Broncos Cowboys Football

Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams (33) carries the ball in the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Broncos running back Javonte Williams has shown traces of potential early in the season. On Sunday, he put all the pieces together. 

Williams rushed for 111 yards in Denver's 30-16 victory over the Cowboys, nearly doubling his previous career-high. His contributions — along with the ones from his fellow rookies including outside linebacker Jonathan Cooper, cornerback Patrick Surtain II, safety Caden Sterns, guard Quinn Meinerz and linebacker Baron Browning — played a big part in the Broncos crucial win. 

"It says a lot about the rookie class," Cooper said. "It's always cool to see those guys out there doing their thing. We are all pretty close. We talk to each other all the time. To see them go out there and ball means everything to me. I hope we stay together."

Williams, a second round pick out of UNC, had one of the highlights of the day. He broke away from the Cowboys defense, one of the best at stopping the run, for a 30-yard gain. He was stuck in the pack for the beginning of the play, but it was Meinerz that provided the block that gave him the clear running space. 

It was the third-longest run of his career. 

"When I broke, I thought I was going," he said. "But, someone caught me from the back. 

For Cooper, who was drafted out of Ohio State, Sunday represented a big milestone: his first sack. It happened in the second quarter, when he was able to get around the Cowboys offensive line to take down Dak Prescott.

Cooper stepped up to a starting role after Von Miller was traded, and proved that he was ready for the moment Sunday. 

"I felt a responsibility because I am in that position group. When you see a Hall of Famer like Von Miller leave and you see Malik Reed go down, I look up to those guys a lot. I feel like it's next man up. I just want to make them proud honestly."

Browning had four tackles, while Surtain II and Sterns each had two tackles, with Sterns coming up with an interception as well. 

"It was great," coach Vic Fangio said of the rookies. "It was the whole team though."

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Game analysis and insights from The Gazette sports staff including columns by Woody Paige and Paul Klee.

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