DENVER — Trevor Siemian tied a career high with four touchdown passes and the Denver Broncos held Ezekiel Elliott to the worst game of his career — 8 yards on nine carries — in a 42-17 blowout of the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday in a game that included an hour-long lightning delay.
Aqib Talib’s 103-yard interception return for a touchdown with 53 seconds left was the final indignity for the Cowboys (1-1), who watched Von Miller end a career-long five-game sackless streak by dumping Dak Prescott twice.
Elliott, who’s playing while his appeal of a six-game suspension for domestic violence works its way through the courts, came into the game averaging 108 yards rushing per game and more than 5 yards a carry in his career.
The star in the backfield on this day was C.J. Anderson, who rushed for 118 yards and a score and also caught a TD pass for the Broncos, whose only big blemish in their fifth straight 2-0 start was the left leg injury to tackle Garett Bolles, their No. 1 draft pick who got hurt on the opening drive of the second half.
Two plays after Bolles was carted off, Siemian found Virgil Green for a 2-yard TD. Chris Harris Jr.’s interception set up Anderson’s 22-yard touchdown run that made it 35-10.
The Cowboys pulled to 35-17 on Jason Witten’s 28-yard catch that was set up by rookie Jourdan Lewis’ interception when the receiver he was covering slipped.
The Cowboys looked nothing like the team that dominated the Giants in their opener. They were seeking their first win in Denver since 1992 and instead lost to the Broncos for the sixth straight time.
Siemian threw scoring strikes of 10 and 6 yards to Emmanuel Sanders as the Broncos built a 21-10 halftime lead.
The Cowboys were lucky to be that close after a first half in which they managed just five first downs, converted one third down and were outgained 246 yards to 97.
The only touchdown for Dallas came on a 3-yard drive after DeMarcus Lawrence’s strip sack of Siemian after beating right tackle Menelik Watson, who also had a tough night in Denver’s opening win against the Chargers.
Dez Bryant beat Talib for the score two plays after Maliek Collins scooped up the loose ball after Lawrence’s first of two sacks.
Lawrence added a second sack before halftime, but was whistled for illegally leaping on a field goal on the next snap, and Denver capitalized on the 15-yard personal foul as Siemian found Anderson open in the flat for a 16-yard score that made it 14-7.
After Sanders’ second score, the Broncos boldly called a timeout with 1:33 left and Dallas, which had no timeouts remaining, capitalized on it when Dan Bailey tied his career-long field goal with a 56-yarder to pull the Cowboys to 21-10 with 2 seconds left before halftime.
The Cowboys began the day without their top cornerback, Orlando Scandrick, who broke his left hand last week, and they lost rookie Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) and Nolan Carroll (concussion) in the first half.
Denver scored on its first drive when Siemian found Sanders for a 10-yard strike , and the Broncos were driving for another score but McManus pushed a 49-yarder wide right, his second miss in three attempts since signing his contract extension Monday.
The game was delayed by lightning for 62 minutes in the first quarter. The Cowboys were at midfield with 33 seconds left in the first quarter when the teams were told to head to their locker rooms and fans retreated to the concourses.
Ron Leary, who bolted Dallas for Denver’s four-year, $35 million deal in the offseason, played against his former team after clearing concussion protocol Saturday.
DeMarcus Ware was the honorary alumni captain for the coin toss between the game pitting his former teams. He said he was thrilled to have played for both teams but would always root for Von Miller.
Ware retired in January after nine years in Dallas and three seasons in Denver because of chronic bad problems. He acknowledged he considered coming out of retirement when Broncos linebacker Shane Ray injured a wrist early in training camp but decided to stick with his new gig working for the NFL Network.
“I’ve played enough football,” he said.