COIN TOSS: The Broncos and Cardinals are coming out for the coin toss. Spencer Larsen, Brian Dawkins, David Bruton, Elvis Dumervil, Kyle Orton and Willis McGahee are serving as captains for Denver. The Broncos called tails, won and elected to receive.
KICKOFF: After a touchback, the starters led by quarterback Brady Quinn are receivers Matt Willis and Britt Davis; running back Lance Ball; linemen Chris Clark, Stanley Daniels, Manny Ramirez, Herb Taylor and Ross Hochstein; and tight ends Julius Thomas and Virgil Green.
Q1 13:04: After a quick three and out that included two Lance Ball runs and an incompletion for Brady Quinn, the defense takes the field on the Arizona 34-yard line. The starters are defensive linemen Derrick Harvey, Jeremy Jarmon, Ryan McBean and Jason Hunter; linebackers Mike Mohamed, Nate Irving and Lee Robinson; cornerbacks Cassius Vaughn and Perrish Cox; and safeties Quinton Carter and Kyle McCarthy.
Q1 11:19: The first team offense for the Cardinals is in, just as the first-team defense was against the Broncos second-team offense. Running back Beanie Wells picked up a first down on an 11-yard carry to open the drive, but the Broncos defense picked it up, causing the Cardinals to punt. Syd’Quan Thompson fielded the punt at his own 4-yard line and returned it 29 yards up the middle to the 33-yard line.
Q1 11:06: That’s where the offense takes over. After and incomplete pass and a 2-yard run, the Broncos are faced with a third-and-8. Quinn drops back, rolls to his right to avoid pressure and tries to find Willis along the sideline but the coverage is too tight and the pass is incomplete. Britton Colquitt then hits a 39-yard punt to Andre Roberts who is immediately clobbered by Chris Harris. The Cardinals will take over on their own 26-yard line.
Q1 10:17: After one series, the first-team Cardinals offense is already on the sideline as the second-team takes over. LaRod Stephens-Howling takes the first two carries for a net gain of zero yards. Irving tackled Stephens-Howling for the two-yard loss on second down after the running back picked up 2 yards on first down. Before the third-and-10 snap, Arizona is called for a false start, setting up third-and-15 on its 21-yard line. Quarterback Richard Bartel subsequently found Early Doucet for a 16-yard catch and run in the middle of the field to pick up the first down.
Q1 7:46: On first down, Bartel finds Roberts for another 16-yard gain and another first down at the Broncos 47-yard line. Carter then tackles Stephens-Howling for a 1-yard loss and on second down, McBean breaks through the middle and hits Bartel as he throws it away. McBean got in the backfield on the very next play, but Bartel found Chansi Stuckey for a 28-yard completion to the Broncos 19-yard line down the left sideline. Immediately afterwards, Bartel connects with Stephens-Howling over the middle, who puts a spin move on two Broncos defenders and scampers the remaining 11 yards for a touchdown. Jay Feely hits the extra point.
CARDINALS 7, BRONCOS 0
Q1 5:58: Feely kicks off for the Cardinals to Thompson and Cox who are deep for the Broncos. Cox catches it in the end zone for a touchback and a TV timeout.
Q1 5:57: The Broncos take over on their own 20-yard line and immediately Quinn finds Willis along the left side for a 13-yard completion and the team’s first first down. Quinn goes back to Willis on the next play for a quick 6 yards as the receiver was pushed out of bounds. Ball then runs up the middle for 2 yards on second down, but is stopped on the line of scrimmage on third-and-2 to set up a punt. Colquitt’s 59-yard punt hits inside the 10-yard line, but bounces for a touchback as Colquitt’s ball hits the pylon sitting on the front of the end zone for the second time this preseason.
Q1 3:46: The touchback gives the Cardinals possession on their own 20-yard line. Bartel hits Stephen Williams on a slant for a 14-yard completion and first down. Stephens-Howling then tries to run a counter but is tackled by Carter at the line of scrimmage. On second down, Bartel rolls out to his right on a play-action pass and connects with Stephen Williams over the middle for a 14-yard gain. Stephens-Howling again followed up a first-down completion with a run, this time for 4 yards off the right tackle. Mohamed then stopped him for a 1-yard loss. However, on third down, Bartel finds Stuckey wide open over the middle for a 48-yard touchdown as Thompson, his defender, falls down in the middle of the route and has to be helped off the field. Feely hits the extra point and the Cardinals now have a two touchdown lead.
CARDINALS 14, BRONCOS 0
Q1 0:32: Feely’s kickoff hits the bottom of the uprights for a touchback. Quinn and co. take over on their own 20 again. On first down Quinn hands off to Ball, who runs up the middle for a 4-yard gain to bring us to the end of the first quarter. The Broncos will take over on their own 24-yard line when play resumes.
Q2 15:00: Quinn looks for Thomas on second down, but former Broncos Hamza Abdullah breaks up the pass to bring up third-and-6. Quinn takes the snap, rolls out to his right to avoid pressure and throws the ball away. Colquitt kicks a 48-yard punt to Marshay Green who barely has time to catch it before he is lit up by D’Andre Goodwin. Chris Harris was right there as well.
INJURY UPDATE: Thompson has a right strained Achilles and is out. Bruton has a right shoulder bruise and is probable.
Q2 13:06: Arizona goes three-and-out after taking over at its own 40-yard line. Rookie William Powell rushed on the first two downs for 4 yards and no gain, respectively. Jason Hunter was in on both tackles. On third down, Bartel hit Stuckey over the middle for 3 yards but it came up short of the first down and the Cardinals had to punt it away. Dave Zastudil punts it 47 yards and Cox fair catches it at the 10-yard line.
Q2 12:25: Ball started off the drive with a 3-yard carry off left tackle. Quinn then tries to find Davis over the middle, who leaps for it but can’t catch it. However, multiple flags come flying into the vicinity as Abdullah is called for unnecessary roughness. Davis got hit in mid-air as he laid out and is down for a minute before being helped off the field by the Broncos training staff.
Q2 11:47: The penalty gives the Broncos a first down and the ball at their own 28-yard line. Ball get the carry and tries to cut back, but is brought down for a gain of 2 yards. Quinn then tries to find Green running 15 yards down the middle, but overthrows him to bring up third-and-8. On third down, Quinn is hit by Green who comes unblocked through the middle just as he releases the ball. The play is called an incomplete pass on the field, but Arizona is challenging the ruling.
*INJURY UPDATE*: Davis has a head injury and will not return.
Q2 10:58 After review, the call is reversed and ruled a fumble recovered by Arizona. The Cardinals take over on the Broncos 33-yard line and are not charged with a timeout.
Q2 10:50: Stephens-Howling finds running room on the right side for a 9-yard gain on first down, but Hunter gets in the backfield to stone him for a 5-yard loss on second down to bring up third-and-5. Bartel tries to go deep to Williams but Darcel McBath makes a great diving interception, gets up, and runs 33 yards down the sideline to the Broncos 44-yard line.
Q2 9:00: Following the interception, Jeremiah Johnson gets his first carry of the game, up the middle for 3 yards. Quinn then throws to Green, who bobbles it a few times before being hit out-of-bounds for an incompletion. Quinn then looks for David Anderson along the right sideline, but the pass is broken up by Fred Bennett. Colquitt comes out and hits a 44-yard punt which Green wisely fair catches at his own 19-yard line.
Q2 8:27: Arizona comes out with a jumbo set on first down, and Powell picks his way up the middle for a winding 3 yards. Bartel keeps it on the play action on second down, but the pass is a little high and goes through Williams’ hands. Bartel then finds Stuckey running over the middle, who catches it 10-yards downfield and runs another 10 before forced out of bounds. Stuckey is having quite the game, with four catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. Back to the game, Arizona is called for a false start, bringing up first-and-15, after which Bartel connects with Stephen Spach over the middle for a 10-yard pickup to the Broncos 47-yard line. Williams becomes the recipient of Bartel’s pass to the right, which results in an 11-yard gain and another first down. Powell then gets two carries in a row, the first one resulting in a 3-yard gain while Mohamed and Robinson got in the backfield to drop him at the line of scrimmage. Yet, on third-and-7, Bartel finds Spach for a 17-yard completion to the Broncos 23. Nate Irving is down after the play.
Q2 3:52: Safety Brian Dawkins hasn’t played, but he’s still active on the sidelines and comes out onto the field to kneel 10 yards away from where Irving is being attended to by the Broncos medical staff at midfield. Irving is helped off the field as Dawkins walks alongside them.
Q2 3:25 Play resumes with Powell getting the first-down carry and going up the middle for 1-yard. He follows that up with another carry up the middle, this one going for 2 yards. Bartel then looks for Isaiah Williams in the back corner of the end zone, but the pass sails long, bringing up fourth down. Feely comes on for a 37-yard field goal and it’s pure.
CARDINALS 17, BRONCOS 0
Q2 2:07: Feely kicks it off to Cox, who catches it 9 yards deep in the end zone and brings it out. He runs right, but can’t find much room and is tackled at the 15-yard line. We’ve now hit the two-minute warning.
**INJURY UPDATE** Nate Irving has a chest injury and is questionable to return.
Q2 2:00: Quinn takes command of the two-minute offense, and starts it off nicely with a 10-yard pass to Goodwin who steps out of bounds to stop the clock. However, on the next play, Stewart Bradley gets in front of a pass intended for Dante Rosario and runs 27 yards to the Denver 10-yard line.
Q2 1:42: On first-and-goal from the 10, Powell rattles off 4 and 2 yard runs to set up third-and-goal from just outside the 2-yard line. Bowen the drops Powell for a 5-yard loss and Arizona takes its first timeout with two seconds left. Feely comes on for the field goal and connects from 25 yards out to send the game to halftime.
CARDINALS 20, BRONCOS 0:
That concludes the first half blog. Be sure to move over to the second half blog to continue following the action.