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Broncos 45, Cardinals 10: Denver kicked Arizona’s ass on Thursday Night Football

The Denver Broncos are on the verge of big changes that only winning can stop. Coincidentally, the Arizona Cardinals are in the same boat.

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NFL: Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Von Miller promised an ass kicking and the Denver Broncos delivered in a 45-10 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football.

The Broncos moved to 3-4 with a critical AFC West showdown on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs next week. They’ll need to bring the same kind of game there as they did in this one in Arizona.

First Quarter

The Broncos win the opening coin toss and elect to defer to put their defense on the field first against the Cardinals.

After a poor return, the Cardinals were setup with poor field position at their own 17. David Johnson took the first carry for no gain on first down. From an empty set, Josh Rosen didn’t like what he saw and called a timeout.

Rosen came out of the timeout and threw on second down, but Derek Wolfe tipped the pass that was intercepted by Todd Davis who returned it 20-yards for the touchdown.

Broncos 7, Cardinals 0.

The Cardinals quickly went three and out to give the ball right back to the Broncos with good field position.

Case Keenum handed off to Royce Freeman on first down for a couple of yards. Freeman took a second straight hand off for a couple of more yards to set up a third and six. Keenum was flushed out of the pocket on third down and found Demaryius Thomas open over the middle for the first down.

Thomas got the ball again on the next play for a quick eight yard catch and run. Then an inside hand off to Phillip Lindsay was turned into 22-yard gain and another first down.

After an offsides penalty, the Broncos broke out some trickery with an end around to Emmanuel Sanders who stopped and threw it deep to Courtland Sutton for a 28-yard touchdown pass to open the game up for Denver.

Broncos 14, Cardinals 0.

The Cardinals next drive was helped along by the referees on a Domata Peko penalty that resulted in 15 more yards. Peko didn’t even touch Larry Fitzgerald, but he dove near him, so that was enough.

A seven yard pass by Rosen and a big run by Johnson put the Cardinals just outside the Broncos 30-yard line midway through the first quarter.

After an incomplete pass, Rosen went to shotgun on second down handing off to Johnson on a delay for a six-yard gain. Rosen looked to the end zone for Chad Williams, but had the pass broken up by Bradley Roby to force the field goal attempt.

Broncos 14, Cardinals 3.

On the Broncos next drive, a short run on first down was followed by a Keenum pass into the flat to Sanders that went for five yards. Then on third and two, Keenum tossed it outside on a screen pass to Thomas who was blown up as soon as he made the reception for no gain and a punt.

Johnson was stuffed for a loss on first down, but Fitzgeral somehow made a catch with Justin Simmons all over him for 10-yards. On third and one, Rosen hit Chris Harris Jr. right in the gut for the interception that would be promptly returned for a touchdown.

Broncos 21, Cardinals 3.

The quarter ended with a three and out forced by the Broncos, with Rosen being sacked and frustrated.

Second Quarter

The Cardinals will punt to the Broncos to start the second quarter. On the first play from scrimmage, Case Keenum used play-action to find Sanders wide open down the field for the 64-yard touchdown pass. The rout is on for Denver.

Broncos 28, Cardinals 3.

With the Broncos defense having a rookie quarterback right where they want them at this point, the Orange Rush was on.

The Cardinals did nothing on their next drive and on the ensuing punt fell right into the ankle of DaeSean Hamilton who went down. The penalty gave the Broncos the ball at their own 21-yard line.

After a short two-yard run by Lindsay, Keenum made a poor throw to Sutton who was open for the incompletion. On third and eight, Keenum had no where to go with the football and was forced to throw it away.

Rosen continued to be read by the Broncos secondary like an open book with his first two passes broken up by Harris and then Roby. Then on third and 15, Shaquil Barrett burst through the middle to throw Rosen to the first for the sack.

After an incompletion on first down, Keenum handed off to Lindsay who bounced it inside then outside for a 10-yard gain.

After a three-yard gain on the next play, Freeman got the ball again for the first time in a good while and it went for two-yards. On third and five, Keenum was immediately pressured by the blitz and was forced to throw the ball away.

Rosen completed his first pass for five yards, but Von Miller crashed the edge and Shelby Harris batted the pass at the line. Then on third down, a Johnson run up the middle goes for three yards and a punt.

With great field position, had Sutton wide open down the field, but an underthrown ball was easily broken up by the trailing cornerback. On second down, Keenum went back to the air again and found Thomas outside at the sticks for the first down.

Freeman looked like he was going to be stuffed for a big loss on first down, but bounced off a tackle tho the outside to gain four-yards. Keenum hung in on the next play taking a huge hit to deliver a pass to Matt LaCosse over the middle for a 12-yard gain and another first down.

A few plays later, the Broncos had a first down at the Cardinals 32-yard line where Freeman made a nifty run inside for four-yards. On second down, Keenum handed off to Freeman again who had no blockers and was stuffed for no gain.

On third and five, Keenum faced the blitz up the middle again and barely got the ball off to Lindsay who turned it up field for a seven-yard gain and a first down just outside the red zone.

From an empty set, Keenum was indecisive and threw it away as Hassan Reddick was in his face. Keenum then took the sack on the second down with just a minute left in the first half. A perfect route by Thomas on third down resulted in a first down reception at the 10-yard line.

Jeff Heuerman caught the ball in the end zone, but was called for offensive pass interference despite the defender actually slipping on the play instead. From first and goal from the 20, Keenum found Sanders underneath who broke a tackle for a 13-yard gain to the Cardinals seven yard line.

Keenum went up high for Sutton who was interfered with and the penalty was actually called to setup a first and goal for the Broncos.

Freeman would punch it in from one-yard out on the next play to put the Broncos up huge heading into the halftime.

Broncos 35, Cardinals 3.

Third Quarter

Since the Broncos deferred when they won the coin toss, they will receive the ball first to start the second half leading 35-3.

Freeman should have been tackled before he even got the ball on the first drive, but made some incredible jukes to gain nine-yards on second down.

Then Freeman powered his way through two would-be tacklers for a two-yard gain and a first down.

Keenum, on first down, lobbed up a very poor throw to Patrick Peterson for the interception.

After several quick completions, Rosen moved the Cardinals down the field just outside the Broncos 25-yard line. Todd Davis got in Johnson’s face on first down for no gain, then on second down Rosen looked for a receiver outside down the field that was nearly intercepted by Roby.

On third and 10, Rosen was left open to run the ball after dodging pressure and ran for the first down inside the red zone. Derek Wolfe was down on the field after the play, but he would ultimately be able to leave under his own power.

Rosen’s next pass was errant as he had multiple defenders pushing him around in the pocket on first down. Todd Davis stuffed Johnson at the line for no gain, but a defensive holding call on the Broncos gave the Cardinals an automatic first down.

After a short run by Johnson, Rosen tried to throw a fade to Fitzgerald, but Harris had perfect position and nearly intercepted the ball in the back of the end zone. Then on third and goal, Rosen hit Fitzgerald on a quick slant for the touchdown pass.

Broncos 35, Cardinals 10.

Lindsay returned the kickoff to the 21-yard line to set the Broncos up on their next drive.

Lindsay then took the handoff outside for a huge gain, but a holding call on Andy Janovich brought it all the way back. Freeman gained five-yards on the next play to get some of those yards back. Another Freeman carry went for a yard to force a third and 14 for Keenum and the offense.

From the I-formation, Keenum handed off to Lindsay who broke a tackle to gain eight-yards to bring the punting unit out. The punt was not a good one.

On the Cardinals first play, Von Miller launched into Rosen forcing a fumble that was recovered by Brandon Marshall inside the Cardinals 20-yard line.

After review, the referees decided it was an incomplete pass - negating both the fumble and the sack. A short swing pass outside gained six yards, then on third down Rosen was sacked and stripped by Miller again and this time it stood with DeMarcus Walker recovering the ball.

Sanders takes an end around on the Broncos first play down to the 28-yard line for a first down, then Lindsay was unable to find a crease for no gain on the next play.

Lindsay broke all of the tackles on the very next hand-off for a 28-yard touchdown run to put the game away for Denver.

Broncos 42, Cardinals 10.

The quarter ends with both teams trading possessions in punts.

Fourth Quarter

The Broncos run defense continued to be stout stuffing Johnson on first down, then a quick toss outside was met immediately by Roby for a six-yard gain. On third and three, Rosen hit Johnson in the flat for a three-yard gain and a first down.

With the Broncos defense playing soft, they began giving up the quick short throws and Rosen was making them as they quickly moved down to the Broncos 39-yard line before he was about to be sacked by Von Miller.

Somehow Rosen chucked the ball as he was going down to the ground. The call was an incomplete pass. Rosen, on second down, was walloped as he threw the ball up to the end zone right into the arms of Roby for the interception.

Lindsay ran twice for negative three yards, then on third and 13 he got those yards back on a 10-yard run. Broncos would have to punt.

Von Miller continued kicking Rosen’s ass with yet another strip-sack and almost housed it had he not bobbled possession, but was able to recover it at the Cardinals 12-yard line.

After two runs for losses by Lindsay and a Keenum sack, the Brandon McManus booted his first field goal through the uprights.

Broncos 45, Cardinals 10.

The Orange Rush teed off on Rosen with Bradley Chubb getting his first strip/sack that the Cardinals recovered, but in the prevent defense Rose was able to move the ball a little up until then.

On third and 21, Rosen hit a short pass over the middle for a short gain. Then on fourth and 16, Chubb sacked Rosen to end the game.


The Broncos have deactivated quarterback Kevin Hogan, cornerback Adam Jones, safety Dymonte Thomas, linebacker Alexander Johnson, linebacker Shane Ray, guard Ronald Leary, and tackle Jared Veldheer for this game.

While the Cardinals will be without quarterback Sam Bradford, running back T.J. Logan, safety Tre Boston, cornerback Deatrick Nichols, offensive lineman Jeremy Vujnovich, guard Mike Iupati, and defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo.


The Denver Broncos (2-4) are desperate for a win having lost four-straight, but the Arizona Cardinals (1-5) are in worse shape. Both teams have coaching staffs with their backs against the wall.

Vance Joseph is 1-9 on the road in two seasons, but he finally has an angry Von Miller on his side who has vowed the defense will kick Arizona’s ass on Thursday Night Football.

If he is to follow through with his threats, the Broncos defense needs to clean up their issues stopping the run after setting an NFL record giving up 593 rushing yards in the last two games. Add that to Case Keenum’s inability to put points on the board inside the red zone and we have multiple issues a beleaguered coaching staff must correct in the four days between the previous game and this one.

Here is how to watch.

TV Schedule

When: Thursday, October 18, 2018 at 6:20 p.m. Mile High time

Where: State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona

Channel: FOX / NFL Network / Channel 20

Announcers: Joe Buck (play-by-play), Troy Aikman (analyst), with Erin Andrews and Kristina Pink on the sideline

Radio: KOA - 850 AM | 94.1 FM & The Fox - 103.5 FM | Spanish Radio KNVR 1150 AM

Online Streaming

NFL Sunday Ticket

NFL Game Pass


Amazon Prime

Broncos injury report

Player Pos. Injury Monday Tuesday Wednesday Game Status
Player Pos. Injury Monday Tuesday Wednesday Game Status
Adam Jones CB Thigh DNP DNP DNP OUT
Ron Leary G Achilles DNP DNP DNP OUT
Shane Ray OLB Ankle / Wrist DNP DNP DNP OUT
Dymonte Thomas S Chest DNP DNP DNP OUT
Jared Veldheer T Knee DNP DNP DNP OUT
Todd Davis ILB Shoulder FULL FULL FULL
Case Keenum QB Forearm (right) FULL FULL FULL
Brandon Marshall ILB Knee FULL FULL FULL
Brian Parker TE Neck FULL FULL FULL
Darian Stewart S Neck / Knee FULL FULL FULL

Cardinals injury report

Player Pos. Injury Monday Tuesday Wednesday Game Status
Player Pos. Injury Monday Tuesday Wednesday Game Status
Tre Boston S Shoulder / Ribs DNP DNP DNP OUT
Mike Iupati G Back DNP DNP DNP OUT
Jeremy Vujnovich G Hamstring DNP DNP DNP OUT
Jermaine Gresham TE Achilles LIMITED LIMITED FULL
Andre Smith T Hamstring LIMITED FULL FULL


The Broncos were surprising 2.5-point favorites to start the week, but that line has steadily fallen through the early part of the week to just a 1.5-point advantage for a team that is just 1-9 on the road since the beginning of the 2017 season. If I were a betting man, I’d probably lean towards the Cardinals in this one.

Matchup History

After opening up with a tie in their first meeting back in the early 1970s, the Broncos dominated the Cardinals. Their lone loss came during the end of the Josh McDaniels era, which could be ironic if the Broncos drop their second game this week as Vance Joseph is quickly surpassing McDaniels as the worst head coaching hire Denver has made in decades.

MHR Radio

Ian St. Clair and Adam Malnati, in their latest MHR Radio podcast, talked about how motivated Von Miller seemed this week to get a win and whether or not that will translate on the field against the Arizona Cardinals.

Social Media Information

MHR Facebook Page: Mile High Report: A Denver Broncos Blog

MHR Twitter: Follow @MileHighReport

MHR Instagram: Follow @MileHighReport

Denver Broncos Fan Group: Denver Broncos Football

Broncos Regular Season Schedule 2018

Wk Date Opponent Time (MT) TV
Wk Date Opponent Time (MT) TV
1 Sep 9 vs Seattle Seahawks W 27-24 FOX
2 Sep 16 vs Oakland Raiders W 20-19 CBS
3 Sep 23 at Baltimore Ravens L 27-14 CBS
4 Oct 1 vs Kansas City Chiefs (MNF) L 27-23 ESPN
5 Oct. 7 at New York Jets L 34-16 CBS
6 Oct 14 vs Los Angeles Rams L 23-20 FOX
7 Oct 18 at Arizona Cardinals (TNF) W 45-10 FOX
8 Oct 28 at Kansas City Chiefs L 30-23 CBS
9 Nov 4 vs Houston Texans L 19-17 CBS
10 Nov 11 BYE
11 Nov 18 at Los Angeles Chargers W 23-22 CBS
12 Nov 25 vs Pittsburgh Steelers W 24-17 CBS
13 Dec 2 at Cincinnati Bengals W 24-10 CBS
14 Dec 9 at San Francisco 49ers L 20-14 CBS
15 Dec 15 vs Cleveland Browns L 17-16 NFLN
16 Dec 24 at Oakland Raiders (MNF) L 27-14 ESPN
17 Dec 30 vs Los Angeles Chargers 2:25 PM CBS