Familiar story: Dallas Cowboys lose preseason opener to Broncos

·2 min read
Jack Dempsey/AP

The Dallas Cowboys generally don’t play well in the preseason.

Let’s start with that.

They are 12-25 in the preseason since 2012.

And their last true road victory in the preseason came in 2012 against the Raiders.

So what transpired Saturday night against the Denver Broncos comes as no surprise.

The Broncos jumped out to a 17-0 halftime lead en route to a 17-7 victory at Empower Field at Mile High in the preseason opener for both teams.

It was the fifth straight preseason loss under coach Mike McCarthy.

And it was another domination of the Cowboys by the Broncos, who ended Dallas’ six-game winning streak with a 30-16 thrashing at AT&T Stadium last season and who got the better of them in a practice between the two teams on Thursday.

The Cowboys’ lone score came with 4:56 left when Ben DiNucci connected on a 12-yard scoring pas to Simi Fehoko.

Both teams sat the majority of their starters on both sides of the ball, including franchise quarterbacks Dak Prescott of the Cowboys and Russell Wilson of the Broncos.

Most disappointing was that a Cowboys team that led the league in penalties last season and made a point to emphasize discipline in the off season committed 9 penalties for 65 yards in the first half. Key flags sparked all three scoring drives. They finished the game with 17 penalties for 129 yards.

A taunting infraction on Dante Fowler preceded a 1-yard touchdown pass from Broncos backup quarterback Josh Johnson to Seth Williams. A roughing the passer penalty on defensive end Tarell Bashem negated a third-down incompletion and extended a drive that ended with a 24-yard pass from Johnson to Kendall Hinton.

And an offside penalty on a missed 57-yard field goal allowed the Broncos kicker Brandon McManus to hit a 52-yarder with no time on the clock to end the first half.

Backup quarterback Cooper Rush, who played the better part of three quarters, never got the Cowboys offense untracked. He completed 12 of 20 passes for 84 but was just 9 of 17 in the first half. DiNucci completed 9 of 16 for 112 yards.

Malik Davis led the Cowboys with 51 rushing yards; 11 different Cowboys caught passes, led by Jake Ferguson and Davis with three each. Brandon Smith’s 40-yard reception was the Cowboys’ only play over 20 yards.

Rush was undone by two holding penalties on rookie left guard Tyron Smith, a dropped pass on fourth down by rookie receiver Jalen Tolbert and an interception of his own.

The Cowboys have lost four straight preseason openers.