Cardinals vs. Broncos: Arizona, Denver fans both optimistic after close game

Doug Pensinger

The preseason is over, and Cardinals and Broncos fans seem a bit optimistic about their teams.

The Arizona Cardinals edged out the Denver Broncos, 32-24, in their final preseason game of 2013.

The Cardinals and Broncos had a back-and-forth struggle throughout the night, but with five minutes left in the game, the Cardinals took the lead for good.

Arizona has a crowded backfield, and after Thursday night's game, the picture isn't any clearer. The Cardinals will have a tough decision when it comes to cutting the roster down to 53 players by Saturday night.

SB Nation's Cardinals blog Revenge of the Birds wrote about the running game of Stepfan Taylor, Andre Ellington and Ryan Williams, which managed to post over 100 combined rushing yards.

Both Williams and Taylor found the end zone on the day. The rookie, Taylor ran with power and managed a nice 15 yard run complete with broken tackles to find pay-dirt. Williams, stepping onto the field for the first time since injury made some nice moves and showed the elusive speed. He also lowered his shoulder and took a few pops, something I'm sure Coach Arians wanted to see.

The Broncos can't be too discouraged with their effort on Thursday night, either. When it comes to the preseason, the result of the game isn't as important as staying healthy and clearly identifying the depth players.

According to Mile High Report, SB Nation's Broncos blog, quite a few backups made a case to stick on the 53-man roster during Thursday's game.

Second year undrafted wide receiver Gerell Robinson led all receivers with five catches for 99 yards and a touchdown; quarterback Zac Dysert started the game with a perfect 158.3 passer rating; running back Lance Ball took a two yard dumpoff 69 yards down the field on a brilliantly executed screen play. Not one of these players were on my projected 53-man roster, but all made a case to make the team Thursday night in preseason action.

The Broncos open up the regular season at home on Thursday Night Football against the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. The Cardinals will hit the road to take on the St. Louis Rams.

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