Bronco Beat

Kellen Moore, Cowboys can’t score TD in loss to Bills

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Kellen Moore throws against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Kellen Moore throws against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert) AP

Former Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore went 13-for-31 for 186 yards with an interception Sunday in his first NFL start.

Moore’s Dallas Cowboys lost 16-6 at the Buffalo Bills. The last time Moore was on the field, he threw an incomplete pass on third-and-8 facing a 9-6 deficit. The Bills scored a touchdown on the ensuing possession, the Cowboys fumbled the kickoff return and the Bills ran out the clock.

Moore led the Cowboys into Bills territory on seven of eight drives but they couldn’t finish those drives.

Perhaps the most important play of the game was a first-and-10 throw by Moore at the Bills 26-yard line late in the third quarter. Moore threw a slant to Brice Butler but the ball was slightly behind the receiver. Butler got both hands on the ball, which popped into the air and was intercepted.

Moore was off with his throws for much of the second half after a fairly impressive first half. He was 7-for-15 for 116 yards in the first half (he could have had a bunch more yards if receivers had made plays) and 6-for-16 for 70 yards in the second half.

The Cowboys conclude the regular season Jan. 3 against Washington in Dallas (11 a.m., Fox). Moore is expected to start again.

DRIVE 8

Setup: The Cowboys still trailed 9-6 as they got the ball at their own 31 with 11:40 to go.

Drive: Moore found Terrance Williams for a 23-yard gain on third-and-19. Williams caught the ball several yards short of the first down but made a nice play after the catch. Moore added a 10-yarder to Brice Butler but threw incomplete on third-and-8 when Williams broke off his route and Moore threw the go.

Result: Punt

Moore’s current stats: 13-for-31, 186 yards, interception

Score: Bills 9, Cowboys 6

DRIVE 7

Setup: The Cowboys got the ball at their own 39-yard line after a Bills fumble with 1:47 left in the third quarter.

Drive: Facing second-and-13, Moore hit Terrance Williams for 10 yards and Cole Beasley for 4 for a first down. But on third-and-3 at the Bills 43, Moore threw too low for Brice Butler.

Result: Punt

Moore’s current stats: 11-for-25 for 154 yards and an interception

Score: Bills 9, Cowboys 6

DRIVE 6

Setup: The Cowboys got the ball on their own 20-yard line down 9-6 with 6:17 left in the third quarter.

Drive: Moore hit tight end James Hanna on a rollout for 10 yards on second-and-10. Darren McFadden’s 28-yard run got the Cowboys into Bills territory and Terrance Williams gained 14 yards on a third-and-8 screen. But on first down, Moore threw a slant slightly behind Brice Butler. Butler got both hands on the ball but it bounced into the air and was intercepted.

Result: Interception

Moore’s current stats: 9-for-21 for 140 yards, interception

Score: Bills 9, Cowboys 6

DRIVE 5

Setup: The Cowboys took the ball at their own 19-yard line for their first possession of the second half. The game was tied 6-6.

Drive: After two Darren McFadden runs, Moore tried to make a short throw to Terrance Williams for the first down. The Bills defender was able to reach around Williams and deflect the pass.

Result: Punt

Moore’s current stats: 7-for-16 for 116 yards

Score: Bills 6, Cowboys 6

DRIVE 4

Setup: The Cowboys started at the Bills’ 44-yard line after a nice punt return. They trailed 6-3 and it was the middle of the second quarter.

Drive: The Cowboys started with a false start but Moore erased that with a perfect strike to Brice Butler over the middle on second-and-9. The Fox analyst called it his best throw of the game to that point. Butler was able to run all the way to the 9 for a 34-yard gain. After two runs, Moore tried a fade to Butler in the corner of the end zone. Butler caught it but both of his feet came down out of bounds.

Result: Field goal, 22 yards, by Dan Bailey.

Moore’s current stats: 7-for-15 for 116 yards

Score: Bills 6, Cowboys 6

DRIVE 3

Setup: The Cowboys got the ball on their own 20 after the Bills scored a touchdown for a 6-3 lead late in the first quarter.

Drive: More hit Cole Beasley over the middle for a 25-yard gain on third-and-7 from the Cowboys’ 35-yard line. He completed another first-down pass but it was wiped out by a holding penalty and made what should have been another first-down throw but the ball was dropped. Tight end Jason Witten gained 13 yards on a screen on third-and-21.

Result: Punt

Moore’s current stats: 6-for-13, 82 yards

Score: Bills 6, Cowboys 3

DRIVE 2

Setup: The Cowboys got the ball at their own 36-yard line after the Bills failed on fourth down. The Cowboys led 3-0 with 5:45 left in the first quarter.

Drive: Moore opened with a nice throw over the middle to Terrance Williams for a 15-yard gain into Bills territory. He threw deep out of play action a couple plays later but Williams fell down on his route. Darren McFadden gained 13 yards on a toss play out of the pistol on third-and-6 to keep the drive alive. After Moore misfired on a screen pass, he stepped up to avoid the pass rush and made a nice throw into tight coverage. Williams needed to make a spectacular catch and couldn’t do it.

Result: Missed field goal. Dan Bailey’s 50-yarder was short.

Moore’s current stats: 3-for-8, 46 yards

Score: Cowboys 3, Bills 0

DRIVE 1

Setup: The Cowboys got the ball at their own 20-yard line after a touchback on the opening kickoff.

Drive: The Cowboys relied heavily upon running back Darren McFadden but Moore was responsible for the first downs. Moore hit Brice Butler for 3 yards on third-and-3 and fired to Butler again down the right sideline for 27 yards on third-and-6. He also drew the Bills offside on second-and-5, using the opportunity to take a shot down the field that missed. But on second-and-9 at the Bills 28, Moore and Butler appeared to miscommunicate on a route. Butler got behind the defense but Moore threw to the corner while Butler continued to run straight ahead. Moore threw the ball away under pressure on third-and-9.

Result: Field goal, 46 yards, by Dan Bailey

Moore’s current stats: 2-for-4, 30 yards

Score: Cowboys 3, Bills 0

You can follow tweets from me and Cowboys writers in the Cover It Live file below.

Live Blog Kellen Moore vs. the Bills
 

Pregame:

Former Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore makes his first NFL start Sunday at the Buffalo Bills (11 a.m., Fox, Channel 9 in Boise). Moore came off the bench to make his NFL debut last week against the Jets, finishing 15-for-25 for 158 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions.

Moore played extensively against the Bills in the preseason the past four years, all with the Detroit Lions. His totals in those games: 60-for-98, 611 yards, five touchdowns and one interception (91.84 rating).

Moore was 50-3 as the Boise State starting quarterback from 2008 to 2011. He holds the FBS record for wins by a quarterback but was undrafted because of his size (6-foot, 200 pounds) and lack of high-end physical tools. He is the first former Bronco to play quarterback in an NFL regular-season game. He was the Lions’ third-string quarterback from 2012 to 2014 and joined the Cowboys this year when the Lions cut him.

Moore will be without star wide receiver Dez Bryant, who has foot and ankle injuries.

I’ll be blogging and tweeting about Moore’s performance throughout the game (watching on TV). I’ll post series-by-series recaps of the Cowboys offense here.

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