Remember the last time the Cardinals won a game? Yes, it’s been quite awhile, 63 days to be exact, but finally on Sunday the waiting came to a merciful end. Led by kicker Jay Feely, who made up 25 of Arizona’s 43 points, the Cards crushed the Denver Broncos 43-13 at University of Phoenix Stadium.
The win puts the Cards at 4-9 on the season. The win snaps a seven-game slide, that included three losses to teams who were at the time under.500. Sunday finally the Cardinals put it all together, as Feely got the call for the trick play of the year, rushing for a TD on a fake field goal.
His five field goals also helped, and made a winner for rookie QB John Skelton, who made his first career start. Skelton wasn’t awful, but didn’t make anyone forget the days of Kurt Warner.
The rookie QB was 15-of-37 for 146 yards. The real muscle was running back Tim Hightower, who ran for a career-high 148 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries for the Cardinals.
Arizona did a good job on Denver QB Kyle Orton, holding him to 19-for-41 passing for 166 yards with three picks. Knowshon Moreno compiled 113 yards from scrimmage and had a rushing touchdown in the loss for the now 3-10 Broncos, who were playing their first game for new interim coach Eric Studesville.
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, as place holder Ben Graham flipped the ball to Feely, who scurried five yards into the end zone to provide a 13-3 lead.
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.
Feely opened the second half scoring with a 23-yard field goal and 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 then traveled only eight yards, and Feely redeemed himself with a 49-yarder, making the score 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 a Hauschka 30-yard field goal
It became a 29-6 contest when Hightower scored an eight-yard touchdown. He set up the TD run with a 41-yard scamper two plays prior. Denver added a late score with 3:31 to play when Moreno dove from one-yard out
Hightower answered back, bouncing a 35-yard touchdown run 27 seconds later, and Daryle Washington returned an interception 40 yards before fumbling it into the end zone. Darnell Dockett, though, fell on the ball in the end zone for the touchdown to account for the final margin. Originally, Washington was given the 40-yard TD return, but officials ruled it a fumble after the game.
Arizona has another good shot at a win next week, playing at the 1-12 Carolina Panthers Sunday.