For the first time in weeks, the entirety of the Denver Broncos came to play, as they stormed into AT&T Stadium, and absolutely took it to Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys.

Much of the criticism of Denver has surrounded inconsistent play from veteran players whose expectation was to elevate this talented roster to a point of playoff contention. Key players like Justin Simmons, Teddy Bridgewater, Kyle Fuller, and more were being lambasted for underwhelming execution and waning passion on the gridiron.

Sunday’s 30-16 win over the Cowboys was a stark reminder to Denver’s fanbase and the rest of the league that the NFL season is a war, not a battle.

The underlying feeling of this game was anger and it manifested in several players’ performances throughout the game. Teddy Bridgewater even mentioned it in the post-game press conference.

“You take the field with a little anger, honestly,” Bridgewater said when asked about the team’s mentality. “It’s like, hey man, we are going for it because they said our offense is not going to score. We talked about it in the huddle and used it as motivation.”

The passion coming from the Broncos’ offensive leader was heartfelt and genuine. Congeniality has been a word used to describe Bridgewater since he landed in Denver and remains a big part of his personality, but against Dallas he showed a fire and intensity that could serve him well the remainder of the season.

Center Lloyd Cushenberry echoed the same sentiments as his starting quarterback when asked a similar question about Dallas going for multiple 4th down conversions.

“We felt it was a disrespect to us,” Cushenberry stated. “They felt like we can go for it and their defense will just stop us like its nothing. We definitely took that personal, and just come out and put some points on the board.”

Again and again, when the Broncos players were asked about Dallas’ aggressive offensive game plan, the same message rang throughout the locker room. It wasn’t just one player’s ire or the emboldened message of a single man’s frustration, it was unanimous.

Tim Patrick, when being asked how he felt about Dallas’ 4th down attempts, responded matter-of-factly.

“Disrespectful. They were trying us,” Patrick said. “But that’s what happens when you try us.”

This is still only the story of one game, though.

If Denver’s goal is to be seen as a competitor this season, they will need to bring the same amount of fight and spirit to each and every remaining game on their schedule.

The defensive was always the perceived strength of this Broncos team but if the offense can meet them in the middle like they did Sunday afternoon, their losing was can be forgotten quickly.

Nothing is certain, but this was the exact upset result the Broncos needed as a reminder of the talent on this team and that there is still a path to the post-season.