Bizarro Broncos: Vic Fangio and the Broncos beat up the Dallas Cowboys

Nov 7, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Diontae Spencer (11) and the Broncos celebrate a defense stop against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

“’How ‘bout them Broncos!’ as Jimmy Johnson used to say,” deadpanned Vic Fangio after his Denver Broncos put a serious beat down on Jimmy’s old team – America’s Team – the Dallas Cowboys.

Nobody saw such a Sunday in Dallas coming. Well, except the head coach himself.

“You just sometimes know,” Fangio continued, explaining the inexplicable and slyly noting his 37 years in the NFL as the reason he’s a trusted authority on the matter.

Coming into the game, the Cowboys boasted the best offense in the NFL. The Broncos, who hadn’t beat a good team all season, had ‘em stopped before anything ever got started. The old ball coach, like none of the other rubes in the league, knew exactly how they’d do it, too.

“We just have to do it the right way, call it the right way, which I’m in charge of so you know that that’s going to be taken care of,” said Fangio, providing the layman’s answer to a question that had previously perplexed the rest of the NFL.

In Vic we trust, right?

“Teams just haven’t played them the right way,” he added, like professor gleefully watching his pupils struggle to find the missing variable in a simple – to him – equation.

Timeout.

(Speaking of which, the use, or misuse, of those didn’t even matter against the Cowboys).

Exactly who is this guy?

Fangio had the swagger of Primetime. Huh?

And who kidnapped Pat Shurmur?

More runs. Fewer passes.

Who was that team?

Better opponent. Better performance.

Dak was back, but Teddy was better.

Less Von. More sacks.

Less Noah. More Albert. More O.

Not much about the Broncos – or at least the ones we knew before they teed it up against the Cowboys – made sense on Sunday. If it weren’t for a crappy special teams performance and a signature, head-scratching challenge by Fangio, we might have thought a handful of imposters had swiped the Broncos uniforms at DFW International. The Cowboys woke up on Sunday as a double-digit favorite, but when it was all said and done, Little D ran roughshod over Big D.

Watching Denver play a flawless game was as bizarre as Barry Switzer’s first press conference with the Cowboys. For once, the Broncos were fun. Not only were they winning, but they were scoring. They looked like a group of guys that were legitimately enjoying themselves. They were oddly entertaining. There’s nothing not to like about that. In front of America’s Team, America – and hopefully the future owner of the Denver Broncos – was reminded that the Broncos are still a global brand. Orange jerseys filled the stands of Jerry’s World, providing visual proof of just how big the Broncos can be.

But perhaps the most important question – one that will likely be answered as the season plays on – is this: Were Sunday’s Broncos the real Broncos?

Fool’s Gold can be a dangerous thing in sports. Forty-eight hours ago, Broncos Country was ready to run Fangio and Shurmur (and even Bridgewater) out of town. The 30-16 victory in Dallas was a signature win for all of them, but can it be trusted? Did the drubbing of the Cowboys show who the Broncos can be, or was it an indictment of who they should have been all along, a reminder of what they’ve never been under Fangio? How will Broncos GM George Paton interpret what took place in Dallas?

One win does not a season – or a coach, or a quarterback, or coordinator – make.

Sunday’s win over the Cowboys was incredible, but unless the Bizarro Broncos keep showing up on Sundays to come, it can only be classified as an outlier.

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