field. With a 10-0 lead and Marion Barber looking back to form, you just didn't get the feeling the Cowboys would be staring disappointment in the face in a few hours.
Anytime a team scores 10 points in the first quarter, you would never guess that would be the end of it. The Cowboys were moving the ball well, mostly with the running backs, and usually a running game or balanced passing attack gets stronger as the game goes on.
But the Cowboys didn't get any stronger. In fact, it appeared they got weaker. While no one in the locker room, including Barber, would comment on his injury status, he was definitely limited in the second half. That's coming after a first half in which he portrayed the Barbarian-like toughness that's made him so valuable to this offense.
He was running inside, getting to the corner and slipping through defenders. This offense was clicking because Barber was making it happen. When he wasn't, Choice was doing the job.
All of a sudden, things stopped. Denver shut down the run by loading players in the box. And when you have a secondary, led by a stud corner in Champ Bailey and a physical, veteran safety like Brian Dawkins, teams like the Broncos can sell out to stop the run, knowing they'll be alright against the pass.
And really, that's the problem with this Cowboys offense. They can't make plays in the passing game consistently. Maybe they need more speed. Maybe they need more experience. Maybe they just need more playmakers.
Against the Broncos, the Cowboys didn't even need a lot of plays. Just a few. The defense gives them a turnover on the first play of the second half and the Cowboys can't do anything, not even a field goal.
Time and time again, the defense kept bailing out the offense, hoping, praying that someone would finally make a play.
The Broncos made their play. It was only one, but that's all they needed. That's what happens when you let a team stick around like the Cowboys did here in Denver.
The defense gave up the win in the final two minutes. The offense couldn't get it done in the previous 58.
Any way you slice it, it's a tough loss to swallow. Then again, it shouldn't be that bad if you've tasted it before.