Arizona Cardinals vs. Denver Broncos

ARI
2
DEN
30
FINAL
1234T
ARI 20002
DEN 3173730

Game Information
Location: Sports Authority Field at Mile High Denver, Colorado
Attendance: 75,347

DENVER (AP) A slow start didn't rattle Kyle Sloter, and he's hoping it doesn't faze John Elway or Vance Joseph, either.

The undrafted rookie from Northern Colorado shook off two early sacks and a safety to lead Denver on touchdown drives of 98 and 96 yards Thursday night that sparked the Broncos' 30-2 rout of the Arizona Cardinals.

That capped a 4-0 preseason for Joseph, the rookie head coach who was peppered with questions afterward about whether Sloter had done enough to earn a roster spot as Trevor Siemian's backup while Paxton Lynch recovers from a sprained right shoulder.

He was also asked if three-time Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward will be on the team come Saturday.

Joseph wouldn't commit to either one.

On Sloter, he said, "Well, we'll see. Those calls are going to happen tomorrow and Saturday. He's played very well. He had a slow start tonight with the safety and taking a sack backed up, but he came out of it and had three 80-yard scoring drives. He's impressive. He's a young, poised quarterback. He's very intelligent. I've been impressed with Kyle."

As for the rampant speculation the Broncos are ready to move on from Ward, one of the founding members of their "No Fly Zone" secondary, Joseph also demurred.

"Nothing on that," Joseph said. "Again, it's going to be a long weekend of a lot of transactions, I can't speak to that. At the end of the day, we want the best guys for our football team, and if he's one of them, he'll be here."

Ward hustled out of the locker room before the media were allowed in, leaving his teammates to lobby for him to stay in Denver this season.

"I don't want to see T.J. go," said successor-in-waiting Justin Simmons.

Ward missed his fourth game of the preseason while Sloter made his first start and went 15 for 23 for 220 yards and a touchdown.

His 98-yard drive was his best argument to win a roster spot. It came after he was sacked in the end zone on his first series and narrowly avoided an encore in the opposite end zone in the second quarter.

"No matter what happens I had leave - or stay - with my head high," Sloter said.

It looked ominous for Sloter when the Cardinals downed a punt at the Denver 2 following his first two errors. But he connected on consecutive 32-yard passes, one to Jordan Taylor, the other to Anthony Nash, before Stevan Ridley reeled off a 27-yard gain to the 3. Ridley took it in from there to cap an impressive drive that put Denver up 10-2.

Facing third-and-9 from his 12 on Denver's opening series, Sloter double-clutched with linebacker Alex Bazzie bearing down for the sack and safety that put Arizona ahead 2-0 .

Facing the same down and distance in the second quarter, Sloter again held onto the ball for too long and this time was sacked by linebacker Philip Wheeler inches from another safety. Beaten both times was veteran tackle Donald Stephenson, who recently accepted a second pay cut in a bid to stick around.

Sloter directed a 13-play, 96-yard drive in the fourth quarter that ended with a 21-yard TD pass to tight end Steven Scheu in double coverage.

"Well, like I always say for young players, `You get exposure or you get exposed,"' Arizona coach Bruce Arians aid. "We had some exposed tonight. It wasn't what we were hoping for to finish the preseason."

Elway and his personnel department also will evaluate all quarterbacks among the some 1,200 players who will be cut this weekend.

PUNT-OFF: The Cardinals' punting competition kicked into high gear with an abundance of stalled drives by Arizona's offense. And the battle stayed close.

The highlight came when Krishawn Hogan downed Richie Leone's 38-yard punt at the Denver 2 in the first half. Matt Wile's best punt was a 49-yarder to the Denver 8, but he also badly missed on a 53-yard field goal and had a touchback in the first half along with a punt that Kalif Raymond returned from the goal line.

"Lot of pooch punts, so we'll wait and see," Arians said. "No decisions are made tonight."

PICK-SIX: Safety Dymonte Thomas had a 58-yard interception return for a touchdown off Trevor Knight's errant pass. Thomas snared the ball and raced right up the middle for the score that made it 17-2.

WARD'S WORLD: Ward is the biggest name on Denver's roster bubble because he missed the entire preseason after pulling a hamstring, and watched Simmons impress the coaching staff. The Broncos might also have found a bigger, younger version of Ward in undrafted rookie thumper Jamal Carter of Miami.

Linebacker Brandon Marshall tweeted before kickoff: "Letting go of TJ would b a mistake. With all the plays he's made and leadership he's brought. He deserves to at least play out his contract."

Ward is due $4.5 million this season in the final year of his contract and figures to command something similar to the five-year, $60 million deal that strong safety Reshad Jones, 29, got from the Dolphins.

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1st Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Cardinals Broncos
09:26 Alex Bazzie safety 2 0
00:13 Brandon McManus 52 yd FG 2 3

2nd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Cardinals Broncos
02:39 Stevan Ridley 3 yd run (Brandon McManus kick) 2 10
01:54 Dymonte Thomas 58 yd interception return (Brandon McManus kick) 2 17
00:00 Brandon McManus 44 yd FG 2 20

3rd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Cardinals Broncos
05:04 Brandon McManus 25 yd FG 2 23

4th Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Cardinals Broncos
09:13 Steven Scheu 21 yd pass from Kyle Sloter (Brandon McManus kick) 2 30

Team Stats
  Arizona Denver
1st Downs 13 19
Total Yards 213 322
Passing 65 198
Passing Completions/Attempts 7-22 15-23
Yards/Pass 2.8 7.9
Rushing 148 124
Rushing Attempts 38 31
Yards/Rush 3.9 4.0
Turnovers 1 1
Fumbles Lost 0 1
Interceptions Thrown 1 0
Possession 31:34 28:26

Arizona Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Blaine Gabbert 5 10 51 5.1 0 0
Trevor Knight 2 12 19 1.6 0 1

Denver Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Kyle Sloter 15 23 220 9.6 1 0

Arizona Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Elijhaa Penny 17 77 4.5 0 13
James Summers 17 43 2.5 0 10
Trevor Knight 4 25 6.2 0 11
Chad Williams 0 3 0.0 0 3

Denver Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Juwan Thompson 9 56 6.2 0 14
Stevan Ridley 11 51 4.6 1 27
De'Angelo Henderson 6 11 1.8 0 6
Stanley Williams 4 5 1.2 0 4
Kyle Sloter 1 1 1.0 0 1

Arizona Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Jeremy Ross 2 38 19.0 0 26
Carlton Agudosi 2 16 8.0 0 10
Hakeem Valles 2 12 6.0 0 9
Chad Williams 1 4 4.0 0 4

Denver Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Anthony Nash 2 46 23.0 0 32
Marlon Brown 3 43 14.3 0 18
Jordan Taylor 1 32 32.0 0 32
Steven Scheu 2 24 12.0 1 21
Austin Traylor 1 22 22.0 0 22
Hunter Sharp 2 20 10.0 0 12
Kalif Raymond 2 17 8.5 0 12
Jeff Heuerman 1 17 17.0 0 17
Stevan Ridley 1 -1 -1.0 0 -1

Arizona Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Rudy Ford 4 2 0 0
Gump Hayes 3 1 0 0
Ryan Lewis 3 1 0 0
Harlan Miller 3 1 0 0
Scooby Wright III 3 1 0 0
Alex Bazzie 2 2 1 12
Peli Anau 2 1 0 0
Cap Capi 2 0 0 0
Zaviar Gooden 2 0 0 0
Tre'von Johnson 2 1 0 0
Sojourn Shelton 2 1 0 0
Pasoni Tasini 2 0 0 0
Philip Wheeler 1 2 1 10
Ironhead Gallon 1 1 0 0
Ryan Langford 1 1 0 0
David Moala 1 0 0 0
Terence Waugh 1 0 0 0
Aaron Brewer 0 0 0 0
Jarell Carter 0 1 0 0

Denver Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Brendan Langley 4 0 0 0
Shakir Soto 4 3 0 0
DeMarcus Walker 4 3 0 0
Jamal Carter Sr. 3 4 0 0
Orion Stewart 3 4 0 0
Vontarrius Dora 2 2 0 0
Adam Gotsis 2 1 0 0
Ken Ekanem 1 2 1 5
Dante Barnett 1 1 0 0
Shelby Harris 1 1 0 0
Danny Mason 1 1 0 0
Kevin Snyder 1 1 0 0
Dymonte Thomas 1 2 0 0
Zaire Anderson 0 1 0 0
Lorenzo Doss 0 0 0 0
Jerrol Garcia-Williams 0 1 0 0
Quentin Gause 0 2 0 0
Tyrique Jarrett 0 2 0 0
Chris Lewis-Harris 0 2 0 0
Deiontrez Mount 0 3 0 0
Marcus Rios 0 2 0 0
Juwan Thompson 0 0 0 0
Austin Traylor 0 0 0 0

Arizona Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
No interceptions.

Denver Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
Dymonte Thomas 1 58 1

Arizona Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Jeremy Ross 1 35 35.0 0 35

Denver Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
No kick return stats.

Arizona Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Chris Hubert 1 0 0.0 0 0

Denver Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Kalif Raymond 3 11 3.7 0 9

Arizona Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Matt Wile 0 1 0.0

Denver Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Brandon McManus 3 3 100.0 52

Arizona Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Matt Wile 5 229 58
Richie Leone 4 157 51

Denver Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Riley Dixon 4 178 54