It may have been a record setting 103 degrees at kickoff, but the Denver Broncos first quarter performance against the Arizona Cardinals resembled something out of the ice age.
Fortunately, their second quarter performance warmed things up a bit.
After accumulating a paltry nine offensive yards in the first fifteen minutes, and falling behind by a score of 10-0, the Broncos caught fire and exploded for 17 second quarter points to take a seven point advantage heading into the locker room.
Leading the charge was kicker Jason Elam, who connected for three field goals in the quarter, form 49, 41 and 35 yards respectively. Brian Griese added his touch with less than one minute left in the half, as he found wide receiver Rod Smith for the first of two touchdown catches.
As the Broncos continued to heat up, Arizona continued to cool off. Denver's' defense successfully held the Cardinals scoreless through the second and third quarters, limiting Jake Plummer and company to just five first downs and seventy-seven offensive yards through the two periods.
A sharp contrast to the 275-yards the Broncos unleashed, and a complete drop off of the 151-yards Arizona ammased during the first quarter.
"This (Arizona) is a very good football team," said Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan. ""Everything we got today, we earned, and it wasn't very easy. I was pleased that we made the big play when we had to."
The Cardinals opened up the scoring as Plummer led the team on successive scoring drives on Arizona's first two possessions. The first came courtesy of Bill Gramatica, who found the range for a 28-yard field goal. The score topped off an 11-play, 69-yard drive that ate up more than seven minutes off the clock.
The former Arizona State star followed up by leading the Cardinals 80-yards in six plays, culminating with Thomas Jones taking it in from the 1-yard line, and a 10-0 lead.
From that point on, it was all Denver as the Broncos scored seven times throughout the remainder of the game, improving their record to 2-0, and slotting them in a tie for top honors in the AFC West with the San Diego Chargers.
During Denver's torrid scoring frenzy, Brian Giese and wide receiver Rod Smith etched their place in the record books, with Griese connecting on seventeen consecutive passes while Smith hauled in 14 catches for 162-yards.
Smith's fourteen catches leads the list of all time Bronco receivers while Griese's seventeen straight completions come only three shy of the NFL record for consecutive completions.
"I don't think I completed a pass in the first quarter, so I needed to do that to get our team back in the game," said Griese.
"We found a formation where they weren't foing to play Rod on the corner and tried to play him with linebacker in zone coverage. It was kind of like taking candy from a baby."
Denver returns home to face the defending Super Bow Champion Baltimore Ravens this Sunday at Invesco Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:05 MDT.
Broncos roll over Cardinals 38-17
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