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Manning, Broncos stay unbeaten with late win over Dallas
Arlington, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Matt Prater's 28-yard field goal as time expired gave the Denver Broncos a 51-48 win over the Dallas Cowboys in a Texas shootout on Sunday.
The Broncos (5-0) had tied the game on a 1-yard touchdown run from Knowshon Moreno with 2:39 to play and Dallas (2-3) got the ball back at their own 20 with all three timeouts.
On the second play, though, Tony Romo was picked off by Danny Trevathan and Denver got the ball back at the Dallas 24.
After a 13-yard catch by Demaryius Thomas took the ball to the Dallas 11, Denver faced a 3rd-and-1 at the 2 and Moreno's 1-yard run gave the Broncos a fresh set of downs and caused the Cowboys to burn their final timeout.
Peyton Manning then snapped the ball three times, losing nine yards but running the clock down to two seconds before calling a timeout. Prater then booted the field goal for the win.
"We did not want to score with time left," said Broncos coach John Fox. "Fortunately it was executed well and we got the (win) and never had to go back on the field again."
Denver is one of three undefeated teams left in the league, joining AFC West companion Kansas City, along with New Orleans. Denver will take on winless Jacksonville at home next week.
Manning finished the game 33-for-42 for 414 yards and four touchdowns, but also threw his first interception of the season. The 37-year-old also had a rushing touchdown, his first in almost five years.
Moreno finished the game with a combined 150 yards and a touchdown, Julius Thomas caught nine passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns and Eric Decker had five catches for 87 yards and a score for Denver, which has scored 230 points through its first five games this season.
The Broncos needed all the points they could get in this one.
"This was the first game really where we were behind," said Fox. "I thought it was our best character victory as far as coming from behind."
It was the second-highest scoring game since the NFL-AFL merger, topped only by a 58-48 game between Cincinnati and Cleveland in 2004.
"We had a chance today against as good a team as there is and we know that," said Romo.
The Cowboys quarterback matched Manning through much of the game, throwing for 506 yards and five touchdowns on 25-of-36 attempts, but had the costly turnover late in the game.
Three different Dallas receivers finished over 100 yards as Terrance Williams (151), Dez Bryant (141) and Jason Witten (121) all eclipsed the mark. The three combined for 17 catches and four touchdowns, with Cole Beasley catching the other touchdown pass.
"It was just one of those games where every series was critical," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett.
Starting the second half with the ball and an eight-point lead, Manning led his team on a touchdown march that was capped on a 2-yard catch by Wes Welker for a 35-20 lead.
Dallas, though, needed just two plays to keep the game close as Romo went deep for Williams, who caught a long pass and took it home for an 82-yard score and a 35-27 game with 7:08 to play in the third.
The Broncos scored again on their ensuing possession, but this time it was only three points as Prater booted a 48-yard field goal that just cleared the left upright for a 38-27 lead with 3:23 left in the third.
Dallas kept up with the offense as the team moved 80 yards in seven plays, with Romo and Bryant capping the drive on a 2-yard score. The conversion attempt failed as Romo was tackled near the goal line, and it was a 38-33 game with 14 seconds left in the third.
Needing a big play from its defense, the Cowboys got it as Morris Claiborne made a leaping catch of a Manning pass for an interception, Manning's first of the season, to give his team the ball back near midfield as the third quarter drew to a close.
Needing just five plays to grab the lead back, Romo and Witten got together on a 10-yard score and he then hit Williams for the 2-point conversion and a 41-38 lead with 13:38 to play.
"Tony was awesome today," said Manning. "He made some great plays."
A 50-yard field goal from Prater with 9:37 to play finished off Denver's ensuing drive to tie the game and cap an 11-play, 51-yard drive.
The two sides then exchanged touchdowns on the next two drives, with Romo and Beasley getting together on a 4-yard score, and Moreno punching it in from a yard out with 2:39 showing.
The Cowboys started the game with the ball and held it for close to seven minutes. A 25-yard catch by Williams moved the ball to midfield and Witten later caught a 14-yard pass. After DeMarco Murray had a 9-yard run to set up a 1st-and-goal, Romo floated a pass to the back of the end zone where Bryant made a leaping catch for a 7-0 lead.
Decker fumbled a catch on Denver's ensuing touch and the Cowboys recovered at the Denver 45. Taking advantage of the short field, Romo hit Witten for 12 yards and later found the big tight end for 27 yards down to the Denver 4. The next play saw Murray run around the left side and in for a 14-0 lead with 3:18 left in the first.
Denver came right back as Decker atoned for his previous error with a 57-yard catch down to the Dallas 4, which was followed by a shovel pass from Manning to Julius Thomas to make it a 14-7 game.
Dallas again put together an impressive drive, snapping 10 plays and chewing up over five minutes of the clock, but this time the drive stalled and a 43- yard field goal from Dan Bailey made it a 17-7 game with 12:14 left in the half.
Manning and the Broncos came right back to make it a three-point game as the team moved 80 yards over seven plays with Manning hitting Decker in the end zone from two yards out with 9:06 left in the first half.
Bryant fumbled a catch on Dallas' first snap after getting the ball back, and the Broncos quickly made it a 21-17 game as Manning hit Thomas with a short pass to the right and the tight end took it in from nine yards out for a 21-17 lead with 5:22 left.
That touchdown was Manning's 19th on the season and it broke a record for most touchdown passes through the first five games that was set by Daunte Culpepper with Minnesota in 2004.
Dallas went three-and-out on its next possession and Denver got the ball back at its own 36.
Following a 14-yard run from Moreno, Dallas was whistled for a 21-yard pass interference call. Facing a 3rd-and-goal at the 1, Manning faked the handoff and went on a bootleg to the left, running into the end zone untouched to give the team a 28-17 lead with 46 seconds left.
Romo, though, found Williams for 38 yards and that allowed Bailey to hit a 48- yard field goal to make it a 28-20 game at the break.
Manning has gone over 300 yards in seven straight games ... It was the fourth game in NFL history where each team scored 48 or more points ... The interception was Romo's first since the first quarter of Week 1 ... There was a combined 1,039 yards and 58 first downs in the game ... Manning had thrown 227 passes without an interception ... Denver has won five straight against Dallas ... Dallas hosts Washington next Sunday.
10/06 21:22:43 ET
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