The Dallas Cowboys beat the Denver Broncos 14-7 in this week’s Madden simulation. To account for the likeliest scenario, we opted to leave Michael Gallup off the depth chart, played La’el Collins at right tackle, and moved Terrence Steele over to left tackle. We also gave Dallas their bicentennial helmets they’ll be wearing on Sunday for extra measure.
But what about the game itself? What stood out in such a low-scoring contest?
3. Amari Cooper is a human cheat code
Amari Cooper and Dak Prescott—who is expected to play Sunday by all accounts—kicked off the first Dallas drive by marching down the field in methodical fashion. Dak’s first target went to Cooper for a gain of 13 yards. Then, after a short run by Ezekiel Elliott, the pair hooked up again for another chunk gain.
While Dak would spread the ball around a bit with another touch for Elliott and a nice gain to Dalton Schultz, he didn’t forget the mismatch his star receiver had highlighted moments earlier, coming back to Cooper for a 13-yard touchdown to cap off a 75-yard touchdown drive. In total, Dak went 6/6 for 73 yards and a score on the opening march, with Cooper getting the lion’s share. Yowza.
Coop made plenty of other plays along the way as well but that opening drive set the tone for Dallas and got Dak into an easy rhythm he never lost despite Denver’s best efforts.
2. The defense is prepared to slug it out with whoever lines up against it
The Broncos managed just seven points despite Melvin Gordon, Teddy Bridgewater, and Courtland Sutton’s best efforts to move the ball. The Dallas pass rush sacked Bridgewater three times, routinely flushing the Broncos’ signal-caller out of the pocket as Randy Gregory and Osa Odighizuwa applied pressure. They didn’t force any turnovers, but they kept everything in front of them forced Denver to grind out long drives the visiting team ultimately couldn’t sustain.
The biggest play on the day for Denver was a 23-yard scramble by Bridgewater with under four minutes to play and his team trailing 14-0.
1. Ezekiel Elliott’s impact might not always be “loud,” but it’s always crucial
Zeke started the game somewhat slowly, picking up about 13 yards on two totes amid a barrage of Prescott-to-Cooper strikes to move Dallas down the field and into the endzone. With how the passing attack was picking apart the Bronco secondary, you almost felt an Elliott carry was more about keeping the defense honest rather than trying to bludgeon them on the ground.
He helped move Dallas off its own goal line after a great Denver punt was downed at the Cowboys three-yard line, but the drive stalled out a moment or so later when Prescott was sacked on a 3rd-and-15. In truth, Zeke was having about as quiet a game as he’s had in any of these simulations, but boy when the time finally came to make himself heard, he did so in a big, big way.
Dallas effectively put the game away on its first possession of the third quarter, marching down the field with a couple of quick passes and then handing off to Elliott three consecutive plays. The change-up clearly caught the Broncos by surprise as the back gashed them for back-to-back 10-yard gains before trotting into the endzone practically untouched on a five-yard scamper to seize a two-score lead.
In all, Elliott ended the day with 71 rush yards and a score, the lion’s share of which came in the second half. It was just another reminder that even when Zeke isn’t touching the ball 20 times some odd times, he’s still finding ways to impact the game and help his team win.
You can watch our entire Madden simulation for Sunday’s game between the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel right here:
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