GLENDALE - The Arizona Cardinals completed the home portion of their 2006 schedule on down note Sunday as they were drilled by the Denver Broncos at University of Phoenix Stadium, 37-20.
The loss dropped the Cardinals to 4-10 on the year and was their fifth defeat at their new home this year. The Cardinals trailed virtually the entire afternoon and were dominated in all facets of the game by a team that had lost four straight contests entering Sunday’s action.
Despite only trailing by six at halftime, thanks primarily to a defensive score, Arizona could muster very little offensively throughout the day, and the Broncos capitalized by blowing the game open in the second half on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jay Cutler to Rod Smith in the third quarter and a 1-yard touchdown run by Mike Bell a minute into the fourth.
The first half wasn’t much different, as it was all Broncos as well. They first struck three minutes into the game on a 54-yard touchdown pass from Cutler to Javon Walker. Then moments later, after Arizona quarterback Matt Leinart threw an interception, Denver upped its lead on a 30-yard field goal by Jason Elam.
The Broncos later extended their advantage to 13 on a 22-yard field goal by Elam two minutes into the second quarter. Arizona kicker Neil Rackers connected on a 49-yard field goal on the Cardinals' ensuing possession to cut into the lead.
Arizona then trimmed the lead to three points midway through the second after Chike Okeafor stripped Denver running back Tatum Bell of the football, and Antonio Smith scooped up the loose ball and returned it 4 yards for a touchdown. The Broncos then pushed their lead to six with a minute remaining in the half on another 30-yard field goal by Elam.
The Cardinals (4-9) were looking to sustain recent momentum they had generated over the course of the past month, when they had won three of their last four games, including last week’s 27-21 home victory over the Seattle Seahawks, but it didn’t transpire.
Arizona will wrap up its season with road games the next two weeks at San Francisco and San Diego.