Final

Broncos 29

(3-1, 1-1 away)

Cardinals 23

(2-2, 1-1 home)

9:00 PM ET, August 31, 2006

U of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ 

1 2 3 4 T
DEN 9 6 0 1429
ARI 3 17 3 023

Leinart sprains shoulder in Cards' loss to Broncos

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler know their day will come in the NFL. For now, a solid preseason finale performance will have to do.

Only a shoulder injury to Leinart dampened a showdown between two of the league's quarterbacks of the future in Denver's 29-23 preseason victory over the Cardinals on Thursday night.

The left-handed Arizona rookie went out with a sprained right shoulder when he was sacked late in the third quarter.

An MRI is planned for Friday, but Leinart said the injury was no big deal. He said the shoulder popped out of its socket when he was hit, then back into place as he jogged off the field.

Leinart was sacked by Patrick Chukwurah with four minutes left in the third quarter, and shook his shoulder in pain as he went to the huddle. He stayed in for one more play, completing an 8-yard pass before leaving.

"It was kind of a fluke thing. It just got out of socket a little bit and I was running off it was kind of hanging there, but I popped it back in and it was fine," he said. "I could have gone back in and played if I had to."

Before that, the game was a showcase for Leinart, the No. 10 pick in this year's draft, and Denver's Cutler, the No. 11 pick.

Leinart, who came on in relief of starter Kurt Warner early in the second quarter, completed 10 of 15 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown.

Cutler, who started and played the first half, was 12-of-18 for 190 yards, including touchdown passes of 84 and 24 yards. But his first NFL interception was returned 24 yards by Robert Tate for a score.

"That's part of being a quarterback," Denver coach Mike Shanahan said. "You're going to have some good games and bad games, but I was really pleased that after the interception he took us on a long two-minute drive and was able to make some plays and get us in the end zone."

Cutler gave himself a B-minus for his overall preseason play.

"I might be chillin' for the rest of the season now," he said. "I mean, it's different. It's kind of like a redshirt year back in college, but hopefully Jake stays healthy and we keep winning. I'm just going to be there to support him and try to push him during practice."

Warner, playing against Denver's second-string defense, was 10-of-12 for 132 yards in a little over one quarter, setting up Neil Rackers' field goals of 21 and 29 yards. Denver's Jake Plummer did not play.

Mike Bell, the undrafted rookie from the University of Arizona who is a front-runner for starting running back for Denver, gained 74 yards in nine carries. Tatum Bell had 48 yards and nine attempts and Cedric Cobbs 34 yards in eight attempts. Ron Dayne, recovering from a turf toe injury, didn't play.

Shanahan said he didn't feel comfortable putting Dayne in a game yet, and he wanted to give the other three backs an equal shot.

"I thought we needed to have those guys compete today and find out if anybody would separate themselves," the coach said.

Arizona led 20-9 in the second quarter and 23-15 in the third, but the Broncos' reserves, with Bradlee Van Pelt at quarterback, scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Cutler's first touchdown pass of the night went 84 yards against Arizona's first-team defense. He faked a handoff, then threw downfield to a wide-open David Kircus, who outran the defenders to the end zone.

After Neil Rackers kicked two field goals, Leinart relieved Warner and directed the Cardinals 87 yards in 11 plays, capped by a 17-yard touchdown pass to Troy Walters. Leinart was 5-for-6 for 77 yards on the drive, which included Marcel Shipp's 3-yard run on fourth-and-inches from the Denver 20.

On Denver's next possession, Tate picked off Cutler's pass over the middle and returned it 24 yards for a score to put the Cardinals ahead 20-9 with 1:51 left in the half. It was Cutler's first interception with Denver.

"I read the quarterback's eyes and he told me it was coming," Tate said. "We saw that in practice and on film. I just read his eyes and broke on the ball."

But Cutler brought the Broncos back, throwing 24 yards to Todd Devoe for a touchdown 6.2 seconds before halftime. Cutler's 2-point conversion pass fell incomplete."

Game notes


Edgerrin James played briefly, catching two passes for 11 yards. ... Sixteen players caught passes for Arizona. ... Shanahan praised Van Pelt's performance, solidyfing his spot as the No. 3 QB.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
Denver
Arizona
1st Downs2320
3rd down efficiency
4-107-16
4th down efficiency
0-01-2
Total Yards408352
Yards per play7.45.1
Total Drives11
Passing221304
Comp-Att
15-2530-46
Yards per pass
8.86.6
Interceptions thrown
10
Sacks-Yards Lost
1-32-14
Rushing18748
Rushing Attempts
2921
Yards per rush
6.42.3
Penalties6-5010-63
Turnovers10
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
10
Possession26:3333:27

Passing Leaders

DENC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Cutler13/1920110.6210-0
Van Pelt2/6233.8101-3
ARIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Warner10/1213211.0000-0
Leinart10/151258.3102-14

Rushing Leaders

DENCARYDSAVGTDLG
Bell9748.2038
Bell9485.3122
ARICARYDSAVGTDLG
Shipp11383.5011
Arrington7121.705

Receiving Leaders

DENRECYDSAVGTDLG
Kircus512224.4184
Devoe33612.0124
ARIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Boldin57815.6020
Holiday33913.0021

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERDENARI
FG5:53Micah Knorr 35 Yd 30
FG10:22Neil Rackers 21 Yd 33
TD10:39David Kircus 84 Yd Pass From Jay Cutler (Pat Failed) 93
SECOND QUARTERDENARI
FG2:19Neil Rackers 29 Yd 96
TD11:42Troy Walters 17 Yd Pass From Matt Leinart (Neil Rackers Kick) 913
TD13:00Robert Tate 24 Yd Interception Return (Neil Rackers Kick) 920
TD14:54Todd Devoe 24 Yd Pass From Jay Cutler (Two-Point Conversion Failed) 1520
THIRD QUARTERDENARI
FG7:44Neil Rackers 32 Yd 1523
FOURTH QUARTERDENARI
TD1:12Cecil Sapp 10 Yd Pass From Bradlee Van Pelt (Cedric Cobbs Run For Two-Point Conversion) 2323
TD4:54Tatum Bell 1 Yd Run (Two-Point Conversion Failed) 2923