First-quarter notes from University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. as the Broncos face the Arizona Cardinals while seeking to snap a four-game skid …
2:03 P.M. MST: Denver calls tails for the game-opening coin toss, but it comes up heads, and Arizona will receive the football to start the game.
2:07 P.M. MST: Denver opens in its base defense as the Cardinals begin the contest in a two wide-receiver set. They go three-wide on the next play, and Karl Paymah enters, lining up opposite Bryant Johnson. On third-and-six, Troy Walters gets the call as the No. 4 receiver, and Ian Gold swats away Matt Leinart’s pass across the middle.
2:08 P.M. MST: With Darrent Williams injured, David Kircus assumes punt-return duties, and uses a quick burst to open the game with a 16-yard return.
2:10 P.M. MST: Base starting offense for the Broncos; Kyle Johnson at fullback and Stephen Alexander at tight end, with every other position going as expected. Tatum Bell gets the call on the game’s first two plays and gains 11 yards on a pair of carries for the opening first down of the afternoon.
2:11 P.M. MST: That was fast. Three minutes in and the Broncos are in front, with Jay Cutler becoming the latest Broncos quarterback to execute the playfake/rollout/deep throw up the middle. Fifty-four yards to Javon Walker, who’d beaten Robert Griffith and David Macklin.
2:15 P.M. MST: “Champ Bailey is the best cornerback in the National Football League.” – Phil Simms No disagreement here.
2:20 P.M. MST: Broncos up 10-0 after the drive stalls. The crowd seems a little sedate, although it could just be because this press box is like the purportedly soundproof booth from “Twenty-One,” and they haven’t given us headphones to connect with the outside world.
2:24 P.M. MST: Ebenezer Ekuban just split a pair of Cardinals to snag the Broncos’ first sack of the game, dropping the Cardinals back to second-and-20 at their 20. A promising first act for the Broncos defense — a sack, a takeaway and two three-and-outs.
2:32 P.M. MST: Great decision by Cutler to bypass the throw and scramble forward, turning a third-and-long into a third-and-2 thanks to a sprint up the middle. Hometown hero Mike Bell takes it from there for four yards and a first down.
2:34 P.M. MST: Rod Smith doing his usual job, blocking Antrel Rolle to spring Walker free for a first down that moves Denver to the Arizona 40. Smith gets the call on the next play for a 5-yard reception.
2:37 P.M. MST: No temerity about getting everyone involved. With first-and-10 from the 24, neither Tatum Bell, Javon Walker nor Rod Smith were on the field; the assignments went to Mike Bell, Brandon Marshall and David Kircus.
2:37 P.M. MST: Nice little jersey tug by Antrel Rolle on Marshall on second-and-5. “Good no-call,” Simms says. Eh … in the words of Ron Burgundy, “Agree to disagree.”
Tags: Arizona Cardinals