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Why it happened: Broncos 45, Cardinals 10

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If you need any stock-market tips, Von Miller might be the man to ask.

His Tuesday afternoon pronouncement proved prophetic, as the Broncos raced to a 7-0 lead after 59 seconds on Todd Davis' 20-yard interception return and never looked back, pulling away for a 45-10 romp over the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday.

Davis' snowball started an avalanche that saw the Broncos build a 21-3 lead after the first quarter and a 35-3 advantage at halftime that was their biggest halftime margin in just over 20 years.

"We were just us. We were the Denver Broncos again, and it felt good," Davis said.

Why did the Broncos rout the Cardinals?

Because the Broncos jumped out in front with pick-sixes

Denver's defense quickly turned "Thursday Night Football" from a potential showcase for Arizona rookie quarterback Josh Rosen into a painful learning experience, intercepting him twice in the first quarter for touchdowns that allowed the Broncos to build their biggest lead after the first quarter in nearly eight years.

Davis opened the scoring with his interception return for a touchdown, but it was actually defensive end Derek Wolfe who started the desert deluge, deflecting Rosen's pass at the line of scrimmage. The ball fluttered to Davis, who grabbed it and took off toward the north end zone for the score that seemed to instantly snap the Broncos out of their four-game funk.

Later in the quarter, with the Broncos up 14-3 after a 28-yard Emmanuel Sanders-to-Courtland Sutton touchdown, Chris Harris Jr. jumped in front of a Rosen pass to J.J. Nelson and returning it 53-yards for the score. 

Harris read Rosen's eyes perfectly on the play, and backside pressure from outside linebacker Von Miller forced Rosen's hand.

"[Rosen] threw at me on the first [attempt], so, I was relaxed, too, because I didn't think he was going to throw it and try me that early. So the next one, I said, 'OK, I'm going to bait him and try to pick it off,'" Harris said.

"Once I saw that he was throwing it to me, I was like, 'OK, I'll be able to bait him.'"

Harris then navigated his way downfield to the north end zone to give the Broncos two pick-sixes in the same quarter for the first time since Oct. 5, 1962.

"I saw the alley through the O-linemen and I was like, 'I'm just going to hit that alley,'" Harris said. "Usually we try to hit the sideline, but I was in the alley, and I knew I was fast enough to break through it."

The score also gave the Broncos two touchdowns on interception returns in the same game for the first time since Sept. 10, 1989, when Tyrone Braxton and Randy Robbins each scored on interception returns to provide the difference in a 34-20 Broncos win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Two pick-sixes in one game is a near-guarantee of success. According to, teams with two interception returns for touchdowns in the same game are now 164-5-1 for a .968 winning percentage.

Because Case Keenum flourished outside of the pocket

Keenum isn't going to be an every-down running threat, but his mobility and smoothness when he left the pocket helped set up the Broncos' fourth touchdown.

On the play, Keenum perfectly executed a play-action bootleg, rolling to the right after the fake to find Emmanuel Sanders for a 64-yard score that evoked memories of John Elway and Jake Plummer hitting Rod Smith for deep scores in games nearly six years apart.

That wasn't all Keenum did with his feet. Midway through the second quarter, he rolled right to extend a play, which allowed Demaryius Thomas to break toward the right sideline. Keenum hit Thomas for 11 yards to move the chains.

Five plays later, Keenum made another adroit play out of the pocket, moving the Broncos into field-goal range with a 7-yard scramble on third-and-6.

Because the Broncos extended the Cardinals' third-down funk

Arizona came into the game with the league's worst third-down conversion rate and 11 consecutive failed third-down attempts dating back to a game-ending kneeldown at the end of its Week 5 win over the San Francisco 49ers. 

The Cardinals did not finally move the chains on third down until Josh Rosen scrambled 14 yards on a third-and-12 play early in the third quarter. By that time, the Broncos led 35-3 and the Cardinals' streak of third-down failures stood at 18 after an 0-for-7 first half.

Meanwhile, the Broncos went 3-of-5 on third downs in the first half, a success rate that included Keenum's 7-yard scramble during a 15-play, 70-yard touchdown march that led to the Broncos' fifth touchdown -- a 1-yard Royce Freeman plunge 21 seconds before halftime.

Because Rosen never got comfortable

The Broncos made Rosen unsettled from the outset and maintained that pressure throughout the game, hitting Rosen 11 times -- including four from Miller, who posted two sacks, one of which resulted in the Broncos' final takeaway of the day

Denver finished with six sacks, including two from Chubb, who now has five sacks in his last two games.

Because the Broncos won the turnover battle

Two takeaways in the fourth quarter -- one by Miller and another on a Bradley Roby end-zone interception -- provided the exclamation point on a game that saw the Broncos force five turnovers for the first time since Sept. 17, 2015 at Kansas City.

Denver cashed in on four of the takeaways for 24 points. The Broncos have now won 13 consecutive games in which they force five turnovers, with their last loss in that scenario coming on Dec. 24, 1989 at San Diego.

"This is who we are," Harris said. "There are still ways we can play better. We know the offense wants to put up more points. But that's the formula for us. If we get up on teams, we can let the dogs loose, we can play more coverage and have more chances to get interceptions."

Photos from Broncos photographers from the Broncos' Week 7 game against the Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on "Thursday Night Football."

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