Broncos-Cowboys: What we learned

The SportsXchange

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Quarterbacks ruled Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium, as Peyton Manning and Tony Romo were locked in an epic duel.

To the surprise of pretty much no one, Manning won.

The future Hall of Famer led another fourth-quarter comeback in a wild back-and-forth affair that ended with the undefeated Denver Broncos escaping with a 51-48 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

The Broncos, down 48-41, scored the game's last 10 points to improve to 5-0. Danny Trevathan set up Matt Prater's game-winning chip-shot field goal, intercepting Romo with less than two minutes left.

Manning passed for 414 yards and four scores. He also ran for another, his first in five years. Six different receivers had at least four catches. Knowshon Moreno ran for 93 yards.

"We were kind of in a storm early, (down) 14-nothing on the road," said Manning, who owns the NFL record with 39 fourth-quarter comebacks. "That place was rocking and I thought we did a good job of digging ourselves out."

Romo threw for five touchdowns and 506 yards, breaking the franchise single-game record. He commandeered a second-half rally that overcame an 11-point deficit with four scoring passes.

"Tony was awesome today," Manning said.

Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Jason Witten combined for 413 yards and four touchdowns for Dallas. The Cowboys had a season-high 522 yards of offense.

"We were moving the ball with control," Witten said. "They didn't have a whole lot of answers for us. We had some big plays that we hadn't had most of the season.

"You leave this game, obviously you're crushed, but offensively this needs to be the standard to which we play to give ourselves a chance to win."

Dallas had the chance with the ball, but Romo's only mistake of the game proved deadly.

"The kid made a good play," Romo said of Trevathan's diving pick. "I just didn't get as much on it."

The Cowboys (2-3) rallied after falling behind 38-27, taking advantage of Manning's first interception of the season late in the third quarter. Romo touchdown passes to Bryant and Williams gave Dallas its first lead since the first half at 41-38.

"That's the best football team we've played," Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. "So we stepped up to the challenge."

What the Broncos said

"At the end of the day, you want to have more than they got at the end. There were a lot of different styles to that. It was pretty amazing that it came down to the defense making a big play at the end." -- Coach John Fox.

What the Cowboys said

"Whenever you lose, it never feels good afterward. Whether we'd lost by 30 or 3, we're still going to be a loss in the L column. So I think that's really what this game is about. That's the disappointing part of it. We've got to come back and win now next week." -- QB Tony Romo.

What we learned about the Broncos

1. Peyton Manning is still the king of comebacks. He piloted the 39th fourth-quarter comeback of his career, extending his NFL record. Sure, he had some help on the final drive with a late interception, but Manning led a 73-yard touchdown drive Denver had to have to tie the game at 48-all.

2. The Broncos have some things to clean up on the defensive end. The Cowboys struggled to run the ball, but Tony Romo sliced the Denver secondary up. Getting into shootouts isn't a recipe for sustained success.

What we learned about the Cowboys

1. Dallas does have plenty of weapons. Even without receiver Miles Austin, the Cowboys showed their depth of playmakers. Wide receiver Dez Bryant, tight end Jason Witten and rookie receiver Terrence Williams each had at least 121 yards and a touchdown.

2. Dallas' defense is struggling. Much was made about the improvement under defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, but the Cowboys have now given up more than 500 yards to San Diego and Denver in successive weeks.
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