Broncos vs. Cardinals: Live Game Grades and Player Analysis
Denver scored 16 points in the third and fourth quarters to erase a 10-0 Arizona lead and down the Cardinals 16-13. Matt Prater hit a 44-yard field goal as time expired to give Denver the win.
Omar Bolden's 103-yard kickoff return for touchdown kept Denver within striking distance but the Cardinals weren't able to keep the Broncos at bay. Arizona allowed three field goals in the fourth quarter to let the Broncos go to 2-2 at the end of the preseason. Arizona went 1-4.
We provided live game grades and analysis throughout the evening. Keep this live report card open and follow along this evening as the Cardinals look to finalize their roster.
Starting Quarterback: Ryan Lindley
Current Game Grade B-
LIndley yielded to Rich Bartel late but showed he can serve as a third quarterback when needed.
LIndley started to falter a little bit and misfire to his receivers.
Lindley threw a touchdown to Michael Floyd but the play was more Floyd as he was able to reel it in between two defenders for a 22-yard touchdown catch on the game's opening score. Lindley wasn't able to pick up on a blitz and took a hard hit early in the second quarter. He has managed to distribute the ball well, hitting six different receivers in the first half.
He looked comfortable in the pocket and was able to convert a pair of third downs. He also had time to throw which is something none of the Cardinal quarterbacks have had all season. Lindley finished the first quarter 5-of-7 for 45 yards. A roughing the passer penalty wiped out an interception in which he underthrew Michael Floyd.
Current Game Grade C+
The Cardinals got one more field goal but needed to find a way to put more touchdowns on the board. Isaiah Williams finished with 121 yards on three catches.
Arizona was able to generate a field goal to take a 10-0 lead.
Floyd made a brilliant 22-yard touchdown catch from Lindley in the opening minute of the second quarter. The offense, however, wasn't able to generate much else.
Beanie Wells carried in the first quarter and looked good attacking defenders and pushing them backwards. Wells carried six times for 30 yards. The offensive line gave Lindley plenty of time to throw and run through his check-downs. Rookie right tackle Bobby Massie was called for a holding penalty to push the Cardinals back to a 3rd -and-12.
Current Game Grade C-
The Cardinals gave up three field goals in the fourth quarter including a 44-yard game winner to Matt Prater as time expired. This looked a lot like season as the Cardinals led the NFL in field goal attempts and field goals allowed. Arizona can't allow its opponents to score three times in the fourth quarter and expect to win many games.
The defense didn't give up any points this quarter, but the yardage started to pile up.
The Cardinals' defense has shut down Caleb Hanie, limiting him to 6-of-9 passing for 53 yards. Knowshon Moreno continues to rack up yards with 57 total yards in the half. Arizona needs to be better at stopping running backs which has been a theme all preseason. Michael Adams made a strong defensive play in the final minute of the first half to take a potential touchdown off the board.
Knowshon Moreno racked up 24 yards in the first two minutes. Moreno dealt with injuries last season but looked okay on the Broncos' first series and was the only offense Denver had. Stewart Bradley picked up a sack on Bronco QB Caleb Hanie to force a punt.
Arizona Special Teams
Current Game Grade C-
The Cardinals didn't get burned this quarter but looked better on coverage.
Arizona special teams got burned when Omar Bolden ran a kickoff back 103 yards for a touchdown. That play came after Arizona went up 10-0 and kept Denver within shouting distance.
Dave Zastudil continues to impress as a punter and hit a 55-yard punt in the second quarter. The punt returners have been a non-factor with each return getting one yard.
Andre Roberts returned a punt one yard. Jay Feely hit the left upright from 40 yards out and the game remained scoreless.
Current Game Grade C-
The Cardinals defense did its usual bend-don't-break routine but allowed Denver three fourth-quarter field goals. The offense also needed to generate more points and coaching let the team down a little bit.
The coaches needed to focus on special teams as we saw kick returns go for long distances against Arizona this preseason and Omar Bolden's 103-yard return for a touchdown was symbolic of the breakdown in special teams.
The coaching staff needs to continue to work on minimizing the opposing running backs. They've done well to get four sacks and pressure on the quarterback tonight but are setting up to get gashed on the ground this season.
Ken Whisenhunt took a puzzling timeout on 3rd and 3 at the Denver 28 with 8:55 left in the first quarter. It was a head-scratcher of a timeout to say the least. The decision to go for it on 4th-and-1 late in the quarter backfired.