Cowboys vs. Broncos score, takeaways: Josh Johnson throws 2 TDs while Dallas’ penalty issues persist from 2021

The joint practices saw the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos seat the majority of starters in Saturday’s preseason opener, creating an opportunity for the second teams to show why they can contribute in 2022. Josh Johnson said he still belongs in the league, even though the Broncos are the 14th team he’s played for in his career.

Starting in place of Russell Wilson (rested), Johnson threw two touchdown passes in the first half to lead Denver to a 17-7 win, which wasn’t as close as the final scoreline indicated. . Johnson’s game-winning pass was a 40-yard strike off Brandon Johnson, son of former MLB wide receiver Charles Johnson, as the receiver caught the pass along the left sideline to get the offense moving. Denver. Johnson then found Seth Williams for a 1-yard touchdown three plays later to give the Broncos a 7-0 lead, a lead they would not give up.

Johnson also found Kendall Hinton for a 24-yard run on a rainbow touch pass to give Denver a 14-0 lead. He went 16 of 24 for 172 yards and two touchdowns in the first half (120.2 rating) before Brett Rypien relieved him for the rest of the game.

Cooper Rush started for the Cowboys in place of Dak Prescott (rest). He went 12 of 20 for 84 yards with an interception, which came on a fourth pass in the first quarter in Denver territory. The Cowboys didn’t come on the board until the fourth quarter on a 12-yard pass from Ben Dinucci to Simi Fehoko with 4:56 left. Dinucci went 9 of 16 for 112 yards and a touchdown in the loss.

Although many starters did not play, there were still storylines coming out of the contest. Below are some takeaways from Saturday’s pre-season clash.

A non-starter

The Cowboys seated 20 starters in Saturday’s game, including Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, CeeDee Lamb, Trevon Diggs, Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence. Russell Wilson also didn’t make his debut for the Broncos, as Denver also rested the majority of their starters in Game 1.

The Cowboys and Broncos had joint practices this week, hence why the starters didn’t play in this one.

Major Broncos injury

One of the starters who played for the Broncos was inside linebacker Jonas Griffith, who left the game in the first minute with a left elbow injury. Barely two games played, Griffith was out as coaches held his elbow as he walked away on his own.

Griffith thought to consider the Broncos’ plans on defense, but this injury seems significant. Alex Singleton, who signed with Denver this offseason, will have an opportunity with Griffith’s injury diagnosis uncertain.

Penalty problems remain in Dallas

It doesn’t matter if the Cowboys play first or second team, Mike McCarthy’s team still has huge penalty problems. The Cowboys were penalized nine times in the first half for 65 yards — this after leading the NFL with 127 last season (7.47 per game). Dallas also finished second in the league in penalty yards against with 1,103.

The Cowboys showed signs that they are still unruly, with 17 penalties for 129 yards on the night. Opening of the pre-season or not, it is unacceptable.

Who is QB #2?

Cooper Rush started in place of Prescott and his performance was poor. Rush played in the third quarter and went 12 of 20 for 84 yards with one interception as Dallas failed to score in all seven of its possessions. The Cowboys didn’t go past 34 yards and didn’t cross Denver’s 38-yard line when Rush played.

Ben Dinucci wasn’t much better, although he threw a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter, to put Dallas on the board. What does Dallas do if the backup quarterback’s game remains lackluster? Are the Cowboys looking to improve position or roll with Rush? Does it even matter if Dak Prescott goes down?

Rush has two other games to improve on this uninspiring performance.

The Josh Johnson Show

Johnson started for Russell Wilson and was impressive in the first half as the No. 2 quarterback. The Broncos are Johnson’s 14th team in the NFL, but the veteran signalman looked like someone who wanted to stick around.

Johnson went 16 of 24 for 172 yards and two touchdowns in the first half (120.2 rating), showcasing his passing and a great lead from his receivers. There are better options for a reserve quarterback in the league, but Johnson fills the role well.

The 36-year-old is expected to be on an NFL roster in 2022. Whether the Broncos select Johnson or Brett Rypien as the No. 2 quarterback will be determined over the next two weeks.

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