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Arizona Cardinals QB Josh Rosen has ‘frustrating’ night in loss to Broncos

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen (3) gets the throw off as Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller (58) makes the hit during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Football fans know Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Josh Rosen from his days at UCLA and his selection in the first round of the NFL Draft, but Thursday night represented the introduction of Rosen’s play at the highest level.

His first primetime spotlight game against the Denver Broncos was a chance for Rosen to bounce back his team’s season with a strong night while also on a big stage.

Well, he theoretically had that chance until he didn’t, and it wasn’t there for that long. Rosen could never get in rhythm for a Cardinals team that posted one of their worst outings in recent years, a 45-10 loss to Denver.

Rosen finished 21-of-39 for 194 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. He was sacked six times and fumbled three times. Of his three fumbles, two were lost and two of his interceptions were returned for touchdowns.

“I wasn’t great, I’ll tell you that,” Rosen said after the game.

“I obviously didn’t play up to my standards or even close to it but that’s why you play another one next week.”

While Rosen and his stats weren’t great, they don’t tell the whole story of the circumstances surrounding his night.

On the second play for the offense, Rosen was forced to call a timeout to avoid a delay of game call. Coming out of the timeout, Rosen’s pass intended for tight end Ricky Seals-Jones was tipped at the line and intercepted by Denver’s Todd Davis for a pick-six.

Three drives later, a 3rd-and-1 call for a short slant to J.J. Nelson led to Nelson not fully running out his route and Rosen throwing the ball right at Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. That was intercepted for another touchdown.

Even though it was a tipped pass at the line that fell to a linebacker and another pass to the space where his receiver should be, Rosen became the first rookie quarterback in league history to throw two pick-sixes in the first quarter.

That made it 21-3, firmly putting the game out of reach for one of the worst offenses in the league and a 14-0 second quarter all but sealed that fact with a 35-3 halftime deficit.

Later in the first quarter, Rosen had to burn another timeout to avoid a delay of game, and the Cardinals took the penalty on a different play when wide receiver Christian Kirk was in motion.

Rosen was visibly frustrated when the flag was tossed.

The miscommunications were all over the field and the Cardinals looked out of sync all night.

“It was frustrating,” Rosen said of his night as a whole, shooting down the notion that he was overwhelmed at any time. “You just kind of wish you had some certain decisions back here and there.”

Despite the Broncos holding a four-score lead throughout the entire second half, Rosen played the entire game.

That led to a scary moment on the last drive when Rosen was sacked on fourth down. He stayed on the ground for a few moments holding his foot before getting up and walking off the field with a slight limp.

Rosen said after the game it was his toe and he’s fine.

“I was just being soft, I’ll be OK,” he said. “I’ll be good.”

That presented questions of what the franchise’s short- and long-term future was doing on the field, but the inexperienced Rosen cleared that up.

“I’d definitely rather stay in there and see as many defenses as I possibly can as early in my career as I can,” Rosen said. “If he would have tried to pull me out we would have definitely had to have a conversation about that one.”

With the Cardinals now 1-6, Rosen’s progression and improvement are now more important than anything else for the team the rest of the season.

Rosen hasn’t necessarily seen that through four starts, but he is aware of how long he has to come.

“Got a lot to learn,” he said. “More to learn than I would have wished for, but we’ve got a lot to learn, me in particular.”

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