Everything is bigger in Texas — including the Denver Broncos' confidence.
"How about them Broncos?" head coach Vic Fangio boasted after Sunday's 30-16 upset victory over Dallas, referencing the famous Cowboys catchphrase.
Although quite the deviation from the stoic norm, fist-pumping, vinegar-spitting Fangio deserves the victory lap. His team took on his sudden persona change amid its Week 9 drubbing at JerryWorld, an affair not as competitive as the score makes it seem. This was all Denver, top to bottom, from the opening whistle.
And his defense — his baby — led the charge, limiting the NFL's most explosive offense to 290 total yards, much of which came in garbage time, and a meager 5.1 yards per play. His game plan completely erased the Cowboys' explosive receiving corps featuring Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, both of whom combined for 60 scoreless yards on four catches.
How did Denver's ever-changing cornerback unit hold up, in Fangio's estimation?
“For 56 minutes, it was a goose egg. You can answer that question," he chirped.
For 60 minutes, the Broncos outplayed, outcoached, and outclassed a legitimate Super Bowl contender, they of a previous six-game winning streak. This was unlike anything Fangio's outfit has shown this season, a signature moment in his tenure and one of the best efforts in the post-Peyton Manning era (2016-2021).
"We got beat. We got thumped in every aspect of the game," Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott admitted.
It felt that way from the very first drive, too, when Justin Simmons stonewalled Ezekiel Elliott on a 4th-and-1 run, prompting a rare outburst of emotion from Fangio. And then again on Dallas' second drive, when Prescott was forced into an incomplete pass on 4th-and-2. The latter turnover on downs led to a Broncos touchdown, providing a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
"They were trying us. But that’s what happens when you try us," wide receiver Tim Patrick said.
Where have these Broncos been? Where has this swagger been? This fight? They're unanswerable if maddening questions to pose, and one has to wonder if such a brand of football is sustainable.
But, perhaps with the lightbulb finally flipped on, Spicy Vic may be here to stay.
“I’ve always said doing something and accomplishing something gives you confidence and belief," Fangio said. "You don’t need to go sit outside some psychologist’s couch and get it. That’s just a bunch of bullsh-t. You’ve got to do it on the field between the white lines. You’ve got to do it with your actions, not with your words. And we did that today.”
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