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Broncos vs Cowboys: takeaways

The preseason may not count towards anything statistically, but it sure did teach us a few things when the Broncos pummelled the Cowboys in their opener.

The preseason may not count towards anything statistically, but it sure did teach us a few things when the Broncos pummelled the Cowboys in their opener.
C. Morgan EngelAFP

The Denver Broncos defeated the Dallas Cowboys in their preseason home opener, 17-7. That may look like a close game, but it really wasn’t. Now, preseason doesn’t really make a difference in the NFL, but this game had a lot to take away from it.

Josh Johnson proved himself worthy

Russell Wilson is the obvious starter for Denver in 2022. The Broncos newly-signed Pro Bowler leaves no question as to that. But tonight, Josh Johnson showed why he still deserves a place in the NFL. He threw two touchdown passes, one of which was set up by a 40-yard pass he threw to wide receiver Brandon Johnson.

He kept the ball moving down the field to finally pass the ball to Seth Williams for the 1-yard touchdown. His second of the night came when he set up Kendall Hilton on a 24-yard touchdown run to put Denver up 14-0. Both scores came in the second quarter. By the time Denver brought in Brett Rypien, Johnson had gone 16 of 24 for 172 yards and the two touchdowns.

What about the Cowboys’ backup QB?

The Cowboys, on the other hand, started Cooper Rush in place of Dak Prescott, and Rush looked a lot less promising as a second string for Dallas than Johnson did for Denver. Rush played the majority of the game, coming out late in the third quarter. Rush went 12 of 20 for just 84 yards and had one interception.

He never got a single touchdown and didn’t even get Dallas past the Broncos’ 38-yard line. Dallas finally took him out and put Ben DiNucci in with a little time left in the third quarter. He didn’t look much better, honestly, but at least he managed to get a touchdown pass. It’s not comforting that both Cowboys backup QBs are mediocre. There are still two more preseason games, so what Dallas decides to do as far as who the QB2 is shall remain to be told.

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Cowboys penalties

How long has this been the same story? Dallas’ penalties cost them games. It was a problem with Jason Garrett, and it’s a problem with Mike McCarthy. The Dallas team just can’t seem to play with enough discipline to avoid penalties. Last year, they led the league in penalties with 127. Just in the first half of the game vs the Broncos, the Cowboys had nine penalties for 65 yards and ended it with 17 penalties for 129 yards.

That is the most of any team in the preseason so far. First-round pick Tyler Smith, who raised concerns because of his 17 penalties at Tulsa last year, received two Holding calls tonight. Despite the fact that McCarthy said last season that it was their “no. 1 focus going forward”, nothing seems to have changed. Regardless of starters or backups, preseason or regular, if your main focus was this horribly missed, then a lot of work still remains.


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