4:25 PM ET, October 6, 2013
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
The last time he got the ball, Manning kept Denver out of the end zone -- and that was the best way to win the game.
The four-time MVP kept up his record pace for touchdown passes, Matt Prater kicked a 28-yard field goal as time expired after an interception by Romo spoiled the first 500-yard game in Dallas history, and the Broncos stayed unbeaten with a 51-48 victory Sunday.
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"It was pretty amazing that it came down to the defense making a big play at the end," Denver coach John Fox said. "Thank God our offense kept us in the game all day long."
In the waning seconds of one of the highest-scoring thrillers in NFL history, Manning ensured that his kicker -- not Romo -- had the last chance to score.
And with that, the Broncos ran their total to 230 points this season -- the most by an NFL team through the first five games. The Broncos have also won 16 consecutive regular-season games.
The Broncos (5-0) had moved the ball to the Dallas 2 after Danny Trevathan's diving interception at the 24 in the final 2 minutes.
Needing a first down but not a touchdown so they could run out the clock, Manning and Knowshon Moreno shouted at each other in the backfield just before the snap.
"He basically was asking me, 'How am I supposed to do that? How can I get a half a yard but not get a yard and a half?' " said Manning, who threw for 414 yards and four touchdowns to give him a record-setting 20 in the first five games.
"I just said, 'You can't! You can't score! You can't do it!' "
Moreno managed to pull off the first down without scoring, and Manning took three snaps to drain the clock to 2 seconds for Prater, who also had a 50-yarder among his three field goals.
50-50? More Than A Good Chance
With their 51-point outburst Sunday, the Broncos became the fourth team in NFL history to score 50 points in consecutive games. No team has ever done it three straight times.
It was quite a debate over a measly yard in a game with 1,039 yards of total offense combined in the fourth-highest scoring game in NFL history and tied for the second-highest in regulation since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, according to STATS.
Romo was 25 of 36 for 506 yards and five touchdowns, breaking Don Meredith's franchise record of 460 yards. He is the fifth quarterback in NFL history to pass for at least 500 yards and five touchdowns in a game.
Manning, who threw for 414 yards and moved past Dan Marino for second on the career passing list with 61,371 yards, answered by leading a nine-play, 73-yard drive to Moreno's tying 1-yard score with 2:44 remaining.
Romo's interception came two plays later, when Trevathan dived in front of tight end Gavin Escobar.
"I was baiting him," said Trevathan, who scared his teammates with a knee injury in practice last week that turned out not to be serious.
"Romo threw it and I felt like, man, hopefully I don't drop the ball when I get in the end zone this time. I fell to the ground and said, 'Forget it!' "
The Cowboys (2-3) were on the verge of getting blown out early in the second half when they finally stopped Manning and forced a field goal. They later ended his streak of 227 passes without an interception when Morris Claiborne picked him off late in the third quarter.
Dallas, which scored its most points ever in a loss, converted the turnover into a 41-38 lead on Romo's 10-yard pass to Jason Witten, but the Broncos pulled even with a drive to Prater's 50-yarder.
The biggest momentum swing came on Romo's 82-yard touchdown to rookie Terrance Williams that cut Denver's lead to 35-27 in the third quarter.
SportsNation: Broncos win in shootout
The Broncos beat the Cowboys 51-48. Are they unstoppable, or vulnerable? Which records will fall? Vote!
"So you leave this game and obviously you are crushed and disappointed," said Witten, who had 121 yards receiving and a touchdown. "Offensively, this needs to be the standard by which we play."
The Cowboys jumped ahead 14-0 in the first quarter, but Dallas defenders just couldn't stay with Denver's receivers. Then Manning fooled them and the 92,758 watching his first game at the $1.2 billion home of the Cowboys with a bootleg for an easy 1-yard score and a 28-17 lead late in the first half.
Denver lined up for what looked like a run on third down from the 1. But Manning had faked the handoff, and the roar from thousands of orange-clad Denver fans grew as they realized he was jogging toward the left corner of the end zone for his first touchdown rushing since 2008.
"The key is you want to do it about every five years or so," Manning said. "If you do it every game, they're going to be playing it right. Naked bootlegs only work, the ones I've done, is when you don' tell anybody."
Romo got Dallas in position for a 48-yard field goal by Dan Bailey just before halftime with a 38-yard completion to Williams, who had 151 yards receiving.
Bryant had six catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
Julius Thomas led the Broncos with 122 yards and two scores, and Moreno had 93 yards rushing for the Broncos.
Game notes: Manning fell two passes short of Jake Plummer's franchise record of 229 straight passes without an interception. Plummer set the mark in 2005. ... Manning's 20 TDs through five games broke Daunte Culpepper's record for Minnesota of 18 in 2004. ... Broncos CB Chris Harris, who started in place of Champ Bailey, didn't play in the second half because of a concussion.
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 06: Julius Thomas #80 of the Denver Broncos celebrates his touchdown against the Dallas...(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||7.1||9.7|
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||6-7||5-6|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
|TD||8:14||Dez Bryant 2 Yard Pass From Tony Romo (Dan Bailey Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 79 yds, 6:54
|TD||3:24||Demarco Murray 4 Yard Run (Dan Bailey Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 45 yds, 3:35
|TD||2:32||Julius Thomas 4 Yard Pass From Peyton Manning (Matt Prater Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 80 yds, 0:50
|FG||12:17||Dan Bailey 43 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 10 plays, 55 yds, 5:14
|TD||9:11||Eric Decker 2 Yard Pass From Peyton Manning (Matt Prater Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 80 yds, 3:08
|TD||5:27||Julius Thomas 9 Yard Pass From Peyton Manning (Matt Prater Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 41 yds, 3:27
|TD||0:52||Peyton Manning 1 Yard Run (Matt Prater Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 64 yds, 2:24
|FG||0:04||Dan Bailey 48 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 4 plays, 43 yds, 0:46
|TD||8:09||Wes Welker 2 Yard Pass From Peyton Manning (Matt Prater Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 13 plays, 67 yds, 6:57
|TD||7:20||Terrance Williams 82 Yard Pass From Tony Romo (Dan Bailey Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 83 yds, 0:55
|FG||3:29||Matt Prater 48 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 8 plays, 50 yds, 3:45
|TD||0:20||Dez Bryant 2 Yard Pass From Tony Romo (Tony Romo Run For Two-Point Conversion is No Good)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 80 yds, 3:09
|TD||13:48||Jason Witten 10 Yard Pass From Tony Romo (Tony Romo Pass to Terrance Williams For Two-Point Conversion is )|
Drive info: 5 plays, 51 yds, 1:24
|FG||9:42||Matt Prater 50 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 11 plays, 51 yds, 4:01
|TD||7:24||Cole Beasley 4 Yard Pass From Tony Romo (Dan Bailey Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 87 yds, 2:18
|TD||2:44||Knowshon Moreno 1 Yard Run (Matt Prater Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 73 yds, 4:40
|FG||0:02||Matt Prater 28 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 8 plays, 14 yds, 1:57
Peyton Manning (93.7) and Tony Romo (92.1) both posted Total QBRs over 90 while tallying more than 40 action plays. It is only the second game since 2006 in which two opposing quarterbacks each posted a Total QBR greater than 90 with that many action plays (David Garrard and Matt Schaub - Week 4, 2008). Peyton Manning has a Total QBR of at least 93.7 in 3 straight games. Aaron Rodgers is the only other quarterback with a Total QBR of at least 93.7 in 3 straight games (Week 6-9 in 2011) during the last 8 seasons. Manning also did it with the Colts from Week 4 to Week 7 in 2009. Romo's Total QBR Sunday was the highest for a starting quarterback in a loss this season.
From Elias: Cowboys are 2nd team in AFL/NFL history with 3 players with 120+ receiving yards and at least one receiving TD in a game. Oilers also did it on November 19, 1961 against the New York Titans.
Dez Bryant had six catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns. The Cowboys are now 1-7 in Bryant's career when he catches multiple touchdown passes.
- Peyton Manning completed 78.6% of his 42 attempts for 414 yards and four touchdowns. None of those numbers are a season high. - Broncos receivers gained 205 yards after catch. 39 different quarterbacks this year have failed to reach 205 passing yards in a game (minimum five attempts). However, that also is not a Broncos' season high (259 YAC, Week 1). - Manning threw his 20th touchdown pass of the season on Sunday. Manning's 20th pass last season was in Week 9, and he had thrown six interceptions by the end of that game. Manning's first interception of the season was Sunday. - Denver's 51 points was its most in a game since, well, last Sunday (52 points vs Eagles). The Jaguars have 51 points this season, and the Buccaneers have 44 (in four games). No other team has scored 50 in a game this season, and the Seahawks and Patriots are the only teams to do it twice since the start of last year.
Tony Romo's interception with 2:04 left in the 4th quarter Sunday dropped the Cowboys win probability by 25.9%. Another costly interception for Romo over the last few seasons.[+]
Tony Romo Recent 4th Quarter Interceptions
Peyton Manning (93.7) and Tony Romo (92.1) both posted Total QBR's over 90 while tallying over 40 action plays. It is only the second game since 2006 in which two opposing quarterbacks each posted a Total QBR over 90 in a game where they had that many action plays (David Garrard and Matt Schaub - Week 4, 2008).
Tony Romo's lone interception Sunday was the 23rd fourth-quarter interception of his career. The Cowboys have lost each of the last eight games in which Romo has thrown a fourth-quarter interception, with six of those eight losses coming by seven points or less.
Tony Romo is the first player in Cowboys history to pass for 500 yards in a game. Each of the six games in which Dallas had an individual throw for at least 410 yards came in a loss.[+]
Tony Romo is the fifth player in NFL history to throw for 500 yards and 5 TD in a game but joins Matthew Stafford as the only players to do so in a losing effort.[+]
ESPN Stats & Information