By Shawn S. Lealos
The Dallas Cowboys weren’t given much of a chance to beat the Denver Broncos heading into their Week 5 game. However, something happened and Tony Romo came out and played one of the best games of his entire career. By the end, Peyton Manning and his Broncos had to rely on a field goal as time expired to pick up the win over Dallas, 51-48.
Here is a look at the Dallas Cowboys team grades for this week’s big game.
Offense Grade: A-
After the game, there will be a lot of people who blame Tony Romo for this loss, but that is completely unfair. Yes, Romo threw the interception at the end of the game to give Denver the win, but that was a fantastic defensive play by Danny Trevathan. What Romo did the rest of the game was miraculous because the Cowboys offensive line struggled the entire game.
Romo was on the run constantly and continuously got out of danger to complete passes that almost seemed impossible. He threw for 506 yards, which was more than Manning, tossed five touchdown passes, which was more than Manning, and his interception was matched by Manning as well. It is just too bad that Romo’s pick came at the end of the game.
DeMarco Murray only got 12 carries in the game, but he did score a touchdown on the ground. His low carries total is disappointing since Dallas got off to a 14-0 lead, but the Cowboys were determined to match Denver in this game, and they did so in spectacular fashion.
Terrance Williams had four receptions for 151 yards and a touchdown, Dez Bryant had six receptions for 141 yards and two touchdowns, and Jason Witten had seven catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. Even Cole Beasley added a touchdown through the air.
Defense Grade: C-
It really isn’t fair to grade Dallas too low here because no one is going to stop the Denver Broncos offense this season. The Cowboys are the first team to intercept Manning this season, as Morris Claiborne stepped in front of a Manning pass for the pick. The Cowboys also forced two fumbles, while recovering one of them. DeMarcus Ware even sacked Manning, which may have happened at the end, but was rare.
The most impressive part of the Cowboys defensive performance was the corners shutting down Denver’s two biggest weapons: Wes Welker and Demaryius Thomas. The two each had five receptions, but those came late in the game.
However, Dallas couldn’t stop Knowshon Moreno from moving the chains, and he gained 93 yards with a touchdown in the game. This was the biggest rushing game of the season against Dallas, and that might be because they were so focused on stopping Manning from throwing the ball.
It didn’t matter in the end, as Manning threw for 414 yards and four touchdowns. He focused on Julian Thomas and Eric Decker, who combined for 14 receptions for 209 yards and three touchdowns. This was proof that Denver has enough weapons to beat anyone in the NFL, and Dallas didn’t have enough defenders to stop everybody.
Special Teams Grade: B-
Denver had one big kick return by Trindon Holliday, who brought it back 40 yards, and Dallas chose to kick away from him the rest of the game. There was only one punt in the entire game, and it was by Dallas with a 51 yard punt followed by a nine yard return. Denver never punted in the game. Dan Bailey hit both of his field goal attempts and all four PATs.
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Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. Examiner.com.