The Week Five game between the Broncos and the Cowboys, which Denver won 51-48 on a last-second field goal, was one of the best games of the year.
Now we have a new anecdote from the game, and it sheds some light on what makes Peyton Manning such a transcendent quarterback.
It comes in a great profile of Knowshon Moreno by Sports Illustrated’s Tim Layden.
With 1:40 left in the game and the score tied 48-48, the Broncos had a 3rd and 1 on the Dallas 2-yard line. If Denver scored a touchdown on the play, the Cowboys would have gotten the ball back with ~90 seconds left and had a chance to send the game to overtime.
To make sure Dallas didn’t get the ball back, Manning told running back Knowshon Moreno to get exactly one yard — a first down, but not a touchdown.
Here’s what Manning told Layden. You can see Moreno hit the pile and fall sideways:
“If we score a touchdown there, they get the ball back and maybe go down and score a touchdown to tie it,” explains Manning now. “So I’m saying to him, ‘Knowshon, you’ve got to get one yard, but you can’t get two.’ And he’s arguing back at me. ‘I can’t do that! I can’t do that!’ I said, ‘You’ve got to do that.’ He only knows one speed, so I know it’s killing him. It was so against his nature. But he did it, and he got one yard and he kind of eased up and went down. And we kicked the field goal and won.”
Moreno asks, “Do you know how hard it is to gain exactly one yard?”
It’s amazing that Manning had it planned all along. It’s even more amazing that Moreno did it.
Here’s the play:
He got the exact amount of yardage he wanted to get:
The Broncos took a knee three times from the one-yard line, running down the clock, and kicked a field goal as time expired to win 51-48.
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