DENVER -- As expected, a quarterback and a running back did indeed make Sunday’s affair in downtown Denver a tidy little showcase.
And while Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott essentially found themselves in supporting roles, the Denver Broncos showed why they have consistently said they believe in what quarterback Trevor Siemian can do with the kind of run game C.J. Anderson can provide, as well as the team’s swarming defense in his corner.
More important to the Broncos, the 42-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Sports Authority Field, which included a weather delay of an hour, showed why they simply like what their team is capable of accomplishing.
The Broncos had made stopping the Cowboys’ power game, with Elliott running behind three first-team All-Pros in the offensive line, the focus in what was a short week for them after a Monday Night Football opener. Coach Vance Joseph had given the ultimate power-football compliment when he had offered the Cowboys were “easy to scout and hard to beat."
Joseph had also talked of the importance of the Broncos’ own run game and Siemian's playing with composure to keep Prescott out of favorable down-and-distance situations so the Dallas offense couldn't simply lean on Elliott to pound away.
Safe to say, mission accomplished.
Siemian was efficient, finishing 22-for-32 passing for 231 yards and four touchdowns, while the Broncos recorded 178 rushing yards.
But perhaps the number that stood out the most with just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter was zero. That was Elliott’s rushing total at that time.
The Cowboys helped at least some, as they seemed to try to alter their personality in the face of the Broncos’ defense right from the start. In the first half, they threw the ball on 7 of 9 first-down plays as Elliott became a second option.
There was the matter of Siemian, as well, with three touchdown passes in the first half to go with Anderson's production. Anderson had 58 of the Broncos’ 96 yards rushing in the opening half, and by the time the third quarter ended, he had 92 of the Broncos’ 149 yards rushing to go with both a rushing and receiving touchdown.
Give that kind of production to the Broncos' defense, and as cornerback Chris Harris Jr. has said, "We're real hard to beat. Real hard." Indeed, the Broncos' defense was ruthless and efficient, limiting Dallas to 268 total yards.
Not all was perfect for the Broncos, however. They have some injuries in the offensive line that will be a concern, especially to left tackle Garett Bolles, and they have let at least some momentum get away while holding big leads in back-to-back weeks.
In the end, though, Joseph wanted a physical, snarling team that could push and shove when it needed to. The Broncos have been just that in the season’s opening two weeks, whether anybody outside their locker room saw it coming or not.