NFL Game Summary - Denver at Arizona
(Sunday, December 12th)
Final Score: Arizona 43, Denver 13
Glendale, AZ (Sports Network) - Kicker Jay Feely scored 25 of Arizona's 43 points, mixing his first career touchdown run with five field goals in the Cardinals' 43-13 win over Denver at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Rookie John Skelton made his first career start, throwing for 146 yards on 15-of-37 passing, as the Cardinals (4-9) got their first win against the Broncos while also snapping a seven-game slide. Tim Hightower rushed for a career-high 148 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries in the win.
Meanwhile, Broncos interim coach Eric Studesville didn't have much of a honeymoon period, losing his first career game at the helm.
Studesville was promoted from running backs coach to replace Josh McDaniels, who was fired on Monday after suffering three straight losses and posting an 11-17 record in his two seasons at the helm -- the worst record in nearly four decades of any Broncos coach who lasted at least one season.
"It was tough to experience that, but you just have to go to work and find out who really wants to finish this thing," Denver linebacker Mario Haggan said of the coaching change.
Kyle Orton had a terrible outing, throwing three interceptions while only completing 19-of-41 passes for 166 yards for Denver (3-10). Knowshon Moreno compiled 113 yards from scrimmage and had a rushing touchdown in the loss.
"The last couple weeks the passing game hasn't got it going and I gotta do better," said Orton. "I gotta make better reads, make better decisions and make better throws."
The Broncos' opening drive went 73 yards and led to a 32-yard field goal from Steven Hauschka 4 1/2 minutes in.
Arizona was able to knot the game at three on Feely's 26-yard field goal later in the first before moving ahead for good.
Feely's second field goal -- a 48-yarder -- came three minutes into the second quarter. Kerry Rhodes produced two consecutive takeaways for the Arizona defense, with the second coming on an interception of Orton that put the Cardinals at the opposing 24 with six minutes until halftime.
Arizona set up for a 22-yard field goal from the five-yard line, but ran a trick play instead of kicking. Place holder Ben Graham flipped the ball to Feely, who scurried into the end zone to provide a 13-3 lead.
"As soon as I caught the ball, I kind of knew I was going to make it because [Denver] rushed pretty hard on that corner and I was able to get in the end zone and have a little fun," said Feely.
Feely continued his memorable game by hammering a 55-yard field goal with two seconds remaining in the half, giving his team a 16-3 lead at the break.
He opened the second-half scoring with a 23-yarder but also missed a 49-yard attempt with 1:03 left in the same quarter.
During the next play, Orton fumbled the ball to give it back to Arizona on the 39-yard line. The offense traveled only eight yards, and Feely redeemed himself with a 49-yarder to make it 22-3.
Denver got back on the board thanks to a Hightower fumble on the 25-yard line. The Broncos traveled only 13 yards, though, and had to settle for Hauschka's 30-yard field goal
Arizona took a 29-6 lead when Hightower scored an eight-yard touchdown. He set up the TD run with a 41-yard scamper two plays prior. Denver scored with 3:31 to play when Moreno dove from one-yard out
Hightower answered back, breaking off a 35-yard touchdown run 27 seconds later, and Arizona linebacker Daryle Washington returned an interception 40 yards for what appeared to be his touchdown.
Washington dropped the ball, lineman Darnell Dockett fell on it, and it was ruled Dockett's touchdown in a scoring change after the game.
Either way, the defensive score accounted for the final margin.
Denver cornerback Perrish Cox didn't start because of an arrest on sexual assault charges earlier this week...Moreno rushed for 81 yards on 19 carries and caught five passes for 32 yards...The Broncos had won the past seven games between the teams but are now 7-1-1 all time against the Cards...Larry Fitzgerald caught six balls for a game-high 72 yards for the Cardinals. His second catch of the game passed Anquan Boldin for the franchise record of 586 career receptions. Fitzgerald ended the game with 592 career receptions...Denver outgained Arizona 357-288...It's the fourth time since the 1970 merger a kicker has scored a touchdown.
12/13 00:10:19 ET