Emmanuel Sanders threw and caught touchdown passes, Denver returned two interceptions for first-quarter touchdowns and the Broncos snapped a four-game losing streak with a 45-10 rout of the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night.
Todd Davis returned rookie Josh Rosen’s deflected pass for a touchdown on the second play of the game and Chris Harris Jr. took another back 53 yards for a score with 2:02 left in the quarter as the Broncos (3-4) opened a 21-3 lead.
Rosen threw three interceptions and fumbled the ball away twice on a rough night that began badly for him and never got better. He limped off the field after he was sacked for the fifth time, on a fourth-and-16 play near the end of the game.
The Cardinals (1-6), down 35-3 at the half, fell to 0-4 at home for the first time since 1979.
Case Keenum completed 14 of 21 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown with one interception for Denver. Phillip Lindsay rushed for 90 yards on 14 carries, including a 28-yard TD run.
Rosen had called a time out after the game’s first play. Then his pass was deflected by the outstretched hand of defensive end Derek Wolfe. The ball dropped into the hands of Davis, who ran it in from there.
Arizona followed with a three-and-out and the Broncos quickly made it 14-0 with a six-play, 77-yard drive. Sanders took the ball on an end around and threw to a wide open Courtland Sutton 28 yards for the touchdown.
The receiver may have run the wrong route on Rosen’s second “pick six.” In a third-and-one situation from the Arizona 46, Rosen passed but there was no one near the ball except Harris, who returned it 53 yards to make it 21-3.
The Broncos made it 28-3 in the second quarter when Keenum found Harris wide open on a 64-yard TD play, the Denver receiver doing a front flip over the goal line.
A pass interference play against Bene Benwikere in the end zone set up Royce Freeman’s one-yard TD run that made it 35-3 with 21 seconds left in the half. The run capped a 15-play, 70-yard drive that used up 6:39.
The Arizona fans booed as the team left the field for the half, while there were cheers from the sizable contingent of orange-clad Broncos supporters.
The Cardinals got their only touchdown in the third quarter, Rosen throwing four yards to Larry Fitzgerald for the score. Fitzgerald’s first TD catch of the season came at the end of an 11-play, 63-yard drive that followed Patrick Peterson’s interception. Fitzgerald’s 111 career TDs tie him with Tony Gonzalez for seventh on the NFL’s career list.
Denver lost two players to injury in the first half.
Rookie punt returner DaeSean Hamilton left with a knee injury after Arizona’s Brandon Williams rolled into his legs as he was waiting for the ball to make a fair catch. Williams was penalized for interfering on the play.
Safety Darian Stewart left the game with a neck injury in the first quarter.
Arizona tight end Ricky Seals-Jones, trying to run down Rosen’s fumble, slammed his left forearm against an opponent’s helmet and didn’t return.
Broncos: At Kansas City on Oct. 28.
Cardinals: Host San Francisco on Oct. 28.
Source: The Associated Press