|Other Week 4 Game Recaps|
|BAL at NE||BUF at MIA||CIN at CLE||DAL at DEN||DET at CHI||GB at MIN||NYG at KC||NYJ at NO|
|OAK at HOU||SD at PIT||SEA at IND||STL at SF||TB at WAS||TEN at JAX|
Week 4 Game Recap: Dallas Cowboys 10, Denver Broncos 17
|QB Tony Romo, Pass: 25 - 42 - 255 - 0 TD / 1 INT|
Romo had an up and down (mostly down) day against the Broncos. The Cowboys were not throwing to their wide receivers early in the game, mainly targeting the running backs out of the backfield. He didn't get a pass off to Jason Witten until the end of the second-quarter, and basically looked out of sync all day. Romo was either holding the ball too long, or he was getting rid of the ball too early in fear of the Broncos pass rush. His timing was off most of the day, and his biggest play came on a busted play where he used his improvisational skill to move around until Sam Hurd got open. Tony Romo targeted future Hall of Famer Champ Bailey sixteen (!) times on Sunday. He was intercepted once by the All-Pro, and foolishly went after him in the end zone on the final two plays of the game. Bailey baited Romo into throwing, and was able to swat the ball away both times.
|RB Tashard Choice, Rush: 14 - 33 - 0, Rec: 5 - 47 - 0 (6 targets)|
Choice looked just as good as Marion Barber running the football on Sunday. Like Barber, the Cowboys gave him some looks in the passing game and he was successful on the right side on screen passes. He was running with a good pad level, and had the Cowboys longest run of the day (11 yards). In the second half the running lanes weren't there for the 'Boys and the run game struggled.
|RB Marion Barber, Rush: 11 - 41 - 1, Rec: 2 - 27 - 0 (2 targets)|
Barber was back after missing the game against the Panthers with a quad injury, and he started out hot. He was running strong between the tackles, and seemed to show no ill-effects from the injury. The Cowboys used him effectively on screen passes, and he was pounding the Broncos defense early on. Barber was able to get in the end zone at the end of the first-quarter from one-yard out. His leg drive and determination (plus a little push from his teammates) helped him break the plane and get in for six. Strangely enough, the Cowboys seemed to move away from him in the second half, giving more touches to Tashard Choice. The team must have been concerned about aggravating the injury, but Barber was not seen receiving treatment on the sidelines.
|RB Deon Anderson, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets)|
Anderson was an emergency option for Romo in the passing game, and hauled in one pass on the day. He had a hard time blocking the Broncos pass rush, and he and Brian Dawkins were jawing at each other a couple of times during the game.
|WR Patrick Crayton, Rec: 3 - 16 - 0 (7 targets)|
Crayton was also given a cushion from the Broncos secondary, but was not able to break any tackles after hauling the ball in. Denver obviously made a pledge not to get beat deep, and let the Cowboys complete whatever they wanted underneath -- but would quickly wrap them up after the catch.
|WR Miles Austin, Rec: 3 - 19 - 0 (8 targets)|
Just like the other Cowboys receivers, Austin was able to snare passes against soft coverage but could not pick up any yardage once the pass was complete. The Broncos linebackers did a good job in coverage, but had help from one of the most experienced secondaries in the league.
|WR Sam Hurd, Rec: 3 - 62 - 0 (5 targets)|
Hurd was the only Cowboys receivers to have a big catch on the day. In the fourth-quarter, from their own 28-yard line Tony Romo found Hurd on a broken play. It was fourth and three, and Romo used his improvisational skills to run around and buy time while Hurd ran to a soft spot in the zone. Romo hit him in stride, and Hurd took off across the field. Veteran Brian Dawkins made a touchdown-saving tackle at the Broncos 20-yard line. Two plays later Romo went back to Hurd, who was matched up against All-Pro Champ Bailey. This time it was a completion for 8-yards, but he was unable to get out of bounds under his own power and the Cowboys had to use their third and final timeout. The final two plays of the game were passes where Romo locked onto Hurd in the endzone. Bailey covered him two different ways and cleverly baited Romo into making tough throws while Miles Austin ran free in the end zone on the other side of the field.
|WR Roy Williams, Rec: 3 - 35 - 0 (7 targets)|
Williams was not as involved as he needed to be on Sunday, but he had success on Champ Bailey early in the game when Bailey would give him a big cushion. Williams caught a nice pass where he held the ball above his head, away from Bailey, as he tapped both toes inbounds at the two-yard line. It was his nicest play of the game. Roy Williams could have had a bigger day, but was knocked out of the contest by linebacker D.J. Williams. He hurt his ribs on that play, and did not return to the game.
|TE Jason Witten, Rec: 4 - 31 - 0 (4 targets)|
The Broncos defense did a masterful job of taking Jason Witten out of this game. He didn't get his first target -- or first catch -- until the end of the second quarter. Witten was able to break free on the right sideline when the Cowboys were backed up on their own 8-yard line. He had a couple of more catches on the day, but mysteriously was not targeted in the end zone with the game on the line. Instead, Romo looked to Sam Hurd twice (with Champ Bailey on him) and the Cowboys were unable to get six with the game on the line.
|TE Martellus Bennett, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (1 targets)|
Bennett caught a pass well before fellow tight end Jason Witten was targeted in the game. He was able to beat linebacker D.J. Williams in coverage, and could have been used more because he creates mismatches every time he's on the field. With his size and athleticism he could have been targeted with the game on the line, but the Cowboys seem content to use him sparingly on gameday.
|QB Kyle Orton, Pass: 20 - 29 - 243 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 0 - 0|
The Broncos offense was shooting itself in the foot early in this game with offensive penalties, and poorly thrown passes. Right tackle Ryan Harris was concerned about facing DeMarcus Ware and kept getting false start penalties as he was trying to get an early step to protect Orton. The Cowboys did sack Orton three times on the day, but for the most part he had plenty of time to throw. It seemed like for the first time in four games, the glove Orton was wearing to protect his injured finger was actually bothering him. Several passes sailed on Orton, and even when he did hit his target the ball was not placed in the right spot. After trying to connect with Jabar Gaffney on a couple of passes, finally at the end of the first quarter Orton was able to hit him on an eight-yard out. It was that pass that seemed to get the momentum and rhythm going for the Broncos passing game. The rest of the day Orton threw the ball well, and he continued to sprinkle in a few shots downfield when the play was there. The touchdown pass to Knowshon Moreno could have been intercepted, but it went right through OLB Anthony Spencer's hands. The touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall was short, but when coverage is tight a quarterback is taught to throw the stop so his receiver can come back and get the ball. Orton and the offense overcame their rough start and finished the game strong.
|RB Knowshon Moreno, Rush: 14 - 65 - 0, Rec: 2 - 11 - 1 (2 targets)|
Moreno was splitting time to start the game, and scored on a short pass in the second quarter. The ball went right through OLB Anthony Spencer's hands, and the rookie back snagged it and turned upfield for six. At the beginning of the third quarter the Broncos received the kickoff and came out on offense in a tight 10-7 game. Moreno promptly fumbled the football, and it was recovered by the Cowboys defense on the Broncos 27-yard line. The rookie back was very upset with himself, but maintained his mental focus and came back with a vengeance. The team leaned on Knowshon Moreno late in the game after Correll Buckhalter went out with an ankle injury. At one point in the game Moreno had four straight carries in a row.
|RB Correll Buckhalter, Rush: 6 - 37 - 0, Rec: 5 - 55 - 0 (5 targets)|
Buckhalter once again energized the offense, and seemed to be the spark this team needed after starting off slow. He ran with his trademark burst, and he did a good job of setting up defenders at the second level before he even crossed the line of scrimmage with subtle moves here and there. Kyle Orton targeted Cbuck in the passing game, and he was successful on screen passes by patiently waiting for his offensive linemen to get in front of him before bursting ahead for big gains. Buckhalter went out of the game with an ankle injury in the third quarter and did not return to the game.
|RB LaMont Jordan, Rush: 2 - 14 - 0|
Jordan is the Broncos fourth-quarter weapon, but he started getting involved in the third-quarter when the Broncos lost Corell Buckhalter to an ankle injury. He was able to get most of his yardage up the middle against the Cowboys defense.
|RB Peyton Hillis|
Hillis wasn't involved on offense, and his only play of note was a penalty for an illegal block above the waist on a punt. The infraction backed up the Broncos on their own eight-yard line and could have put Hillis in Josh McDaniels doghouse.
|WR Brandon Marshall, Rec: 4 - 91 - 1 (6 targets)|
Marshall was once again involved early and often on Sunday. He made a few nice catches early, but saved his best play when the game was on the line in the fourth quarter. After the two-minute warning Marshall came out ready to make a play. He caught a pass on the right side that was intentionally short because cornerback Terance Newman was draped all over him. He used his size to sky over his defender, and with his long arms he was able to pluck the ball out of the sky at it's highest point. Marshall then promptly turned upfield and started looking for yards after the catch. He cut back to the inside of the field while eluding tacklers, and then cut back to the outside as he ran into the end zone. After the play Marshall was visibly emotional, and ran up to his young head coach Josh McDaniels and gave him a huge hug. At the press conference after the game he came out and jokingly hugged his coach once again. The play and the emotion just once again emphasized how much Marshall loves this game. After the last two weeks it looks like Marshall's ferocity and focus is back on the field.
|WR Eddie Royal, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (6 targets)|
Royal was actually targeted before the end of the second-quarter this week, but it didn't pay off in a big fantasy day. Royal was struggling to get open, and was complaining about pass interference penalties that were not called instead of concentrating on getting open. This offense has a lot of moving parts, and it seems like Royal is not on the same page as quarterback Kyle Orton while running option routes.
|WR Jabar Gaffney, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (4 targets)|
Gaffney was targeted early in this game, but errant passes from Kyle Orton kept him from having a big day. However, it was Gaffney's eight-yard catch on the sideline comeback that seemed to jump-start the passing game. Gaffney should continue to be Orton's most trusted target, but his production will be inconsistent as the Broncos continue to spread the football around.
|WR Brandon Stokley|
Stokley made it onto the field in the first half, but only when the Broncos were lined up in 4-wide receiver sets.
|TE Daniel Graham, Rec: 3 - 36 - 0 (3 targets)|
Graham was also more involved in the passing game, and had the same number of receptions as fellow tight end Tony Scheffler. Graham was running hard after the catch, and did a good job of coming back to the ball when he was targeted. The big tight end is also known as a great blocker, and did a fine job of getting out in front of Brandon Marshall on his 51-yard touchdown catch.
|TE Tony Scheffler, Rec: 3 - 26 - 0 (3 targets)|
Scheffler was a little more involved in the gameplan than in recent weeks, and was able to get open because of mismatches against the Cowboys linebackers. Because Kyle Orton spreads the ball around so much Scheffler's best fantasy days will only come when he gets in the end zone.