ARLINGTON, Texas -- For virtually all of Knowshon Moreno's football life, folks have asked him to fight for more, finish the play and when the game is on the line to get every inch he can.
“And I’ve never been part of that before," the Denver Broncos running back said.
Yes, in a game tied 48-48, with the two quarterbacks already having combined for nine touchdown passes, the Broncos did not want to score a touchdown. And after linebacker Danny Trevathan had given the Broncos the ball at the Cowboys’ 24-yard line with 1 minute, 57 seconds to play, they tried their best not to.
After four plays the Broncos faced a third-and-1 from the Cowboys’ 2-yard line. But not wanting to give the ball back to the Cowboys if they scored -- there was still 1:40 left on the clock at that moment -- the Broncos wanted to give the ball to Moreno and have Moreno get a first down, but not a touchdown.
A request that, at least initially, as he faced a difference of 36 inches between the score and a first down, flummoxed Moreno.
“We did not want to give [the Cowboys] the ball back. I’ve never been in a situation quite like that at the end," said quarterback Peyton Manning. “We needed to get the first down, but we didn’t need to score. That difference was about a half of yard. Knowshon and I were arguing at the end, he basically asked: 'How am I supposed to do that? How am I going to get a half a yard, but not get a yard and a half.' [I said] ‘You can’t, you can’t score.'"
"I was confused on how to do it," Moreno said. “Peyton said, 'Just do it it.’ Whatever he says, do. You always talk about first down, fall-down mentality. I’ve never been part of that before."
So, Moreno took the ball and powered into the middle of the Cowboys defense and stopped himself just short of the goal-line in the sea of humanity.
“You try to go down,’’ Moreno said. “... But at the same time it was a little crowded in there, so I tried to get the first [down]. I looked over at it and I was like let’s see how close I can get without going in."
From there Manning took a 4-yard loss before taking a knee twice and Broncos kicker Matt Prater kicked the 28-yard game-winner on fourth down.