6:53 P.M. CDT: Plenty of Darrent Williams jerseys in the stands tonight. Some have “Darrent Williams,” as was printed on the late cornerback’s jersey nameplate; but I saw one of a fan sitting in the front row that simply said, “D-Will.” …
… Brandon Marshall was just announced as a starter at wide receiver, confirming what we all suspected. No other surprises forthcoming; Chris Myers remains at left guard, Montrae Holland at right guard and Amon Gordon at defensive tackle …
… Count me among those who hopes 75,000 fans will yell “All ready!” as the Broncos take the field for their home opener next Saturday night. We’re all looking for ways to keep the memory and spirit of No. 27 alive, and I know some of you brought up the idea in the comments section of the Thursday afternoon blog report. Hopefully many of you reading this are going to next week’s game or know people who will be there; all I can suggest is that we all pass the word along to as many people as possible …
… Terrell Owens, he of the Thursday morning tardiness, was rocking the white bodysuit in pregame warmups after wearing the black one on Thursday morning. I wasn’t the only one to observe Owens and quote Ned Flanders saying, “Feels like I’m wearing nothing at all! Nothing at all! Nothing at all!” …
7:05 P.M. CDT: Denver calls heads, and the coin comes up tails. The captains tonight are Jay Cutler, Champ Bailey and John Lynch. Lynch is the only one of the trio who was among the captains for the 49ers game. We’ll get an immediate look at whether the No. 1 defense was able to improve off of its ragged effort at San Francisco five nights ago.
7:07 P.M. CDT: Paul Ernster uncorks a 78-yard kickoff that goes for a touchback … best kickoff of the preseason so far. Denver opens with its base 4-3; Nate Webster is the strong-side linebacker with Sam Adams and Amon Gordon at the tackles. Standard starting lineup … and John Engelberger opens the game by batting away a pass. One play later, Webster tackles Julius Jones for a 1-yard loss.
7:12 P.M. CDT: A rough series of plays followed for the defense before Tony Romo appeared to trip over Jimmy Kennedy’s leg on third-and-5. Jarvis Moss was credited with the sack, since he was chasing Romo, but Kennedy deserves a little more credit for it … No matter; Martin Gramatica missed the subsequent field-goal attempt and the Broncos emerged unscathed.
7:15 P.M. CDT: Denver opens in a two-tight end set, with Daniel Graham and Nate Jackson both starting. Kyle Johnson got the start at fullback, with Travis Henry and Javon Walker rounding out the skill-position players. A 6-yard screen pass gets Denver to third-and-4; the three-wide receiver set includes Walker, Marshall and Brian Clark.
7:16 P.M. CDT: Cutler had no time to throw on the third-and-4 from the Dallas 47; he stepped out of the pass rush to give himself a brief chance, but eventually went down for a 2-yard loss, condemning the Broncos to a three-and-out. Todd Sauerbrun’s punt shanked off his right foot and then bounced back towards the Denver end of the field; the punt covered just 15 yards.
7:21 P.M. CDT: Another big play yielded on third down — third-and-5 becoming a 10-yard run by Marion Barber to move Dallas back into Denver territory for the second consecutive series. Denver’s first-team defense is still searching for its first third-and-out of the preseason.
7:22 P.M. CDT: After Webster and John Lynch each made some big hits on the series, Ian Gold steps in to match their efforts with a strong open-field hit on Lousaka Polite, forcing Dallas into third-and-9. But third down again clobbers the Broncos, as Sam Hurd got open in front of Nick Ferguson and behind the cornerbacks for a 20-yard catch and a third successful third-down conversion in four tries so far tonight.
7:25 P.M. CDT: Dallas in second-and-1 at the Denver 5-yard-line now … and promptly moves to the Denver 1 after a Julius Jones run. Dallas seems to be running away from Sam Adams whenever the massive defensive tackle is on the field. Denver takes a time out to regroup.
7:28 P.M. CDT: A commercial on the Cowboys’ local TV broadcast refers to a “new” Albertsons grocery store with a new “spirit.” I don’t want spirit when I go grocery shopping; I just want food.
7:29 P.M. CDT: Great penetration by Hamza Abdullah into the backfield on first-and-goal to hold Marion Barber to no gain … but on second-and-goal, Barber jumps over the crowd easily for the touchdown. Denver’s first-team defense now has allowed 17 points and a missed field goal on four series so far this preseason … no punts, no three-and-outs.
7:35 P.M. CDT: Just all sorts of problems right now … the offense going backwards after a holding penalty on Erik Pears, which pushes Denver back to the 10-yard-line … and then Travis Henry’s fumble pushes things from bad to worse. From the instant replay, it looks like the handoff from Cutler was in Henry’s breadbasket, but he couldn’t grasp the football. Marcus Spears recovers the unforced fumble at the Denver 7.
7:37 P.M. CDT: Two plays to the end zone, with Jones scoring from four yards out. Jones bolted forward as Denver’s defenders were sliding around; by the time D.J. Williams got his arms around Jones’ legs, the running back already had enough momentum to plow over the goal line. Denver trails, 14-0.
7:41 P.M. CDT: Henry starts trying to make amends, with a 10-yard run for the Broncos’ initial first down of the game.
7:43 P.M. CDT: Only a borderline horse-collar tackle from Aaron Glenn on Marshall kept the wide receiver from breaking forward for a big play; in the end, the Broncos settle for their second first down of rht game and possession at the Denver 43. The Broncos will have second-and-10 from the 43 when the second quarter begins momentarily.
Tags: Dallas Cowboys