Denver Broncos beat Dallas Cowboys at their own game

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 17: Running back C.J. Anderson
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 17: Running back C.J. Anderson /

The Denver Broncos defeated the Dallas Cowboys at 42-17.  In doing so, the Broncos successfully used the Dallas Cowboys own style of play against them.

Last season, the Dallas Cowboys used a power running game and high percentage passing to roll to a 13-3 record and the NFC title.  In week 2, the Denver Broncos used that game to roll themselves to a blow win over the Cowboys.

It’ obvious what Broncos head coach Vance Joseph want to do this season.  He wants to play smash-mouth football and win with a gritty, tough defense.  In 2016, the Broncos ranked 27th in the league in rushing.  So far in 2017 the Denver Broncos are ranked in the top five.

In week 2, the Broncos out-rushed the Dallas Cowboys 178 yards to 40.  They had 39 rushing attempts to just 14 for the Cowboys.  Which allowed the Denver Broncos to control time of possession 33:50 minutes to 26:10.  Also, the Broncos front seven dominated the Cowboys O-line.  Somethings that rarely happens.

Vance Joseph knows he already has a good defense with some great players like Von Miller and Aquib Talib.  So, the smart strategy is to take care of the football and let the defense play a physical and punishing style of football.  Holding Ezekiel Elliot to just 8 yards rushing.

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In fact, C.J. Anderson looked more like Ezekiel Elliot than Elliot did.  Knowing that the defense is playing at a high level, combined with a strong running game takes the pressure off quarterback Trevor Siemian.  It allows him to run play-action and open passing windows to receivers like Demaryius Thomas.

The Broncos jumped out on top of the Cowboys and forced them to abandon their plan to run the football.  Once this happened Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had to pass more to come from behind and as a result, made uncharacteristic turnovers.

I think Prescott will bounce back, but what a masterful strategy by Vance Joseph.  However, there’s one problem with this strategy.  It’s that now the rest of the league knows what the Broncos want to do, and the same strategy they used against the Cowboys can now be used against them.

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A team can win a lot of games with this style of play, but ultimately to finish the job you need a quarterback who can get you the rest of the way.  Trevor Siemian had a great game but it remains to be seen if he’s a true franchise quarterback.  It will be fun finding out.