The Denver Broncos played the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night, Oct. 18, for an easy win of 45-10. This was the second largest score deficit in Broncos history with the other against the 1989 Cardinals with a score of 37-0. The score at halftime was an embarrassing 35-3, stealing almost all chances of the Cardinals coming out as victorious.
The game started out with a lot of energy. The Cardinals received the ball at their 17-yard line and almost immediately gave it away. On the second down, rookie quarterback Josh Rosen dropped back to pass, only to have his throw intercepted at the 20-yard line by Broncos’ linebacker Todd Davis. Davis carried the ball to the endzone to put the Broncos on the board less than one minute into the game.
The Cardinals tried to rally after the mistake but were unable to get a single first down on their following drive. They punted the ball back to the Broncos, who worked to only increase the deficit. This work payed off just a few downs later when the Broncos executed a trick play and had wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders throw a 28-yard pass into the endzone to fellow wide receiver Courtland Sutton for a touchdown. After another successful extra point by kicker Brandon McManus, the Broncos were up 14-0 just halfway into the first quarter.
The Cardinals didn’t give up, and with some hard work over four first downs, they were able to get within field goal range. This allowed them to get on the board for a score of 14-3. Arizona had another chance when the Broncos were forced to punt on their next position, but the team neglected to capitalize and instead the Broncos intercepted another pass by Rosen. Chris Harris Jr. intercepted the pass 53 yards from the Cardinals’ end zone and ran it all the way for the Broncos second defensive touchdown of the quarter.
The Cardinals offense, deflated after their inability to muster anything more than a field goal on three drives, sputtered to a halt and was unable to score for the rest of the quarter. Unlike their opponent, the Broncos kept lighting up the scoreboard, scoring two more touchdowns before halftime, the first of which came off an out route to Sanders in the corner of the end zone off a strong pass by Broncos’ quarterback Case Keenum. The Cardinals’ defense tightened up, forcing the Broncos to make a 15-play, 76-yard drive. Finally, with 21 seconds remaining in the half and 1 yard in the way of a touchdown, running back Royce Freeman pushed through to score. The half ended almost immediately after, with the Broncos clearly on top.
In the second half, the Cardinals’ offense once again found itself unable to move the ball, but this time the Broncos were unable to capitalize as they had in the first half, scoring just ten points through the final two quarters of play. The half again started with an interception, but this time it was Cardinals’ cornerback Patrick Peterson intercepting Keenum.
The next three possessions from the Cardinals were rough, with an interception and two fumbles. During this time the Broncos scored another touchdown. The next few possessions saw little action with all hope for a Cardinals victory being lost. The Broncos were able to sneak in a field goal, ending the game with a score of 45-10. In a potentially lost season, Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks will have to go back to the drawing board to revamp his offense, and to capitalize on the last year of future hall-of-famer Larry Fitzgerald’s career.