GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — There were a lot of orange-clad Denver fans in the stands in Arizona.
They must have loved watching the Broncos beat down the host Cardinals 45-10 Thursday night.
“That was unbelievable,” Denver quarterback Case Keenum said afterward. “It felt like a home game there for a lot of it. That was impressive. That was really cool.”
After four straight losses, the Broncos (3-4) took control early, returning two interceptions of Josh Rosen’s passes for first-quarter touchdowns. Denver led 21-3 after one quarter and 35-3 at the half, giving a rare breather of a win to embattled coach Vance Joseph.
“That’s more about our football team. I’m not concerned about me,” Joseph said. “It’s a good win for our football team. It has been a tough, tough two weeks. We had a tough loss on Sunday. We had a short week, so it’s really good for our team to win a game.”
The Cardinals (1-6) have lost their first four home games for the first time since 1979, nearly a decade before the franchise moved from St. Louis to the desert.
“Definitely an embarrassing effort tonight,” first-year coach Steve Wilks said. “Our fans deserve more than that. We have to perform better than that. Six sacks, three interceptions. It can go on and on. Unacceptable.”
Arizona offensive coordinator Mike McCoy had been considered on shaky ground but there’s no indication that any move is imminent.
“You guys are going to ask me about changes,” Wilks said. “That’s premature to talk about any changes right now. Everyone is going to be evaluated across the board.”
Here are some things to consider from the Broncos’ romp in the desert:
Denver’s Von Miller had promised the Broncos would kick the Cardinals’ backside and they certainly did.
Miller said he did it to boost the confidence of his teammates.
“And it worked,” he said.
Defensive end Zach Kerr agreed.
“It puts an extra fire in us,” he said. “You can feel it all week during the preparation. Everyone was zoned in, locked in. It’s a short week, but nobody complained. Nobody said anything, but we just went out there and worked.”
Emmanuel Sanders had a big night, throwing a 28-yard touchdown pass and catching a 64-yarder for a score.
On the TD catch, he did a front flip over the goal line. He had said he was going to quit with the flips, but couldn’t resist.
“That’s what it’s about, man, having fun and playing football,” Sanders said. “That’s how you win games. To catch that pass, I didn’t have to do anything but run straight. It was probably one of the easiest touchdown passes I’ve caught in terms of a deep ball.”
Arizona rookie quarterback Josh Rosen had a tough night.
He threw three interceptions and fumbled the ball away twice. He also was sacked six times.
Rosen said he tried to force things and it backfired.
“This is kind of an old saying I got in college. ‘Don’t turn a car crash into a fatality,’” Rosen said. “So I think sometimes you just have to make the smart play. I can’t just kind of toss it up there. … I just have to take care of the ball. For the most part, I think that was the biggest lesson I can take from the game.”
It took seven games, but Larry Fitzgerald finally caught his first touchdown pass of the season.
The four-yard pass from Rosen in the third quarter was Arizona’s lone touchdown.
It was Fitzgerald’s 111th career touchdown catch, tying him with Tony Gonzalez for seventh on the all-time list.
The Broncos had two big early interception returns.
On the second play of the game, Derek Wolfe deflected Rosen’s pass and Todd Davis gathered it in, returning it 20 yards for the score.
With two minutes left in the quarter, miscommunication between Rosen and receiver J.J. Nelson led to the ball being thrown right to Denver’s Chris Harris Jr., who took it 53 yards for a touchdown.
“Yeah, we’re having a good time out there,” Davis said. “When everything is clicking like that, it really becomes fun and you really enjoy the game of football.”