There were no scribbled messages on his shoulder pads this time. No trash talk, either. Just Brandon Marshall letting his play do all the debating with a silenced Adam Jones.
Marshall's diving 3-yard touchdown catch with a flustered Jones in coverage highlighted the Denver Broncos' 23-13 preseason victory over the Dallas Cowboys on a soggy Saturday night.
Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler completed his first 12 passes for 142 yards while leading Denver on two TD drives in a game that followed four joint workouts spiced up by a friendly feud between Jones and Marshall.
Jones started it by saying teammate Terrell Owens was 10 times faster and 10 times better than the Broncos' third-year receiver. Marshall responded by scrawling "21's no Champ" -- as in Champ Bailey -- on the back of his shoulder pads.
The next day, he wrote, "Adam's no Pacman." Jones charged Marshall with changing his routes whenever he saw him in coverage. And so it went, with both stars getting unusually stoked for a mostly meaningless preseason game.
Marshall came out on top, catching six passes for 59 yards -- T.O. had three catches for 20 yards, by the way -- and Jones had six tackles, none of them on Marshall.
On his TD grab, Marshall was the second read behind rookie Eddie Royal, who caught two passes for 67 yards but was covered on this play.
After his catch, Marshall ran right past Jones toward the celebrating fans. But he caught up with his friend after the game.
"I told him, 'Hey, I was still on my routes,' " Marshall said. "He was sitting on everything, so I told Jay, 'When we go against Pacman, I'm running a double move.' "
"He got me," Jones said. "I wanted that one real bad. I want to get back to where I was."
Jones hasn't played in a regular season game since Dec. 31, 2006, while he was with Tennessee. He was suspended last year for a series of off-the-field troubles and arrests and is still awaiting full reinstatement.
Jones did get in the last word on his buddy as he left Invesco Field.
"Brandon's a great player," Jones said. "He's like T.O. He's 'Baby T.O.' but not quite T.O."
Pacman had a 24-yard punt return but spiked the ball in frustration after he was tackled by punter Sam Paulescu, drawing a flag.
"I'm not suppose to get taken down by a kicker," Jones explained.
Cutler completed 16 of 20 passes for 178 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. He led the Broncos (1-1) on a nine-play, 65-yard opening drive that ended with Andre Hall scampering in from a yard out.
Cutler credited his retooled offensive line, which doesn't have a single starter from last year, for his performance.
"Both [young] tackles did a great job. Didn't give them a push up front. Gave me a good pocket," Cutler said. "Any time we have that kind of protection and have Eddie and B-Marsh out there, it's going to be tough to stop us."
For the second straight week, the Dallas offense failed to find a rhythm thanks to penalties. Tony Romo went 6-for-9 for 33 yards and no TDs, and Dallas (0-2) had just 34 yards rushing by halftime and 70 for the game.
"I'm not real happy overall," coach Wade Phillips said.
The Cowboys wanted to get a gauge on backup quarterback Brad Johnson's arm strength, and he delivered. Playing behind the first-string offensive line, Johnson hit Miles Austin with a 37-yard pass at the two-minute warning, then found him in the end zone, where he out-jumped Domonique Foxworth for the 5-yard TD.
Austin, who has seven receptions for 106 yards in the preseason, didn't play in the second half, however, because of a right knee injury.
Matt Prater, who missed a 49-yard attempt at the end of the first half, kicked field goals of 29, 19 and 43 yards in the second half, while Nick Folk kicked a 42-yarder and a 29-yarder for Dallas.
Broncos Top Cowboys, 23-13
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