In a game like that there are a number of plays to discuss and consider, but here are two key plays that set up the Denver Broncos for their 51-48 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
This should sound familiar to any fan who has ever watched an NFL game with the sound on:
“Well (play-by-play guy’s name), in order to move the football and score points in the National Football League, it is so important for an offense to stay on schedule. That means picking up chunks of yards and first downs, and that means avoiding long yardage and obvious passing situations. If you cannot protect your quarterback…if you commit penalties…then your offense gets off schedule and your offense will not score points. If you don’t score enough points, you will not win in today’s National Football League.”
For over 57 minutes of Sunday’s game, Romo and the Cowboys offense stayed on schedule. They did whatever they wanted, marched up down the field, racked up 522 total yards, and scored 48 points. I can find no reason to believe the last drive would have been different if Phillips doesn’t sack Romo. He did, the Cowboys got off schedule, Romo tried to force a throw into double coverage to get the yards back, and Danny Trevathan made an incredible play to intercept the pass.
If Romo hits on 1st down and it’s like 2nd-and-2 instead of 2nd-and-16, we might be having a different conversation today. And we might have been able to avoid the insufferable and shortsighted “ROMO NEVER GETS IT DONE” narrative. Of course I’m not complaining, seeing as the Broncos won and all. Just pointing out that there is a football reason for the interception that has to do with the play leading up to it and not Romo’s lack of a ‘clutch’ gene, or whatever.
The Broncos pass rush was non-existent Sunday, but thanks to Shaun Phillips it made at least one key play to lead the Broncos to their narrow victory.
Knowshon Moreno gets the first down, but not the touchdown.
“He basically was asking, ‘How am I supposed to do that? How can I get half a yard but not get a yard and a half?’ I just said, ‘You can’t.
The incredible thing about Moreno’s emergence as the go-to running back for the Broncos is this: he is regarded as the steadiest presence of the three (the other two being Ronnie Hillman and Monte Ball, of course). He is the smartest of the backs, the best receiver and the best in pass protection. Moreno is the most solid and the most reliable, attributes we never thought would be linked to him when he nearly got cut from the roster entirely more than once (including this year).
The Broncos don’t win Sunday without his production: 93 yards rushing and 53 yards receiving. Besides that, they might not have been able to win in regulation had Moreno scored a TD instead of going down at the one-yard-line.