Observation deck: Broncos-Cardinals

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
2:34
AM ET


A look at the Broncos’ 16-13 victory Thursday night at Arizona:

It was a night for the backups for the Broncos in a game that Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt decided to tie with a short, final-minute field goal instead of going for it and ending the misery of a fourth preseason game. Really, coach?

However, Denver kicker Matt Prater saved the world from preseason overtime by hitting a 44-yard field goal at the end of regulation to give the Broncos the win.

Nice night for rookie cornerback Omar Bolden. He took a kick return 103 yards for a touchdown in the town where he had to sit out last season at Arizona State due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Bolden looks like a keeper.

Quarterback Brock Osweiler, Denver's second-round pick and also a Sun Devils product, was 3-of-6 passing for 36 yards, tossing an interception as he returned to Phoenix. Expect Osweiler to be the No. 3 quarterback this season. He is very much a developmental player.

Ronnie Hillman had a nice night with 68 yards on 14 carries. He will play a lot when it counts.

Tight end Virgil Green had two catches for 45 yards. He now faces a four-game NFL suspension for using a banned substance.

Tight end Julius Thomas, a fourth-round pick in 2011, didn’t have a catch. I wonder if he makes the 53-man roster Friday.

Even though it was a backup show, Denver’s run defense was much improved in this game.

Defensive tackle Ben Garland had a sack. It will be interesting to see if Garland, a team favorite, makes the final roster. He’s probably headed to the practice squad.

Former first-round pick Knowshon Moreno completed a strong preseason with 49 yards on seven carries. There has been talk that he could be cut or traded, but if the Denver brass thinks Moreno can help this team, it will likely keep him.

Linebacker Danny Trevathan, a sixth-round pick, had seven tackles in the first half. I could see him making a serious playing-time push soon at a position the Broncos are looking for a spark.

Veteran safety Jim Leonhard started. He has been injured, so the Broncos wanted to get a good look at him.

Undrafted rookie linebacker Steven Johnson had another solid game. He is on the bubble, but I have a feeling the Broncos might be tempted to keep a promising player at a need position.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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