prescott found Dez Bryant on the right side of the end zone to temporarily tie the score, 7-7. But that would be one of the few bright spots for the Cowboys in the first half, as the Broncos went on to score two more times before the second quarter ended.
Lawrence would play both the hero and goat on Denver's next series. First, he once again brought down Siemian, his second multi-sack effort in as many games. And with that coming on third down, the Broncos appeared to be limited to a field goal.
Unfortunately, on the ensuing attempt, Lawrence was called for Leverage, which resulted in a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down. Given the gift, the home team capitalized with Siemian throwing a little dump-off to the running back Anderson, who darted by slipping safety Jeff Heath for the touchdown.
Following another Dallas punt, the Broncos then went on another march down the field, traveling 51 yards on eight plays to reach the end zone. Siemian and Sanders connected again, this time from 6 yards out.
The Cowboys took a little momentum in the half thanks to a 56-yard field goal, which tied his career high, but the Broncos still held a comfortable advantage at the break, 21-10.
After two quarters of play, Dallas had managed only 97 yards of total offense and only 12 rushing yards. On the other side, Denver had racked up 246 yards of total offense with 96 yards rushing. The Broncos also had 17 first downs to the Cowboys' five.[embeddedad0]
Whatever spark Bailey might have provided, though, was quickly snuffed out when the third quarter got underway. The Broncos took the second-half kickoff and methodically worked down the field in 15 plays, Siemian capping things off with a 2-yard out to tight end Virgil Green in the end zone to up the score to 28-10.
But after a pass from Prescott went through the arms of Dez Bryant and into the waiting hands of Denver cornerback Chris Harris Jr., the Broncos were back in business at the Dallas 23-yard line.
This time saw Anderson reaching the end zone on the ground, as he barreled through the Dallas defense the final 23 yards for the touchdown. With that, the route was officially on, 35-10.
The Cowboys kept up the fight, and after the rookie Lewis recorded his first career interception, tight end Jason Witten added to his special day with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. This also marked Witten's 225th game for Dallas, which surpassed Ed "Too Tall" Jones for the most games played in team history. He finished the game by leading the Cowboys with 10 catches and 97 yards.
Witten's touchdown would be the final score for the Cowboys. Dallas threatened two more times, but failed to cross the goal line on either. First, on fourth-and-3 at the Broncos' 7-yard line, Prescott's throw to Bryant fell incomplete. The second, though, was even worse as Prescott again tried to go to Bryant on fourth-and-goal, only to have Denver cornerback Aqib Talib step in front of the pass and return the interception 103 yards for the touchdown.
With that, the scoring mercifully came to an end. The Cowboys now own a 1-1 record on the season and will next head to Arizona to take on the Cardinals in a Monday night prime-time showdown.