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Rapid Reaction: Arizona Cardinals

DENVER, Colo. -- A few thoughts on the Arizona Cardinals' 41-20 loss to the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

What it means: There are a few ways to look at Sunday’s blowout loss to Denver, which dropped the Cardinals from the ranks of the unbeaten. The first way is to say Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is a legend and difficult to stop, which isn’t far-fetched, considered how he picked on Cardinals cornerback Antonio Cromartie all game. Manning finished with 479 yards and four touchdowns, the first of which gave him 500 TDs for his career. The second way is to say that because of the slew of key injuries the Cardinals suffered, it’s obvious why Arizona struggled. The Cardinals lost quarterback Drew Stanton (concussion), defensive end Calais Campbell (knee injury) and Patrick Peterson (ankle) in the second half. The third way is to say that any time a third-string quarterback has to play, the offense will struggle, which was the case in the third quarter when Logan Thomas replaced Stanton. When all is told, Arizona wasn’t necessarily a fluke undefeated team. The Cardinals just faced adversity in all shapes and sizes Sunday and it was too much to overcome, especially the injuries.

Stock watch: Arizona received a solid performance from punter Dave Zastudil, who hadn’t kicked all season because of injuries. But he returned Sunday and gave Arizona its only hope when it came to field position. He punted 11 times for an average of 44.3 yards.

Injury report: As much as dropped passes were a major part of why the Cardinals didn’t look like a productive offense, the injuries that were suffered played a bigger role in the game. Arizona lost Stanton to a concussion, Campbell to a knee injury and Peterson to an ankle injury. Hard to win when the quarterback and the two top defensive players are out.

Game ball: There weren’t many bright spots for the Cardinals, but cornerback Jerraud Powers played the best of the bunch. He intercepted Manning in the second quarter and later drew an offensive pass interference penalty.

What’s next: The Cardinals return to University of Phoenix Stadium next Sunday to host the Washington Redskins at 4:25 p.m. ET.