By Dennis Georgatos, The Sports Xchange
DENVER — Trevor Siemian found a way to cut through Dallas’ defense time and again, and by the time the Denver Broncos quarterback was finished, the mistakes he made were nothing more than an afterthought.
Siemian shook off a pair of turnovers to throw for four touchdowns, and the Broncos dominated Dallas in a 42-17 victory on Sunday in a game that was suspended for about an hour due to the danger of lightning strikes in the area.
“I thought he played tremendous,” said Broncos running back C.J. Anderson, who was on the receiving end of one of the touchdown throws. “When we protect him, good things happen. He can be a real good weapon for us if we keep him on his feet.”
In his second season as Denver’s starter, Siemian matched a career best with his four scoring passes in helping the Broncos beat the Cowboys for a sixth straight time.
“I think we played well,” Siemian said. “To beat the good teams in this league, you’ve got to play well together, everybody across the board. Again, it’s Week 2, but we’re excited about where we’re at and hopefully we can keep continuing to grow.”
Denver’s defense did its part, too, capping its performance with a flourish as cornerback Aqib Talib returned an interception 103 yards for a touchdown in the final moments. He stepped in front of Dak Prescott’s end-zone pass intended for Dez Bryant and sprinted down the sideline for the score, leaping into the seats to celebrate.
“Give them a lot of credit. That’s a good football team,” Cowboys coach Jason Garret said. “We didn’t play up to our standard, obviously. They controlled the game really from start to finish.”
Siemian completed 22 of 32 for 231 yards and had touchdown passes of 10 and 6 yards to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, along with a 16-yard scoring pass to Anderson and 2 yards to tight end Virgil Green.
It was more than enough to overcome a fumble and an interception by Siemian that led to Dallas touchdowns, including Prescott’s 28-yard scoring pass to tight end Jason Witten early in the fourth quarter.
Anderson ran for 118 yards and a touchdown, and he had three receptions for 36 yards and a score, outperforming his Dallas counterpart, Ezekiel Elliott, who ran into a defensive buzz-saw and was limited to 8 yards rushing on nine carries.
“We just couldn’t get any movement on the ball and establish the running game,” Elliott said. “It’s frustrating but it’s Week 2. We’ve just got to go back and watch the film and rebuild, make sure we are getting better.”
Still, asked the last time he had been held to less than 10 yards rushing in a game, Ezekiel replied “Never.”
Prescott finished with 238 yards passing, completing 30 of 50 with two interceptions for Dallas (1-1). The game was interrupted late in the first quarter when weather forecasters warned of a severe lightning storm in the area and officials ordered both teams to leave the field and wait out the storm in their respective locker rooms.
Once the storm passed, play was resumed.
Both teams were hit hard by injuries over the course of the game. Denver lost rookie left tackle Garett Bolles to a lower left leg injury — he had to be carted off the field. And the Cowboys lost cornerbacks Nolan Carroll (concussion) and rookie Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) after coming into the game without cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who broke his left hand in the season-opening win over the New York Giants.
Leading by 11 points, the Broncos pulled away to a 35-10 lead with 14 points in the third quarter. Siemian finished off a 75-yard march by rolling out and hitting Green with a 2-yard touchdown pass.
Anderson broke loose for a 23-yard touchdown run on a draw play, following lead blocks by guard Connor McGovern and Green to the end zone. The scoring possession began with cornerback Chris Harris Jr.’s interception of Prescott.
The Broncos (2-0) took a 21-10 halftime lead, with the Cowboys’ lone touchdown of the half coming after DeMarcus Lawrence sacked Siemian, forcing a fumble that Maliek Collins scooped up and returned 6 yards to the Denver 3-yard line.
One play later, Prescott connected with Bryant, who beat 1-on-1 coverage by Talib.
Dallas also drove to a 56-yard field goal by Dan Bailey in the final seconds of the quarter.
Siemian hooked up twice in the first half with Sanders for touchdowns.
Midway through the second quarter, Brandon McManus kicked a 50-yard field goal that the Broncos opted to take down after the Cowboys were called for unsportsmanlike conduct for DeMarcus Lawrence’s use of leverage to try to block the kick.
The penalty gave Denver a first down at the Dallas 17, and two plays later, Siemian spotted Anderson open in the flat and the Broncos running back gathered in the pass, cut back to the middle and charged 16 yards downfield for the touchdown.