It might not have been good enough to keep him on the Arizona Cardinals' roster, but quarterback Matt Barkley might have done enough to get him a look elsewhere after his performance Thursday night in a 38-17 preseason victory over the Denver Broncos.
Barkley completed 20 of 29 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns at University of Phoenix Stadium as the defending NFC West champion Cardinals finally secured a win after three straight preseason losses.
Making his first professional start, Paxton Lynch completed 13 of 22 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns, both to Jordan Taylor, for the Broncos. Lynch also had a pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Cardinals linebacker Gabe Martin.
By the time Arizona opens its regular season with a Sunday night visit by the New England Patriots on Sept. 11, Barkley could be anywhere. Coach Bruce Arians is expected to go with only two quarterbacks on the active roster -- starter Carson Palmer and backup Drew Stanton -- so Barkley will likely end up being released, traded or placed on the Cardinals' practice squad if he were to clear waivers and the team still wants him around.
Playing the whole game while Palmer and Stanton watched from the sideline, Barkley helped lead the Cardinals to 23 unanswered points after falling behind early by a touchdown and a field goal. One of the scoring plays with a 59-yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro. The longest field goal in Cardinals' history during the regular season was a 61-yarder by Jay Feely against the Bills in 2012.
Catanzaro also connected from 45 and 24 yards, which were sandwiched by Barkley touchdown passes of 1 and 14 yards to J.J. Nelson and Jaxon Shipley. The Cardinals also got a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter from rookie running back Elijhaa Penny, who also ran in the two-point conversion for a 14-point lead.
Penny led all rushers with 113 yards on 23 carries.
Shortly after his touchdown, Martin intercepted a Lynch pass and rumbled 29 yards for a touchdown to help put the game out of reach.
The Cardinals lost their second- and third-string weak-side linebackers during the game as Kareem Martin and Tristan Okpalaugo left with knee injuries.
Thanks to a quick three-and-out and a fumble by Barkley on their first two series of the game, the Cardinals found themselves trailing early, 10-0.
On Denver's third play from scrimmage, Lynch connected with Taylor down the right sideline and, after Arizona corner Cariel Brooks missed the tackle, Taylor ran his way down the field untouched for a 57-yard touchdown. Taylor would later catch a 3-yard scoring pass from Lynch. He finished with four receptions for 109 yards.
Less than three minutes later on first and 10 from the Cardinals' own 39-yard line, Barkley had to rush a play under duress and had the ball knocked out of his hand by linebacker Dwayne Norman. Zaire Anderson jumped on it for the Broncos, who would end up getting a 33-yard field goal from Brandon McManus.
A promising third possession by Denver ended with a missed 46-yard attempt by McManus just before the end of the first quarter.