Broncos 23, Cowboys 13

By  | 

No scribbled messages on his shoulder pads this time. No trash talk, either. Just Brandon Marshall letting his play do all the debating with a silenced Adam “Pacman” Jones.

Marshall’s diving 3-yard touchdown catch with a flustered Jones in coverage highlighted the Denver Broncos’ 23-13 exhibition victory over the Dallas Cowboys on a soggy Saturday night.

Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler completed his first 12 passes for 142 yards while leading Denver on two TD drives in a game that followed four joint workouts spiced up by a friendly feud between Jones and Marshall.

Jones started it by saying teammate Terrell Owens was 10 times faster and 10 times better than the Broncos’ third-year receiver. Marshall responded by scrawling “21’s no Champ”—as in Champ Bailey—on the back of his shoulder pads.

The next day, he wrote, “Adam’s no Pacman.” And so it went, with both stars getting unusually stoked for a mostly meaningless preseason game.

Marshall came out on top, catching six passes for 59 yards—T.O. had three catches for 20 yards, by the way—and Jones had six tackles, none of them on Marshall.

Pacman had a 24-yard punt return but spiked the ball in frustration after he was tackled by punter Sam Paulescu, drawing a flag.

Cutler completed 16 of 20 passes for 178 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. He led the Broncos on a nine-play, 65-yard opening drive that ended with Andre Hall scampering in from a yard out.

For the second straight week, the Dallas offense failed to find a rhythm, committing three infractions for 25 yards that killed one drive. Tony Romo went 6-for-9 for 33 yards and no TDs.

The Cowboys wanted to get a gauge on backup quarterback Brad Johnson’s arm strength, and he delivered. Playing behind the first-string offensive line, Johnson hit Miles Austin with a 37-yard pass at the two-minute warning, then found him in the end zone, where he out-jumped Domonique Foxworth for the 5-yard TD.

Austin, who has seven receptions for 106 yards in the preseason, didn’t play in the second half, however, because of a right knee injury.

Matt Prater, who is replacing veteran Jason Elam—whose old photo from last year was flashed on the stadium’s giant scoreboards during warmups—was wide left on a 49-yard field goal attempt as the half ended.

Prater was good from 29, 19 and 43 yards in the second half, while Nick Folk kicked a 42-yarder and a 29-yarder for Dallas.

Prater is now 6-for-8 in the preseason.

The Cowboys were going in for the tying score in the closing minutes when rookie cornerback Jack Williams picked off Richard Bartel’s pass and returned it to midfield before he was tripped up by Bartel.


Two other Cowboys were injured and didn’t return: FB Ronnie Cruz (left shoulder sprain) and LB Justin Rogers (left shoulder). … TEs Daniel Graham (hamstring) and Nate Jackson (shoulder) were among the ailing Broncos, and S Josh Barrett was helped off the field after rolling his right ankle on the opening kickoff.