Tony Romo threw for a franchise record 506 yards and five touchdowns, but a costly interception at the two-minute warning with the score tied led to three knees and a field goal, as Denver escaped AT&T Stadium with a 51-48 victory Sunday – the fourth-highest scoring game in NFL history.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning threw his first interception of the season, but also torched the Dallas defense for 414 yards and four touchdowns in the win. The Broncos set an NFL record for points scored through the first five games of the season, surpassing the 2002 St. Louis Rams.
The Broncos overcame an early 14-point deficit with five straight touchdown drives spanning three quarters. The streak began on their second drive of the game, and ended on their second drive of the third quarter, when the Cowboys finally held on third down and Denver kicked a 48-yard field goal.
The Cowboys scored touchdowns on their first four possessions of the second half to take a 48-41 lead with just under seven minutes to play. Denver drove the length of the field and tied the game, giving the ball back to Romo and the Cowboys with 2:30 on the clock. On the first play from scrimmage, Romo was sacked with an apparent horse-collar tackle, but no pink flag was thrown.
On the next play, linebacker Danny Trevathan intercepted a pass intended for Tight End Gavin Escobar, and the game was sealed.
The Cowboys jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the first quarter. They took the opening drive of the game 78 yard in 11 plays – never having to convert a third down. Safety Barry Church forced a fumble on the fourth play of the Bronco’s opening drive. Romo converted on two third down conversions as the Cowboys went 45 yards to paydirt.
Manning answered with a two-play, 80-yard drive in which cornerback Morris Claiborne, playing man coverage, was torched on a 78-yard pass play. Claiborne, who suggested this week his struggles this year are tied to playing zone coverage, was beaten again in man coverage by Decker for a touchdown later in the half.
Those two scores were part of a 28-3 run by Broncos. The Cowboys closed out the half with Romo running a nice 2-minute drill with 40 seconds on the clock to get kicker Dan Baily in position for a 48-yard field goal.
Three Cowboys finished with more than 100 yards receiving, led by rookie Terrance Williams at 4 for 151 and a touchdown. Dez Bryant caught six balls for 141 and Jason Witten caught seven balls for 121 yards. Demarco Murray finished with 12 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown.
Denver had five receivers with at least five catches, and the Cowboys never found an answer for Tight End Julius Thomas, who led all receivers with nine catches, 122 yards and two scores.