Rapid Reaction: Broncos 17, Cowboys 10

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

DENVER -- For about 56 minutes Sunday, fans at Invesco Field at Mile High witnessed a pretty pedestrian effort from both teams. But with the game hanging in the balance, both the Broncos' and Cowboys' offenses suddenly came alive.

The Broncos took a 17-10 lead on Kyle Orton's 51-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall. The Cowboys had kept Marshall locked up for much of the afternoon, but he caught the ball and forced defenders to chase him all over the field en route to the end zone. Considering the way Tony Romo had played most of the afternoon, you didn't give the Cowboys much hope to race down the field and win the game.

But on fourth-and-3, he delivered a perfect pass to Sam Hurd, who turned it upfield for 53 yards. The Cowboys drove it to the 8-yard line but they failed to punch it in the end zone on two Romo throws. With five seconds left, Romo tried to fit the ball into Hurd. Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey reached in with his left hand to knock the ball away. It was an unbelievable ending to what had mostly been a dud of a game.

The Broncos racked up double-digit penalties, often putting themselves in third-and-long situations. Neither quarterback did anything to distinguish himself -- right up until the Broncos got the ball back late in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys' defense played well for most of the day, but it faltered down the stretch.

After having 11 carries in the first half, Marion Barber only carried it once in the second half. The Cowboys had to rely on Tashard Choice. And they didn't have that many opportunities because the Broncos controlled the clock and the ball.

Romo was at least accurate in the first half, but he was dumping everything off to his running backs. Orton was all over the map in the first half, missing wide-open receivers on several occasions.