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By John McMullen, NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - After a 27-26 win over the St. Louis Rams in their preseason home opener on Saturday, the Denver Broncos will make a quick turnaround for their preseason finale on Thursday, a matchup with the Arizona Cardinals.
Demaryius Thomas caught a six-yard touchdown from Peyton Manning after an impressive 80-yard drive to help the Broncos edge the Rams.
St.Louis' Kellen Clemens threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Zach Potter with 1:56 to go in the fourth, but the Rams failed on a two-point conversion that would have given them the lead. St.Louis was also unsuccessful on the ensuing onside kick.
Manning played the entire first half, with the veteran quarterback completing 25-of-34 passes for 234 yards and an interception.
Rookie Montee Ball led the Broncos' ground attack with 43 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown.
The Cards, meanwhile, suffered their first loss in the preseason when Ryan Mathews and Fozzy Whittaker each ran for a touchdown, as the San Diego Chargers downed Arizona, 24-7.
The final score was far from the biggest loss of the evening for the Cards, however. Jonathan Cooper, the team's 2013 first-round draft pick at No. 7 overall suffered a broken fibula that will keep him on the shelf for nearly three months. An All-American out of North Carolina, Cooper was set to enter the regular season as the team's starting left guard.
Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer completed 12-of-23 throws for 122 yards against San Diego.
For the ninth time in the last 10 seasons, the Cardinals and Broncos will face off in the final game of the preseason. It will also mark the 12th time in the last 15 years that the two teams have squared off in preseason play. Denver leads the all-time exhibition series with a 16-6 mark.
08/27 14:14:56 ET
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