The Arizona Cardinals begin picking up some momentum after that field goal miss from Brandon McManus at the end of the first quarter. The Denver Broncos got back into their defensive groove eventually and forced a Matt Prater 45-yard field goal that tied things up.
Broncos 3, Cardinals 3.
With the guard position completely decimated, the Cardinals defense suddenly began to look elite. They blew up an interior run on first down, then JJ Watt sacked Brett Rypien a second time. The punting unit would come out in three short plays for the Broncos on that drive.
Denver’s defense got in on the sack part on the Cardinals next drive forcing them to punt it back to the Broncos’ offense fairly quickly. During that drive, the Broncos also officially ruled out Quinn Meinerz who was poked in the eye during the first quarter.
After a few more traded punts, Montrell Washington nearly blew it on special teams with a muffed punt. He was able to recover it, but an illegal block in the back pushed the Broncos back to their own four yard line with just under four minutes to go in the half.
Latavius Murray broke loose with a 21-yard run on first down, which was the biggest play in yardage of the game up to that point. Nothing would come from that drive either, however, as Rypien would take his fifth sack of the half on that drive... and another punt.
Last five drives in Broncos-Cardinals.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) December 18, 2022
DEN: 3 plays, -5 yards, punt
AZ: 3 plays, 3 yards, punt
DEN: 3 plays, 2 yards, punt
AZ: 3 plays, 9 yards, punt
DEN: 4 plays, 28 yards, punt
On the Cardinals second to last possession of the first half, the Broncos got another sack and forced another punt. With a 1:22 and a timeout remaining, the Broncos hoped to get a late offensive drive going before halftime.
LOL. They did nothing on offense with that possession. In fact, Rypien would get sacked and stripped for a sixth sack of the half.
The Cardinals got the ball back at midfield and turned it into a halftime lead with a long field goal from Matt Prater .
Cardinals 6, Broncos 3.