Josh Rosen is more advanced than most young quarterbacks, but Thursday night was a reminder that he’s far from a finished product.
The adversity that hits all rookies rained down hard on Rosen against the Broncos, as the Cardinals’ signal-caller turned the ball over five times in a 45-10 loss.
Rosen had the worst day of his young career, finishing 21-of-39 for 194 yards with a touchdown, three interceptions and two lost fumbles. He was sacked six times in the contest and finished with a quarterback rating of 44.2.
“I’ve got a lot to learn,” Rosen said. “More to learn than I would have wished for.”
Rosen’s first turnover came on the second offensive snap, when Broncos linebacker Todd Davis plucked a deflected pass out of the air and returned it 20 yards for a score. Rosen threw a second pick-six in the first half, on a slant in which wideout J.J. Nelson altered from his route because a Denver safety got in his way.
Coach Steve Wilks said it was an “extremely tough” night for Rosen, “but that’s the NFL for you. That’s the growing pains of a rookie.”
There were both physical and mental errors. The Cardinals used two timeouts in the first half due to a dwindling play clock and were flagged for a delay of game.
“We were inefficient and not doing the ordinary things,” Rosen said.
Whatever the game plan was coming in, it had to be abandoned early as the Cardinals fell behind by 25 points within the first 16 minutes.
“What was it, the second play from scrimmage, the pick-six?” Rosen said. “That’s not in anyone’s game plan. … You definitely have to change it as time goes on when you’re down a little bit.”
The Cardinals became pass-heavy late, and the pressure became a serious issue. Rosen injured his toe on the offense’s final snap but said he will be fine.
“I was just being soft,” Rosen said.
Wilks said, in hindsight, he probably should have pulled Rosen late in the game to avoid all the hits. Rosen would have been unhappy to leave the field. While there were growing pains, he said it was better than not growing at all on the sideline.
“Football is a violent sport,” Rosen said. “I’d definitely rather stay in there and see as many defenses as I possibly as I can as early in my career as I can. If (Wilks) tried to pull me out, we would have definitely had to have a conversation about that one.”
SEALS-JONES INJURES FOREARM
Tight end Ricky Seals-Jones injured his forearm when diving for a fumble in the third quarter. He exited the game and didn’t return, but said postgame that the arm was not broken. Seals-Jones finished with a pair of catches for 12 yards before leaving the contest.
Guard Justin Pugh was made active after testing his hand out before the game, but he did not play.
“We tried to go pregame and work him out and he just couldn’t do it,” Wilks said.
The Cardinals were also without their other starting guard, Mike Iupati. Daniel Munyer and John Wetzel filled in on the line.
GUNTER STARTS IN PLACE OF NKEMDICHE
Defensive tackle Rodney Gunter started the game in place of Robert Nkemdiche. Gunter’s strength is stopping the run, an issue that has bothered the Cardinals all season. Gunter finished with three tackles, but Denver’s running game still finished with 131 yards and two touchdowns.
“He did pretty good,” Wilks said. “My evaluation of the players is to make sure I’m putting the guys out there who are going to give us the best opportunity. The guys aren’t really performing from a consistency standpoint so that’s the reason why Gunter was out there.”
Images from the Week 7 matchup on "Thursday Night Football"