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Broncos vs Cardinals: 8 winners, 5 losers from Denver’s 45-10 flogging

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The Broncos snapped their four-game losing streak and enter a mini bye with some much-needed confidence.

Denver Broncos v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

I certainly didn’t see that coming.

Though maybe I should have when Von Miller promised a Thursday Night Football beatdown earlier this week. It was great to see the Denver Broncos respond and give life to Miller’s proclamation, literally, in a 45-10 ass-kicking of the Arizona Cardinals in Phoenix. It was even better to see the Broncos offense show some creativity and get Case Keenum out of the pocket.

But make no mistake about it – the Cardinals are a putrid football team, and that is underselling it. And while Denver looked great, it’s right to question how credible this win really is. Was this just a desert mirage giving us false hope that this team is finding its way out of a football wasteland?

Nevertheless, at least the Broncos (3-4) ended their four-game losing streak and have a bit of confidence on their mini bye before the redux with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Winners

Emmanuel Sanders

We know that Denver’s receiver is a playmaker, we just haven’t seen it with his arm. Kudos to the Broncos offensive coaches for the creativity on his 28-yard touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton. It was the first-career touchdown pass for Sanders, who also had a 64-yard touchdown reception. Sanders finished with six catches for 102 yards and a touchdown, and 1-for-1 passing for 28 yards and a touchdown.

Sanders is the first Denver player since John Elway on Sept. 7, 1986, and the fourth in team history, to finish with a touchdown catch and pass in the same game. Sanders also is the first receiver in Broncos history to have a touchdown via catch, pass and run, and the ninth player overall.

Courtland Sutton

Denver’s rookie continues to impress. Not only did he catch Sanders’ first touchdown pass, he drew another pass interference penalty in the end zone. And had Keenum not underthrown Sutton on the Broncos’ sideline, he would have had another touchdown.

Chris Harris Jr.

Harris got his first pick-six since 2015, and it was the second of the game for Denver’s defense. It doesn’t matter that it was against a rookie quarterback and a terrible offense, the fact the Broncos created turnovers and returned them for touchdowns is a beautiful sight.

Todd Davis

Speaking of pick-sixes, Denver’s middle linebacker had the first of the game for the first touchdown of the game. It was Davis’ first career interception and touchdown. What was even better to see is him make a few tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Given how bad the run defense has been the last two weeks, it was good to see the Broncos do in fact have middle linebackers on the field.

Phillip Lindsay

There really is nothing left to say about this young man. It’s just fun to watch this play out like it is for the Broncos rookie and Colorado boy. What makes it even better is he’s doing it in Terrell Davis’ No. 30. Lindsay’s 28-yard touchdown run was the latest highlight-reel play of his rookie season.

The defense

Not only did the Denver defense create five turnovers and have six sacks, it held the Cardinals to under 100 yards rushing. Coming into the game, I simply wanted the Broncos to keep Arizona under 200.

Von Miller

He not only had two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery, he stepped up as a leader should. For what it’s worth, no player has forced more fumbles (25) than Miller since he entered the NFL in 2011. For the 17th time in his career, he finished with two sacks or more in a game.

The Broncos

Miller put the onus on his team and it responded in a big way. After a do-or-die game, Denver’s players have some confidence heading into their trip to KC.

Losers

DaeSean Hamilton

The reason the Broncos rookie receiver is here is because of his shitty luck. The hope is the injury isn’t as bad as it could be.

Bill Musgrave

Despite the fact his team won by 35 points, Denver’s offensive coordinator just couldn’t help himself. He still found a way to call way more passing plays than he should have. When one speaks of false hope that this win could bring, Musgrave is why.

Case Keenum

I debated on this one, but even against a bad football team the Broncos quarterback still couldn’t play a clean game. Maybe it’s nitpicking, but play a damn clean game. There’s also the underthrow of Sutton I mentioned earlier.

Larry Fitzgerald

The Cardinals receiver is on this list because of the situation. He deserves better than this. My hope is Fitzgerald is traded to a contender before the trade deadline later this month and he’s able to finish his career with a team that can win.

The fans who wanted change

Those who wanted change to happen after this game will have to wait. Whether this win is a confidence builder or false hope, we’ll find out.