Peyton Manning and the Broncos used a balanced offensive attack to beat the Cowboys in Week 5.
No runs: It’s easy to lose track of some things when two quarterbacks combine for 920 yards passing in a single game. But the Cowboys, despite all of the aerial heroics by Tony Romo, still made the mistake everybody has made this season -- they still kept giving the ball back to Peyton Manning. The Broncos' defense did not face a running play in the fourth quarter Sunday, even after the Cowboys had some limited success running against the Broncos’ nickel package earlier in the game. Overall, 11 of the Cowboys' 14 rushing attempts came against the Broncos' nickel and they gained 41 yards in those runs.
Missed opportunities: After four games of fairly solid work tackling, Broncos defenders had their share of difficulties against the Cowboys. They missed tackles, took poor angles and in the case of cornerback Tony Carter on a 79-yard catch-and-run play by Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams in the fourth quarter, didn’t wrap up when trying to knock the ball free. All in all, add it to the rather long list of defensive question marks.
Stay with it: Perhaps everyone is jaded by what Manning does each week -- 20 touchdown passes and counting after five games to go with back-to-back 50-point outings -- but Manning and offensive coordinator Adam Gase actually found a way to be somewhat balanced in this wild roller coaster of a game. When all was said and done, the Broncos had put 51 points on the board and wound the clock to make the winning kick as time expired. They ran it 31 times to go with Manning’s 42 pass attempts.
Battered and bruised: The Broncos have one more game before Von Miller returns from his suspension, Champ Bailey has yet to play this season and now the defensive attrition has reached a troubling rate. Linebacker Wesley Woodyard (neck), defensive end Robert Ayers (shoulder) and cornerback Chris Harris (concussion) all left Sunday’s game and did not return. Cornerback Omar Bolden, who already has dealt with a shoulder injury this season, also looked as if he aggravated it making a tackle late in the fourth quarter as well. Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, coming off allowing 506 passing yards to Romo, may not even know who’s available this week until Saturday.