Broncos' backups salvage finale
Broncos rookie quarterback Tom Brandstater, left, hands the ball off to running back Correll Buckhalter, right, in the first quarter Thursday at Invesco Field at Mile High. (John Leyba, The Denver Post)Brandstater and the backups just beat Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald and an Arizona Cardinals team that came within 35 seconds of winning the most recent Super Bowl.
If the Broncos' second team was better than Arizona's first team, does that mean . . . ?
At the Darren McFadden Jersey very least, bring on the Bengals.
The Broncos may not be nearly as bad as the restless natives were suggesting after the team's anemic preseason performance just five days ago against the Chicago Bears. With starters Kyle Orton, Ben Hamilton and Chris Kuper looking on from the upper reaches of the press box, the Broncos benchwarmers defeated Arizona 190 in the preseason finale Thursday night, giving Josh McDaniels the first victory of any kind in
Cardinals vs. Broncos
"We definitely knew what people were thinking," Broncos cornerback Andre Goodman said. "There was so much transition in the offseason that people wanted to know what this team was going to be. I think everybody thought the Bears was the game to show it, and because we weren't able to play the way we wanted to, I think people were disappointed. But again, preseason. I think we learned a lot, and now we can carry this one into the season."
The next time the Broncos play will be for keeps. They open the regular season Sept. 13 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
But just because the game Thursday didn't count didn't mean it was meaningless. Ordinarily, the final preseason game is the least significant because starters play little, if at all.
But a paid crowd of 72,088 at Invesco Field at Mile High could have not been displeased to see such Arizona stars as Warner, who is one of the league's best quarterbacks, and Fitzgerald, who is all but indisputably the league's top receiver, play not one, not two, but all three firstquarter series.
The Broncos, meanwhile, sat their injurydepleted regular units after one possession. So when the Broncos still won the first quarter 100, Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, left, holds off Broncos cornerback Alphonso Smith, right, in the first quarter Thursday at Invesco Field at Mile High. (John Leyba, The Denver Post)
hope was raised by a team that needed a little.
"We were a little down (after the Bears game) but we know we can improve," Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said. "I think by the first http://www.raidersofficialnflstore.com/Authentic-Darren-Mcfadden-Jersey game, we should be ready. I don't know how good we're going to be, but however good that is, it should show."
This final warmup also taught some lessons. Like, don't bother trying to slip quarterback Tom Brandstater to the practice squad. The 6foot5, strongperforming rookie would never make it through waivers.
A sixthround draft pick from Fresno State, Brandstater initially wasn't supposed to play in this preseason until the second half of the final exhibition against the Cardinals.
Instead, injuries to Orton (right index Broncos defensive lineman Kenny Peterson celebrates after stopping Cardinals running back Tim Hightower for a 3yard loss in the first
quarter Thursday night at Invesco Field at Mile High. (Joe Amon, The Denver Post)
finger) and veteran backup Chris Simms (left ankle) made Brandstater a preseason veteran by the time he started the finale.
"I'm glad I got my shot, and hopefully I did some good with it," Brandstater said. "I'm trying to make this team. I still haven't even guaranteed myself a spot on the team. I'm trying to do everything I can to make it, just like everyone on this team is doing. I think this effort is definitely going to help that."
Needing a win to avoid the embarrassing distinction of becoming the first Broncos team to have a winless preseason since their inaugural year of 1960, Brandstater came through, completing 16of30 passes for 187 yards Raiders Darren McFadden Jersey when he left after the third quarter with the Broncos already up 190.
Broncos quarterback Tom Brandstater, right, cheers on running back Darius Walker after Walker's 1yard run for a touchdown in the first quarter Thursday at Invesco Field at Mile High (Joe Amon, The Denver Post)
In the first quarter, against the Cardinals' firststring defense, Broncos tailbacks Correll Buckhalter and Darius Walker combined for 52 yards rushing on just nine carries (5.8 yards per carry), and Brandstater threw for 108 yards.
If the preseason did anything for the Broncos, it gave them a third quarterback.
"He has a lot of poise for a rookie," Broncos receiver Brandon Lloyd said. Stay healthy. Many key Broncos were held out www.raidersofficialnflstore.com/Authentic-Darren-Mcfadden-Jersey to nurse injuries. The healthy starters played one series. All went to the sidelines happy, healthy and leading.
2. Forget 1960. Not only would a Broncos' victory avoid their first winless preseason in 49 years, their secondstringers outscored Arizona's firststringers.
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