COIN TOSS: Wesley Woodyard, Champ Bailey, Daniel Graham and Chris Kuper represented the Broncos at midfield for the coin toss. The Broncos have called tails, and it is tails. The Broncos will receive to start the game.
Q1 15:00: Eric Decker stepped back to receive the opening kickoff for the Broncos. The rookie got the corner and returned Jay Feely’s kick deep into Arizona territory before being pushed out of bounds. However, there was holding on Cassius Vaughn. The Broncos will start at their own 11-yard line instead.
Q1 14:59: The Broncos starting offense took the field. The offensive line consisted of Ryan Clady, Zane Beadles, J.D. Walton, Chris Kuper and Ryan Harris with Kyle Orton under center. Knowshon Moreno was in the backfield with Jabar Gaffney and Brandon at wide receiver and Daniel Graham and Richard Quinn as the tight ends. On the first play from scrimmage, Knowshon Moreno took the ball off the left side for a few yards.
Q1 13:00: After a third down conversion to Brandon Lloyd kept the Broncos opening possesion alive, Kyle Orton hit Jabar Gaffney for a 20-yard gain and Eddie Royal for 14 more yards into Arizona territory. On the ensuing first down, Orton continued his strong start with an 18-yard pass to Brandon Lloyd. On first down from the Arizona 19-yard line, Orton tossed a short pass to Eddie Royal for a 4-yard gain. After an incompletion looking for Lloyd near the goal line, the Broncos quarterback took a shot gun snap, stood in the pocket but couldn’t find Gaffney over the middle. On fourth-and-6, Steven Hauschka stepped in to try his first field goal as a Bronco. The 32-yard kick glanced off the left upright and deflected through to give Denver an early lead. The drive was 11-plays, 73-yards in all.
BRONCOS 3, CARDINALS 0
Q1 10:36: Larod Stevens-Howling took Hauschka’s ensuing kickoff and returned it 33 yards to the Cardinals 39-yard line. That’s where Arizona’s offense will take over for the first time.
Q1 10:26: For the defense, Kevin Vickerson, Jamal Williams and Justin Bannan started along the line. Jason Hunter, Robert Ayers, Mario Haggan and D.J. Williams were the linebackers. The secondary consisted of Champ Bailey, David Bruton, Renaldo Hill and Andre’ Goodman, who returns to the starting lineup for the first time since Oct. 31 in London. On first down, Tim Hightower got the carry and picked up a yard before being dropped by Jason Hunter. On second down, John Skelton hit Larry Fitzgerald with a short pass. The receiver was quickly hit by Syd’Quan Thompson causing a fumble. The ball bounced backward where Kyle McCarthy fell on it for the turnover. If the play stands, the Broncos will take over at the Arizona 30-yard line, but Arizona Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt has challenged the play.
Q1 9:44: The play has been overturned. Fitzgerald had not secured the catch before Thompson knocked the ball loose. It sets up a third-and-9 for the Cardinals. On the ensuing play, running back Jason Wright dropped Skelton’s screen pass, and Arizona will punt. Ben Graham stepped on and booted a 35-yard kick out of bounds at the Denver 25-yard line. That’s where the Broncos will start their second drive.
Q1 9:37: On first down, Moreno followed Daniel Coats through the hole for a 3-yard gain. Orton’s second down pass for Royal was knocked away by Arizona’s Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and his third down attempt sailed over Lloyd’s head, bringing on the punting unit. Britton Colquitt hit a 59-yard punt that Andre Roberts returned 25 yards before being dropped by David Veikune at the Cardinals 38-yard line.
Q1 8:39: Skelton began Arizona’s second offensive drive with a handoff to Hightower. The running back got no gain as Jamal Williams and Jason Hunter brought him down. Skelton looked for Steve Breaston on second down, but Andre’ Goodman was in position to knock the pass away. On third down, the rookie quarterback took a hit as he released a pass deep for Breaston. This time the pass made it over Goodman’s hands, but the wide receiver couldn’t hold on. Graham came on for his second punt and hit a 46-yarder that Royal returned to the Broncos 26-yard line.
Q1 7:36: Moreno began the drive with a run to the right side for a 7-yard gain. Before the second play of the drive, the Broncos used their first time out of the game.
Q1 7:05: After the timeout, Moreno picked up 7 more yards and a first down. The running back picked up two more yards on the next play. On the next play, Orton gave a playaction fake and looked deep down the middle for Royal. Rashad Johnson nearly intercepted the pass. Before the third-and-8 play, the Broncos used their second timeout.
Q1 5:48: Orton’s third down pass for Royal was picked off by Arizona’s Michael Adams. The cornerback returned the pick 37 yards to the Denver 23-yard line.
Q1 5:32: Beanie Wells got his first carry of the day, picking up 5 yards on first down. On the next play, Skelton’s pass for Early Doucet sailed high with Thompson on the coverage. The quarterback’s third-down pass was behind Jim Dray for another incompletion, bringing Jay Feely on to try a 36-yard field goal. Marcus Thomas brought pressure, but the kick sailed good to tie the game.
BRONCOS 3, CARDINALS 3
Q1 4:35: Eric Decker took the kickoff near his own goal line and found a seam, returning it 42 yards to the Broncos 44-yard line. On first down, Moreno picked up 3 yards before he was crushed by Adrian Wilson. He ran it again on second down and picked up 4 yards. On third-and-3, Royal took a pitch from Orton running left. The receiver lost control of the ball for a fumble and the Cardinals recovered at the Broncos 41-yard line.
Q1 3:14: On first down, Skelton looked deep for Doucet but couldn’t connect. Perrish Cox was in on the coverage. Wells got the carry on second down, picking up 2 before D.J. Williams took him down. On third down, Skelton hit Breaston for his first completion of the day, but he picked up just 2 yards — not enough for the first down. Graham came on to punt.
Q1 1:43: The 33-yard punt bounced backwards inside the 5-yard line where Daryl Washington downed it. The Broncos will take over at their own 4-yard line. To start the drive, Moreno got the hand off and picked up 4 yards. He got it again on second down, driving the pile out to the 12-yard line. On third down, Orton was sacked by Clark Haggans back at the 2-yard line. Colquitt will punt out of his own end zone to start the second quarter.
Q2 15:00: Colquitt’s punt drove Roberts back to his own 45-yard line. He returned it into Broncos territory at the 47-yard line. There was initially a flag for illegal block in the back, but the officials waived it off.
Q2 14:50: After a short run by Hightower, Skelton hit Stephen Spach for 9 yards and a first down. On the ensuing play, Breaston took a flip from Hightower on a reverse and picked up 17 yards to the Denver 19-yard line. Hightower then got the carry. He lost a yard as David Bruton drove him out of bounds. On second down, Skelton’s pass for Breaston fell incomplete. Before the third down play, Arizona used its first timeout.
Q2 12:13: Skelton hit Roberts for a 5-yard gain on third down. After the play, Arizona picked up an unnecessary roughness personal foul. The penalty means Feely’s attempt was from 48 yards away. The veteran kicker still managed to hit it and give the Cardinals their first lead of the game. It was a 7-play, 17-yard drive after the Royal fumble.
CARDINALS 6, BRONCOS 3
Q2 11:50: Decker took the kick in his own end zone and returned it to his own 25-yard line. After turnovers on its last two plays, that’s where the Broncos’ offense will take over — after a timeout by the Cardinals. The home team used its second timeout before the next play.
Q2 11:44: On first down, Orton’s pass bounced in front of Jabar Gaffney. Moreno took the second down hand off off the right side for a 12-yard gain and a first down. Brandon Lloyd drew an illegal contact penalty on a deep pass on the next play. With another first down, Orton handed off to Moreno for a 1-yard gain. The quarterback found Decker on the next play. The rookie made a few defenders miss, but as he was going down the ball came loose. Arizona fell on the loose ball for the Broncos’ third turnover of the game. That is if the play stands. Interim Head Coach Eric Studesville has thrown the challenge flag.
Q2 10:24: The ruling on the field stands. The Cardinals take over at their own 41-yard line. It was an 8-yard completion before the fumble.
Q2 10:23: On first down, Skelton hit Fitzgerald for an 11-yard gain. The wide receiver became the franchise’s all-time leader in pass receptions on the play. He celebrated by catching a 4-yard pass on the next play. On second down, Fitzgerald was flagged for holding as he tried to free himself from Champ Bailey to catch a pass. It is now second-and-16.
Q2 8:53: Skelton hit Doucet for a 13-yard gain on second down, but his third down pass fell incomplete. That brought on the punt team. Eddie Royal fair caught the punt at his own 8-yard line.
INJURY UPDATE Kevin Alexander has an ankle injury. His return is questionable.
Q2 7:42: Moreno took a hand off 7 yards and then picked up 7 yards on a short pass to start the drive. Orton followed by hitting Gaffney for 11 yards and another first down. Lance Ball picked up 3 yards on a first-down carry. On second down, Orton’s pass sailed high and was picked by Kerry Rhodes. That is the Broncos fourth turnover of the half. Rhodes returned it all the way to the Broncos 24-yard line before Ryan Clady tackled him.
Q2 5:55: On first down, Doucet couldn’t stay in bounds while making a catch, but Whisenhunt will challenge. If it was a catch, it would be about an 11-yard gain.
Q2 5:54: The call on the field is reversed. It’s a good catch for Doucet at the Broncos 13-yard line. On the ensuing first down, Wells picked up 6 yards. His second down run picked 2 yards before Kevin Vickerson brought him down. On third down, Skelton scrambled away from Jason Hunter but couldn’t hit Hightower near the goal line. Feely will come on to try his third field goal. It’s a fake and Feely runs it in for a 5-yard touchdown. It’s his first career touchdown, and he adds the extra point to put Arizona up by double digits.
CARDINALS 13, BRONCOS 3
Q2 4:02: Decker took the ensuing kickoff out to his 20-yard line before he was tripped up by Stephens-Howling. On first down, Moreno got no gain on the ground. Moreno gain 3 on a catch, setting up third down. Orton’s third-down pass fell incomplete, but Eddie Royal drew a pass interference penalty. It’s an automatic first down. After an incompletion, Correll Buckhalter gained a yard on a screen pass. An illegal formation penalty was declined. On third down, Buckhalter dropped a pass over the middle. Colquitt will punt after the two-minute warning.
Q2 2:00: Colquitt’s punt drove Roberts inside his own 10-yard line. It was a 58-yard boot. The returner brought it out to his own 26-yard line before Bruton dragged him down.
Q2 1:39: On first down, Skelton completed a short pass, but Jason Hunter was offside. After the 5-yard penalty, Skelton threw incomplete.
Q2 1:33: After an incompletion, Hightower picked up a first down on the ground with an 11-yard run. Then Skelton hit Fitzgerald for another first down. After a fumbled snap wasted a down and kept the clock moving, the next snap didn’t reach the rookie either. On third down, Jason Wright took a screen pass 7 yards. Jay Feely came on and knocked in a 55-yard field goal. Not a bad day for the kicker with a rushing touchdown and a career-long tying field goal.
CARDINALS 16, BRONCOS 3
Q2 0:02: The half ends with Perrish Cox returning the ball to the Denver 45-yard line. There were offsetting personal fouls on the play, and Kyle McCarthy remains down as his teammates head to the locker room.
Continue to follow the game in the upcoming second half blog.