KUSA - Add it to Peyton Manning's magical season. After pulling off the old hidden-ball trick on a touchdown run Sunday against Dallas, the Broncos quarterback pulled off his 39th fourth-quarter comeback in the Broncos' 51-48 win.
In a wild second half, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo made his one big mistake of the game: an interception at the Dallas 24-yard line with the game tied at 48 and 1:57 left in the game. Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan picked off the second-down pass intended for tight end Gavin Escobar.
"D-line did a good job of attacking (Romo). He was under pressure," Trevathan said. "I just jammed (Escobar) a little longer and broke on the ball."
Said Romo: "The kid made a good play. I just didn't get as much on it. There weren't as many people around as I wanted to put it another 2 feet out in front, and I didn't put it exactly where I need to. It's frustrating."
Manning then led the game-winning drive, working the clock and advising running back Knowshon Moreno to get the first down. Moreno listened and got the first-and-goal at the Cowboys' 2-yard line with 1:35 to play. After running off the clock, Matt Prater kicked a 28-yard field goal as time expired.
"We did not want to give them the ball back," Manning said of the final possession. "I've never been in a situation quite like that in the end. We needed to get the first down but we didn't need to score. That difference was about half a yard.
"Knowshon and I were arguing at the end. He basically was asking, 'How am I supposed to do that? How can I get a half a yard but not a yard and a half.' I just said, ' You can't. You can't. You can't score. You can't do it. We have to get a first down, kick a field goal and get out of this place.' "
Romo finished with a Dallas Cowboys record 506 yards passing (25-of-36) with five touchdown passes and the one costly interceptions. It was the most passing yards ever given up by a Denver defense. Romo connected with eight teammates.
Manning ended 33-of-42 passing for 414 yards with four TDs and his first interception of season.
The teams combined for 1,039 yards, 58 first downs and five turnovers on 127 plays.
Romo threw three touchdowns passes (two 92 that were seconds apart) against a challenged Denver secondary and took a 41-38 lead on a 10-yard pass to Jason Witten with 13:48 to play.
After Denver tied the game at 41 on Prater's 50-yard field goal, Romo again picked on the Denver secondary and took a 48-41 lead on his fifth touchdown pass of the game - this one to Cole Beasley with 7:24 left. The five-play drive was highlighted by Dez Bryant's 79-yard catch to the Denver 4-yard line when he beat Broncos cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Denver responded with a 73-yard drive and tied the game at 48 on Knowshon Moreno's 1-yard run with 2:44 left in the game.
"You always want to have these type of games, especially in the regular season, to make sure you have that toughness and that heart in there for guys to fight on," Denver receiver Wes Welker said.
From there, Romo's mistake cost the Cowboys and extended the Broncos' regular-season winning streak to 16 consecutive games.
"Certainly Tony was awesome today. He made some great plays," Manning said. "We were hurting on defense from an injury standpoint, lost some of our leaders. ... But offensively we did some good things. We were good in the red zone."
Denver's defense played the second half without linebacker Wesley Woodyard (shoulder) and cornerback Chris Harris (concussion). Defensive end Robert Ayers injured his shoulder on Dallas' first drive of the game, but returned late in the second quarter. Harris was starting for Champ Bailey (foot), who has been out since the preseason.
Manning scored on a 1-yard naked bootleg late in the second quarter, this after he threw three touchdown passes in the first half as Denver took a 28-20 lead into locker room. It was Manning's first rushing touchdown since 2008 (18th of his career, which ties him with his father, Archie).
"I've actually done that a few times, believe it or not," Manning said. "The key is you want to do it about every five years or so. If you do it every game, they'll be playing it, right? ... I'll be retired by the time I'll be able to do it again."
Manning set two records in the first half with his TD passes. The first came on No. 17 of the season, which was the most to start a season without an interception. Nos. 18 and 19 equaled then set the record for TD passes in the first five games of the season, previously held by Daunte Culpepper (2004 in Minnesota).
Manning moved into second all-time on the NFL's career passing yards, jumping over Miami's Dan Marino. Manning now has 61,371 yards to Marnio's 61,361. Brett Favre holds the record with 71,838 yards with Green Bay, N.Y. Jets and Minnesota.
After the Broncos' first drive ended on the third play when receiver Eric Decker fumbled after a 19-yard pass play, Manning scored on four consecutive drives to end the first half.
"I thought our guys stayed pretty poised considering the start to the game," Manning said.
Trailing 14-0, Manning needed just 50 seconds to go 80 yards on Denver's second possession. Decker came right back for a 57-yard pass play on the second play of the drive, gaining the last 14 yards on a spin move to get to the Dallas 4-yard line. Manning capped the drive on the next play when he found Demaryius Thomas in the back of the end zone for TD pass No. 17.
After holding Dallas to a 43-yard field goal, Denver scored 21 unanswered points to take a 28-17 lead. Manning found Decker for a 2-yard TD pass then found Julius Thomas for a 9-yard TD toss and a 21-17 lead.
Manning pulled off the naked bootleg on a third-and-goal, faking the handoff to Knowshon Moreno and taking the ball wide around the left side of the line untouched for a 28-17 lead with 52 second left before halftime.
"He showed some of them zoom-zooms on that one," Trevathan joked of Manning's speed on the TD run.
The Broncos didn't have any letdown to start the second half as Manning connected with Wes Welker on a 2-yarder for a 35-20 lead. It extended Manning's NFL-record career games with at least four TD passes.
The Broncos' 230 points are an NFL record through five games, 13 more than the 2000 St. Louis Rams.
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