Scoring 230 points so far this season, the Denver Broncos offense has been almost unstoppable yet, for almost four quarters on Sunday, Tony Romo and the unheralded Dallas Cowboys matched each score with points of their own after blowing an early 14-0 lead on their way to a 51-48 loss.
Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo, enjoying his first career 500 yard game, shattered Don Meredith’s previous franchise record of 460 yards and became only the fifth quarterback in NFL history to pass the 500 yard mark and throw five touchdowns in a single game as he battled valiantly to keep pace with the free-scoring Broncos.
But it wasn’t enough as, in a typically efficient performance, Peyton Manning finished with 414 yards of his own - moving past Dan Marino and into second place on the career passing list in the process – and the games’ highlight play.
Fooling everyone in the stadium, the Broncos’ quarterback casually ran in from a yard out after faking the handoff before jogging into the endzone for his first rushing touchdown since 2008, handing Denver a 28-17 lead late in the first half.
In the second half Cowboys’ receiver Dez Bryant hauled in a 79 yard pass before another Romo completion to Cole Beasley gave the ‘Boys a 48-41 lead.
Manning’s riposte was a 73 yard drive capped by Moreno’s one yard run to tie the score.
With the scores level, Romo’s errant throw – intercepted by Danny Trevathan – ended the Cowboys’ hopes of an upset and presented the visitors with the chance to retain their perfect start to the season.
Following the interception, the game was settled in the dying moments when Peyton Manning instructed Knowshon Moreno to get the first down, but not the score. Heeding his signal callers’ advice, Moreno secured the first down without adding to their points ensuring Matt Prater would be in prime position to secure the win.
Following three quick snaps, draining the clock in the process, Prater then kicked the winning points with two seconds left to play.
Despite the Cowboys efforts, the Broncos held on for the win and, with a match against the Jaguars looming in a weeks’, John Fox and his men will be confident of extending their unbeaten run, especially with Champ Bailey and Von Miller nearing their respective returns.
You make your own Luck
With his ninth fourth-quarter win, in only 21 career games, the Indianapolis Colts secured a surprise win against the previously undefeated Seattle Seahawks winning 34-28.
Their third straight win, following a week 2 loss at Miami, the Colts have now won three straight games and lead the AFC South for the first time in the post-Manning era.
The Colts, who had been behind all game, finally got their noses in front with 11 unanswered points in the games’ final quarter as they took the lead with just under nine minutes to play following Donald Brown’s 3 yard touchdown run.
For the Seahawks, the loss was almost as bizarre as their win over Houston last week. Pete Carroll’s men dominated the first half and seemed in control for the majority of the game but seemed to struggle on third downs.
Having flown out of the gates, Seattle will now look to regroup before they face off against a Titans team missing their starting quarterback.
14 hours of football
In Sunday night’s later than late game, the Oakland Raiders – helped by a record equalling performance from Charles Woodson – overcame the San Diego Chargers 27-17.
The game, delayed as a result of the Oakland Athletics’ baseball game on the same field on Saturday night sprung into life as the Raiders took the lead on their first play, courtesy of a 44 yard touchdown pass to Rod Streater.
The lead was never relinquished as Oakland’s defence pitched an impressive shut-out during the opening half despite Philip Rivers’ best efforts.
Throwing for over 400 yards, for the third time this season, Rivers was picked off twice as he played behind a patchwork offensive line before Ryan Matthews went down with concussion, further weakening the Chargers offense.
The Raiders had injuries of their own too but, thanks to Terrelle Pryor and Woodson, it didn’t matter.
Finishing 18 of 23 for 223 yards, Pryor continues to play well and has not thrown an interception since the seasons’ opener.
The night belonged to Woodson though.
Picking up Danny Woodhead’s fumble, Woodson ran it back for a score to make it 24-3. More importantly however, the return tied a record shared by Rod Woodson and Darren Sharper (and now Woodson) for the most defensive touchdown returns in NFL history.