for this game

Cutler gets best of Leinart, Broncos beat Cards

Dec 18, 2006 - 2:12 AM GLENDALE, Arizona (Ticker) -- Jay Cutler was the best rookie quarterback on the field.

Cutler threw for two touchdowns and outplayed Matt Leinart as the Denver Broncos snapped a four-game losing streak with a 37-20 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in an interconference contest.

It marked the first win in three career starts for Cutler, who was selected 11th overall in April's draft, one pick behind Leinart.

"It was the third start and you can't get all wrapped up with who you are playing against and what players are on the other team, it is just another game," Cutler said. "Matt played well."

The performance by Cutler could not have come at a better time for the Broncos (8-6), who are in the thick of the AFC wild-card race. Denver hosts Cincinnati and San Francisco in its last two games.

Cutler connected with Javon Walker for a 54-yard touchdown on the Broncos' third offensive play. He found veteran Rod Smith for a 10-yard score midway through the third quarter, giving the Broncos a 23-10 lead.

In his best start, Cutler completed 21-of-31 passes for 261 yards and an interception.

"I had a lot of confidence coming into this game," Cutler said. "I felt a lot more comfortable coming into this game, it was my third start. Once we hit that big one I had a lot of confidence and we were off to the races."

"I don't think we need to talk about this each week," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "He (Cutler) is going to grow and learn. There is a lot of confidence out there today. He showed a lot of poise, made a couple of big time throws and managed the game extremely well. I am really proud of him. There is a learning curve and there will be ups and downs. It didn't take a genius to figure out that this guy is very composed and plays with a lot of confidence."

Leinart failed to enjoy the same success as Cutler as he went 19-of-32 for 168 yards with two interceptions. He also fumbled twice, losing one.

Leinart downplayed the matchup against Cutler.

"My play had nothing to do with that," he said. "That didn't cross my mind. I wasn't worried about Matt vs. Jay contest, it wasn't about that. I turned the ball over and you can't turn the ball over against a very good defense a that type of offense that grinds the clock and made some big plays."

The day also was special for Broncos running back Mike Bell, an undrafted rookie out of Arizona. He had a pair of one-yard TD runs in the fourth quarter and finished with 61 yards on 16 carries.

"It was definitely a great homecoming and to be able to do that was amazing," said Bell, a Phoenix native. "There was a lot of support. Just being here I know a lot of people were just fans because of high school, college and Pop Warner. You can't ask for more then that."

Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey also had a pair of interceptions for the Broncos. His first pick set up Jason Elam's 30-yard field goal with 8:51 left in the first quarter that gave Denver a 10-0 lead.

"I envisioned that happening on the sidelines and I was like I just can't drop it," Bailey said. "I knew I was going to see the ball, they threw it over there and I just picked it off."

Edgerrin James rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown for the Cardinals (4-10), who failed in their bid for their first three-game winning streak of the season.

Defensive end Antonio Smith picked up a fumble by Tatum Bell and returned it four yards for a touchdown with 7:53 left in the first half to pull the Cardinals within 13-10.

But Cutler was able to direct 13-play, 66-yard drive that lasted nearly seven minutes. He kept alive the march with a 10-yard completion to Walker, who had five catches for 84 yards, on a 3rd-and-10 play.

Elam connected on a 30-yard field goal with 57 seconds left in the half, giving Denver a 16-10 lead.

The Broncos dominated the first half, holding a 240-60 advantage in total yards and a 14-3 cushion in first downs.

"We did not get a rhythm offensively at all," Cardinals coach Dennis Green said. "Once we got going a bit but we didn't have the ball enough so we couldn't get it going."

In the first half, the Broncos' secondary held wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald without a catch.

On the Broncos' first possession of the third quarter, Cutler was intercepted by free safety Robert Griffith. The Cardinals failed to take advantage of the miscue as Neil Rackers missed a 50-yard field goal.

Cutler recovered from his miscue by moving the Broncos 60 yards in six plays. He found Smith in the left corner of the end zone for a 10-yard TD to make it 23-10 with 8:54 left in the third quarter.

Rackers kicked 38-yard field goal with 2:19 left in the third quarter to pull the Cardinals within 23-13.

Mike Bell scored on one-yard runs around James' four-yard score in the fourth quarter.

James, who was coming off consecutive 100-yard games, rushed for 63 yards on 14 carries.






  • 10
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 10 roots

    Broncos vs. CardinalsDec 17 9:53 PM


  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DENVER 10 6 7 14 37
    ARIZONA 0 10 3 7 20 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: DEN - TD, JAVON WALKER 54 YD PASS FROM JAY
    CUTLER (JASON ELAM KICK), 3:00.
    Drive: 3 plays, 65 yards in 1:26.
    DENVER 7-0
    DEN - FG, JASON ELAM 30 YD, 6:09. Drive: 6
    plays, 14 yards in 2:54. Ke

    Dec 17 7:12 PM


  • NFL
    TD DEN
    MIKE BELL 1 YD RUN
    (JASON ELAM KICK)
    DENVER 37
    ARIZONA 20 2:44 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Broncos vs. CardinalsDec 17 6:54 PM


  • NFL
    TD ARI
    EDGERRIN JAMES 4 YD RUN
    (NEIL RACKERS KICK)
    DENVER 30
    ARIZONA 20 7:46 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Broncos vs. CardinalsDec 17 6:40 PM


  • NFL
    TD DEN
    MIKE BELL 1 YD RUN
    (JASON ELAM KICK)
    DENVER 30
    ARIZONA 13 13:51 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Broncos vs. CardinalsDec 17 6:22 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DENVER 10 6 7 23
    ARIZONA 0 10 3 13 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: DEN - TD, JAVON WALKER 54 YD PASS FROM JAY
    CUTLER (JASON ELAM KICK), 3:00.
    Drive: 3 plays, 65 yards in 1:26.
    DENVER 7-0
    DEN - FG, JASON ELAM 30 YD, 6:09. Drive: 6
    plays, 14 yards in 2

    Dec 17 6:17 PM


  • NFL
    FG ARI
    NEIL RACKERS 38 YD
    DENVER 23
    ARIZONA 13 2:19 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Broncos vs. CardinalsDec 17 6:12 PM


  • NFL
    TD DEN
    ROD SMITH 10 YD PASS FROM JAY CUTLER
    (JASON ELAM KICK)
    DENVER 23
    ARIZONA 10 8:54 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Broncos vs. CardinalsDec 17 5:55 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DENVER 10 6 16
    ARIZONA 0 10 10 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: DEN - TD, JAVON WALKER 54 YD PASS FROM JAY
    CUTLER (JASON ELAM KICK), 3:00.
    Drive: 3 plays, 65 yards in 1:26.
    DENVER 7-0
    DEN - FG, JASON ELAM 30 YD, 6:09. Drive: 6
    plays, 14 yards in 2:54.

    Dec 17 5:25 PM


  • NFL
    FG DEN
    JASON ELAM 30 YD
    DENVER 16
    ARIZONA 10 0:57 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Broncos vs. CardinalsDec 17 5:18 PM


  • NFL
    TD ARI
    ANTONIO SMITH 4 YD FUMBLE RETURN
    (NEIL RACKERS KICK)
    DENVER 13
    ARIZONA 10 7:53 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Broncos vs. CardinalsDec 17 5:03 PM


  • NFL
    FG ARI
    NEIL RACKERS 49 YD
    DENVER 13
    ARIZONA 3 8:12 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Broncos vs. CardinalsDec 17 4:54 PM


  • NFL
    FG DEN
    JASON ELAM 22 YD
    DENVER 13
    ARIZONA 0 12:59 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Broncos vs. CardinalsDec 17 4:43 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DENVER 10 10
    ARIZONA 0 0 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: DEN - TD, JAVON WALKER 54 YD PASS FROM JAY
    CUTLER (JASON ELAM KICK), 3:00.
    Drive: 3 plays, 65 yards in 1:26.
    DENVER 7-0
    DEN - FG, JASON ELAM 30 YD, 6:09. Drive: 6
    plays, 14 yards in 2

    Dec 17 4:39 PM


  • NFL
    FG DEN
    JASON ELAM 30 YD
    DENVER 10
    ARIZONA 0 8:51 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Broncos vs. CardinalsDec 17 4:21 PM


  • NFL
    TD DEN
    JAVON WALKER 54 YD PASS FROM JAY CUTLER
    (JASON ELAM KICK)
    DENVER 7
    ARIZONA 0 12:00 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Broncos vs. CardinalsDec 17 4:11 PM