Denver has improved to 3-1 with a 41-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals. This knocks the Cardinals down to 3-1 as well. Although the Broncos led just 21-13 at halftime, 17 4th quarter points put the game well out of reach.
Demaryius Thomas had a career day. In fact, he set a franchise record for receiving. His statline of 8 catches for 226 yards and 2 TDs is ridiculous. Thomas was back to his normal form, dominating all over the field. Emmanuel Sanders partnered with Thomas for 7 catches for 101 yards and 2 carries for 8 yards. It is his third straight game with over 100 yards receiving. Julius Thomas added another 6 catches for 66 yards and 2 TDs.
But how will this game be best remembered? Quite simply, by 3 numbers.
Peyton Manning threw his 500th career touchdown on a 7-yard strike to TE Julius Thomas on the opening drive of the game. It is simply another feather in the cap of a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Although Manning threw two INTs, his four TDs (two to each Thomas) more than made up for his mistakes. His 479 yards fell 21 short of breaking another Broncos record (this set by Jake Plummer).
Injuries were a major factor in this game. Arizona QB Drew Stanton, DE Calais Campbell and CB Patrick Peterson all exited the game hurt. For the Broncos, RB Montee Ball went down. However, this actually proved to be a large spark for the run game. Ronnie Hillman showed remarkable burst and vision on his 15 carries en route to 64 yards. Juwan Thompson saw his first NFL action, with 3 carries for 15 yards and a TD. Although Montee Ball and C.J. Anderson have disappointed this season, with the latter inactive, Hillman and Thompson showed fire as the RB tandem. The coaches will have an interesting week ahead of them.
Defensively, the Broncos stood solid. They couldn't force any turnovers, but they got after rookie QB Logan Thomas effectively. For the game, Von Miller had 1.5 sacks (2 QB hits), DeMarcus Ware 1 sack (2 QB hits), and Malik Jackson .5 sacks (2 QB hits). S T.J. Ward also had 2 QB hits. LB Danny Trevathan notched 7 tackles in his return from injury.
Newly entrenched K Brandon McManus had an up and down day, connecting on two FGs, but doinking one in off a goalpost and hooking another wide left.
All in all, it was a good win off the bye week for Denver. They head into a game against the offensively inept New York Jets next Sunday.
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