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Denver Broncos look to regroup after loss in preseason finale

Arnie Stapleton
The Associated Press
Denver Broncos wide receiver Gerell Robinson (10) catches a pass as Arizona Cardinals' Javier Arenas defends during the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
AP | FR42408 AP

DENVER — Ryan Lindley threw for two touchdowns for Arizona in a 32-24 victory over Denver on Thursday night that capped a wild offseason for the Broncos.

Now, this summer’s trendy Super Bowl pick heads into next week’s NFL Kickoff against defending champion Baltimore after losing both of its “Doom & Gloom” pass-rush partners. Elvis Dumervil went to the Ravens in free agency after a fax foul-up, and Von Miller will begin serving a six-game suspension.

Together, they accounted for 29½ of Denver’s league-leading 52 sacks last season.

How the Broncos make up for their absences will go a long way in determining if Miller’s Super Bowl guarantee he made back in February was bold or blather.

Gerell Robinson caught five passes for 99 yards, including a 25-yard TD pass from rookie Zac Dysert for Denver.

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With their opener less than a week away, the Broncos, who also saw two of their executives suspended this summer after DUI arrests, will get a jumpstart on their cuts Friday.

Before getting hurt, linebacker Lerentee McCray made a strong case for extending Denver’s streak to a full decade in which at least one undrafted player made the 53-man roster in Week 1. McCray started at Miller’s strong side spot and had a sack and a forced fumble in the first half. But he was helped off the field with a right ankle injury with four minutes left in the third quarter.

On the next play, Lindley threw a 55-yard TD pass to Jaron Brown.

The Broncos responded with Lance Ball’s 69-yard gain on a screen and Dysert’s keeper from 7 yards that put Denver back on top, 24-17.

Denver tight end Jake O’Connell’s second fumble of the night led to Mike Thomas’ 13-yard TD catch from Lindley, whose 2-point conversion pass to Andre Ellington gave Arizona its first lead at 25-24 with less than 6 minutes remaining.

Stepfan Taylor added a 15-yard TD run with 1:05 left.

Miller was among Broncos starters who didn’t play, but went through a workout 3½ hours before kickoff. Also in that group was rookie running back Montee Ball.

Absent was Ronnie Hillman, who had fumbles that were returned for touchdowns in back-to-back games.

Hillman started for Denver and got the first two carries, gaining 14 yards, before Jeremiah Johnson took over and capped the opening drive with a 9-yard burst up the middle.

Brock Osweiler’s 45-yard pass to Robinson set up a 27-yard field goal by Matt Prater before the Cardinals countered with Ryan Williams’ 1-yard TD run and Jay Feely’s 52-yarder to knot the score at 10 at halftime.

Williams and Lindley were among the Cardinals players on the bubble hoping their performances make a difference when the final cuts are made Saturday.

After getting sacked eight times in the preseason, Osweiler had better protection and it showed as he completed 7 of 11 throws for 108 yards without an interception or sack.

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AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org

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Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org

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Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton


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