Signature Victory At Dallas Keeps Broncos In Playoff Mix

The recharged Denver Broncos head into the season’s second half fresh off their biggest win since Super Bowl 50 and primed to meet GM George Paton’s challenge to move past Von Miller’s departure and end their long playoff drought.

The Broncos (5-4) pulled off one of the biggest shockers in the NFL this season with their shellacking of the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, a performance that was as unexpected as it was dominant.

“They whupped us in all areas,” Dak Prescott bemoaned after Denver turned four fourth-down stops into a 30-0 lead by the time the league’s most potent offense finally scored with four minutes left and much of the crowd of 93,503 already on the highways.

Six days after tearful goodbyes to Miller, who was sent to the Rams for a pair of high draft picks next year, the Broncos used the Cowboys’ disrespect as rocket fuel for their biggest win since Miller led them past Carolina 24-10 in Super Bowl 50.

“You take the field with a little anger, honestly,” Teddy Bridgewater said of the Cowboys going for it on fourth down on their first two drives. “It’s like, hey man, we are going for it because they said our offense is not going to score. We talked about it in the huddle and used it as motivation.”

The Broncos have converted 10 of 13 fourth-down tries this season while holding opponents to 4 of 16 on fourth down.

“They’re big,” third-year coach Vic Fangio said. “Everybody wants to go for it on fourth down, right? Fourth-and-1, fourth-and-2. They cite all of the numbers and so on and so forth. But when you don’t get them, it hurts, and we were the beneficiary of the hurts.”

The Broncos turned Dallas’ fourth-down follies into nine points in the kind of all-round performance that’s eluded them ever since Peyton Manning’s time.

The defensive stops and big early lead allowed offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur to finally go hands-off on the hand-offs and the Broncos rumbled for nearly 200 yards while controlling the clock for more than 41 minutes.

“It was the first game when the offense and defense meshed really well together,” guard Dalton Risner said.

The Broncos would love to replicate that over the next eight games, five of which are against divisional foes in the tightly bunched AFC West, where the Chargers and Raiders are 5-3 and the Broncos and Chiefs are both 5-4.

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