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(Sunday, October 4th)
Final Score: Denver 17, Dallas 10
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Kyle Orton threw for 243 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 20-of-29 efficiency, and the Denver defense produced a stellar goal-line stand in the waning seconds as the Broncos edged the Dallas Cowboys, 17-10, in Week 4 action.
Brandon Marshall totaled 91 yards on four grabs and had the go-ahead 51-yard score with 1:46 remaining in the game for the Broncos (4-0). They also got a TD catch from Knowshon Moreno, who totaled 65 yards on 14 carries.
"That's what you do against a good football team. You're going to have to stand in there and take their best and then come back and throw one of your own," said Broncos coach Josh McDaniels. "We tried to do that and made one more play than they did."
The Denver defense recorded five sacks, an interception and a forced fumble in the triumph.
Dallas QB Tony Romo tallied 255 yards on 25-of-42 passing with an interception and, for the first time in his career, was held without a touchdown pass for the second consecutive game.
Marion Barber added 41 yards and a score on 11 touches for the Cowboys (2-2), who got 62 yards on three grabs from Sam Hurd. Nick Folk hit a 49-yard field goal for Dallas, which totaled just 74 yards on the ground.
Leading by three in the fourth quarter, Dallas started at its own 20-yard line. Marred by an offensive holding call on a 17-yard run by Tashard Choice, the drive stalled and the Broncos got the ball back with 9:35 showing on the clock.
Marshall had a 16-yard catch-and-run on first down to get to the Denver 41. Two plays later, Orton hit Eddie Royal for a 12-yard gain and on the play Jay Ratliff was called for roughing the passer, which put the ball at the Dallas 27. The Broncos failed to penetrate the goal line and settled for a game-tying, 28-yard field goal from Matt Prater with about six minutes left.
The Cowboys punted on their next touch, and Denver then started at its own 27. Three plays into the drive, Marshall caught a ball about 15 yards downfield and cut towards midfield. As he got to the hash marks, he cut back towards the right sideline and dashed 51 yards into the end zone to give the Broncos a 17-10 lead with 1:46 showing on the clock.
"It was just a big play and I'm glad we took advantage of it," said Marshall. "As soon as I caught it I thought I had a chance to score, but my big body wasn't fast enough so I had to make some cuts to get to the end zone."
The ensuing possession saw the Cowboys faced with a 4th-and-three from their own 27. Romo, with a ton of time in the backfield, hit Hurd for a 53-yard gain before calling a timeout with 59 ticks left. A seven-yard toss to Choice followed and Hurd added a five-yard gain to make it 1st-and-goal from the eight with 27 seconds left.
"We just didn't seem in-sync enough in the second half," said Cowboys coach Wade Phillips, who served as Denver's head coach for two seasons (1993-94) and faced his one-time employer for the first time as a head man. "For whatever reason when we were backed up and needed to make plays at the end of the ball game we made them all the way to the one-yard line."
Patrick Crayton then had a six-yard catch before Romo spiked the ball with nine seconds left. Romo's pass to Hurd in the middle of the end zone was incomplete, and on 4th-and-goal Hurd had the potential game-tying pass broken up by Champ Bailey.
"We've practiced that situation all the way going back to the spring," said McDaniels of the goal-line stand. "Our guys kind of knew the call without even telling them what it was. Champ didn't need to go back to the huddle. He knew what it was going to be and did a nice job of denying the ball there."
The Cowboys drew first blood, 3-0, as Folk hit a 49-yard field goal with about six minutes remaining in the opening stanza.
Following a three-and-out, Dallas embarked on an eight-play, 61-yard drive that was capped as Barber punched in a one-yard TD.
Moreno's nine-yard TD catch, on the next play following a Cowboys fumble, closed it to 10-7 for the home team, which held up through the half.
Neither team accumulated any points in the third, and the game headed to the fourth with Dallas still on top, 10-7.
Orton is 25-12 as a starter...The Broncos outgained Dallas 337-315...The Broncos have a 6-4 edge in their all-time regular season series with the Cowboys. Dallas was a 42-23 loser when it last visited Denver in 1998, and is 0-4 against Denver overall since beating the Broncos at home in 1995. The Cowboys last won in Denver in 1992. In addition to the regular season series, the teams have met once in the postseason, with the Cowboys earning a 27-10 win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XII from New Orleans...The Cowboys have still won eight of the past 12 against the AFC.
10/04 22:16:14 ET