Final

Cowboys 10

(2-2, 1-1 away)

Broncos 17

(4-0, 2-0 home)

Coverage: FOX

4:15 PM ET, October 4, 2009

Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, CO 

1 2 3 4 T
DAL 10 0 0 010
DEN 0 7 0 1017

Top Performers

Passing: T. Romo (DAL) - 255 YDS, 1 INT

Rushing: K. Moreno (DEN) - 14 CAR, 65 YDS

Receiving: B. Marshall (DEN) - 4 REC, 91 YDS, 1 TD

Bailey denies Cowboys' last-second TD try after Marshall snags win for Broncos

Associated Press

DENVER -- Champ Bailey figured the last play was his to make.

Why not? Tony Romo had been testing him all afternoon, even though he kept acing every exam.

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"I welcome it. Please do. That's the only way I get a chance to make plays," said Bailey, who had eight tackles, broke up four passes and made one key interception in Denver's 17-10 win over Dallas on Sunday.

His biggest play came with a second left when he knocked away the potential tying touchdown pass from Romo to Sam Hurd on fourth-and-goal from the 2.

With the blitz coming, Romo quickly fired toward Hurd cutting across the middle. Bailey reached around and swatted the pass away with his left hand at the last second, giving the Broncos their first 4-0 start since 2003.

"Maybe they thought they could catch Champ sleeping," teammate D.J. Williams surmised. "One of the top corners in the league, my last play, I wouldn't go toward him."

Fast Facts

• The Broncos are 4-0 for the first time since 2003.

• Tony Romo had zero TD passes for the second straight game -- the first time in his career as a starter that he's gone consecutive games without a TD pass.

• The Broncos have allowed 26 points through four games, tied for the fifth-fewest points allowed by a team through four games since the 1970 merger.

• Denver has won its last four games vs. the Cowboys.

• Rapid Reaction

-- ESPN Stats & Information

Romo would. Again.

"They're good all over," Romo insisted of Denver's top-ranked defense. "I understand Champ's good. It's questionable. I think you could go either way on that call. It's a bang-bang play and the corner's always driving on the ball. If he gets to the ball early, that's part of the game. ... Those are always going to be contested throws."

The Broncos had taken the lead on Brandon Marshall's 51-yard touchdown catch from Kyle Orton with 1:46 remaining, providing some vindication for the Pro Bowl receiver whose temper tantrum during training camp earned him a nine-day suspension from coach Josh McDaniels.

No Rush For Broncos

New defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has restored the Broncos' rushing defense through four games this season. Denver held Dallas to its first sub-100 yard rushing game on Sunday.

Broncos rush defense
Year Yds per att
2009 3.2
2008 5.0
2007 4.6
2006 4.1

-- ESPN Stats and Information

By the look of their emotional embrace on the sideline after he zigzagged his way into the end zone, Marshall and McDaniels have reconciled.

On the other sideline, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, coach Wade Phillips and cornerback Terence Newman were swearing a flag should have been thrown on Marshall for offensive pass interference.

"I couldn't have played that play any better," Newman said. "I could have sworn it was going to be a penalty. He grabbed my jersey and threw me to the side. If that wasn't a hold, I don't know what is. I tried to grab him back. I figured either way, we were both going to be called for holding. But the refs didn't see it."

Marshall grabbed the ball off the top of Newman's helmet at the 25-yard line, then avoided three more tacklers on his way for the score.

Even then, Marshall was nervous.

"Going back to Pop Warner I've made a bunch of plays like that really didn't mean anything because we end up losing the game," Marshall said. "We knew their 2-minute offense is one of the best in the business."

Sure enough, Romo, ineffective in the second half when the Cowboys' first five drives ended in four punts and an interception by Bailey, found Hurd for a 53-yard gain on fourth-and-3 to the Broncos 20-yard line with a minute left.

The Cowboys reached the 2 with 9 seconds left. Romo spiked the ball on second-and-goal, then Bailey knocked away a high pass intended for Hurd before swatting away the last one that was right on the money.

"That surprised me," Broncos safety Brian Dawkins said. "Both times that surprised me. To challenge a Hall of Famer, still doing what he does? You saw what he did on that beautiful pick on the sideline. So that surprised me that they continued to go at Champ. I'm glad they did."

Bailey, who picked off a pass from Romo at his 6 in the third quarter, wasn't surprised Romo would test him one final time because the blitz was designed to coerce a quick pass to his man.

"If you want to keep testing me, putting the pressure on me, I'm with you," Bailey said.

Denver held the league's best rushing attack to just 74 yards on 25 carries, a 3-yard clip.

In the second half, Romo was 11 for 24 for 201 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.

"It happens, it happens," Dallas receiver Roy Williams said. "Michael Jordan scores nine points. Tiger can't come back on the final day. It happens. It happens."

Especially when Elvis Dumervil is breathing down his neck all game.

Romo was sacked five times, twice by Dumervil, who has eight in his last three games.

Denver's defenders filed into the locker room afterward crowing about having proved the critics wrong for blasting them this offseason and then dismissing their 3-0 start against bad offenses.

"To come out and do it against a great team shows we are great," D.J. Williams proclaimed.

Game notes


Orton improved to 17-2 at home as a starter since joining the league in 2005. ... Broncos RB Correll Buckhalter sprained his left ankle after gaining 55 yards on five receptions and 37 yards on six carries. He walked out of the stadium on crutches.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
DAL
DEN
1st Downs2018
Passing 1st downs
118
Rushing 1st downs
77
1st downs from penalties
23
3rd down efficiency
3-142-10
4th down efficiency
1-20-1
Total Plays7257
Total Yards315337
Yards per play4.45.9
Total Drives1212
Passing241221
Comp-Att
25-4220-29
Yards per pass
5.16.9
Interceptions thrown
10
Sacks-Yards Lost
5-143-22
Rushing74116
Rushing Attempts
2525
Yards per rush
3.04.6
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-30-2
Penalties7-7010-81
Turnovers21
Fumbles lost
11
Interceptions thrown
10
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession33:0726:53

Passing Leaders

DALC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Romo25/422556.1015-14
DENC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Orton20/292438.4203-22

Rushing Leaders

DALCARYDSAVGTDLG
Barber11413.719
Choice14332.4011
DENCARYDSAVGTDLG
Moreno14654.6014
Buckhalter6376.2010

Receiving Leaders

DALRECYDSAVGTDLG
Hurd36220.7053
Choice5479.4028
DENRECYDSAVGTDLG
Marshall49122.8151
Buckhalter55511.0023

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERDALDEN
dalFG6:02Nick Folk 49 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 8 plays, 38 yds, 3:27
30
dalTD0:50Marion Barber 1 Yard Run (Nick Folk Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 61 yds, 3:41
100
SECOND QUARTERDALDEN
denTD10:10Knowshon Moreno 9 Yard Pass From Kyle Orton (Matt Prater Kick is Good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 9 yds, 0:00
107
FOURTH QUARTERDALDEN
denFG6:02Matt Prater 28 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 8 plays, 65 yds, 3:37
1010
denTD2:00Brandon Marshall 51 Yard Pass From Kyle Orton (Matt Prater Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 73 yds, 1:01
1017