Lynch has big 2nd half, Broncos beat Cardinals 21-10
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Paxton Lynch made his case for backup quarterback — or at least staying on Denver's roster — with a near-perfect second half that led the Broncos to a 21-10 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in the teams' preseason finale Thursday night.
Lynch completed 14 of 15 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns and was not intercepted.
Chad Kelly, who seemed to have a tenuous hold on the backup job behind Denver starter Case Keenum entering the game, played the first half and went 12 of 19 for 126 yards and no touchdowns with one interception.
Lynch had TD passes of 16 yards to Jordan Leslie in the third quarter and 10 yards to Matt LaCosse on the first play of the fourth.
Mike Glennon, the subject of some trade speculation as Arizona's No. 3 quarterback behind Sam Bradford and rookie Josh Rosen, played the entire first half, going 8 of 10 for 69 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
Virtually all of the Cardinals' starters and all of the Broncos' regulars sat out the finale. Arizona finished the preseason 3-1 and Denver 2-2.
The Broncos were moving the ball on the game's first possession when Jacquies Smith, among those competing for a roster spot at defensive end, intercepted Kelly's short pass and returned it 21 yards to the Denver 41.
It was the 17th takeaway by the Arizona defense in the four preseason games, the most in four preseason games since Tampa Bay had 17 in 2000.
Glennon threaded a 26-yard pass to undrafted rookie Trent Sherfield to the 3-yard line. Two plays later, Glennon threw a 2-yard TD pass to Greg Little, who hasn't played in an NFL regular-season game in four years.
Cardinals coach Steve Wilks chose to sit rookie quarterback Josh Rosen for a second straight week. Rosen didn't play in Sunday night's win at Dallas after slamming the thumb of his throwing hand against a helmet in practice earlier in the week. Rosen said this week he was fine, but Wilks chose not to risk anything with the first-round pick, who will enter the season as Sam Bradford's backup.
Rosen was 16 of 29 in his brief preseason playing time for 148 yards and a touchdown. He was not intercepted.
A brief video tribute and moment of silence in honor of the late Arizona Sen. John McCain preceded the game.
Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was among those who spoke at McCain's memorial service in Phoenix earlier in the day.
"I'm black, he was white," Fitzgerald said. "I'm young. He wasn't so young. He lived with physical limitations brought on by war. I'm a professional athlete. He ran for president. I run out of bounds.
"He was the epitome of toughness and I do everything I can to avoid contact. I have flowing locks, and well, he didn't. How does this unlikely pair become friends? I've asked myself the same question. You know what the answer is? That's just who he is."
There was no protest by either team during the national anthem.
Broncos: host Seattle in regular-season opener Sept. 9.
Cardinals: host Washington in regular-season opener Sept. 9.
More AP NFL: http://apnews.com/tag/NFL and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL