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Broncos vs Cardinals: Blast from the past

Looking back at the best & worst games played against 2014 opponents.

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Doug Pensinger

This is the next in a series of short articles which will hold up up what I see as Denver's best (and worst) game against each of the Broncos' 2014 opponents. Feel free to disagree with my choices and share your own views in the comments section. Let's lift up Denver's great (and "bummer") moments to keep the history, traditions and rivalries stoked. It should be noted that in many cases the choice was made based upon the final margin of victory (or defeat).

Denver vs the Arizona Cardinals

Best game: December 16, 1989
Score: Denver 37, Phoenix 0

What makes this game great: This was a game of total domination and it came on the road in Phoenix. The Broncos compiled 28 first downs to the Cardinals' 7. Denver outgained Phoenix 475 yards (204 on the ground, 271 through the air) to 101 yards (22 on the ground, 79 through the air). The Broncos averaged 5.7 yards per play to the Cardinals' 2.0. Denver's defense logged 6 sacks and 3 takeaways to Phoenix's 2 sacks and 2 takeaways. The Broncos scored in multiple ways: Elway threw for two touchdowns, RB Bobby Humphrey passed for a touchdown, LB Karl Mecklenburg returned a fumble for a touchdown and David Treadwell kicked three field goals. The Broncos defense stood strong, never allowing the Cardinals any closer to the Denver goal line than the Denver 31-yard line -- where a promising Phoenix drive was cut short when Simon Fletcher sacked Cardinals QB Gary Hogeboom who fumbled the ball away.

Worst Game: December 12, 2010
Score: Arizona 43, Denver 13

What makes this game horrible: This was the first game played after the firing of Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels. Denver went on the road to take on the Arizona Cardinals. The team was lead by interim head coach Eric Studesville. It would also prove to be the final start for Broncos QB Kyle Orton. A casual perusal of the statistics might give the erroneous impression that the Broncos did not do poorly in this game. They had 288 combined yards to Arizona's 357, not a necessarily horrific margin. Denver had 20 first downs to Arizona's 21. The defense didn't appear to do too badly: Arizona had 15 drives: five ended in punts, one in a fumble and one in a missed field goal. Of the eight scoring drives, the Broncos held the Cardinals to field goals on five of them. What killed the Broncos in this game were turnovers. Denver committed six of them: three interceptions by Orton and three fumbles (one each by Orton, Eddie Royal and Eric Decker). Interestingly enough, the fumbles by Royal and Decker did not cost their team. Orton's four turnovers however became 20 points (7 of which were the result of a pick-6 on his final interception).

The Broncos go into this game with a 7-1-1 record against the Cardinals, including a 3-1-1 record in Phoenix. Here's hoping they push it to a 4-1-1 road record against the Cardinals.

Go Broncos.


Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a $250,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 5's NFL games. It's only $10 to join and first place wins $25,000.  Here's the link.