The St. Louis Rams pulled if off today in Denver, getting their first road win and putting themselves atop the NFC West...at 5-6.
Sam Bradford and Co. controlled the game well, building up a comfortable 20 point lead heading into the 4th quarter. And then the 4th quarter happened. The Broncos scored 20 points on a Rams defense that has given up more than 20 points in just three games. It took some of the sheen off a win the Rams desperately needed. Hopefully, passing this test will make things a little easier for the Rams, or at least force some better play and coaching decisions down the stretch.
Let's take a quick a look at the things that mattered today...numbers style.
308 yards, 3 TDs, 113.3 rating - Sam Bradford had his best outing yet, racking up 300+ yards for the first time in his career. He played a magnificent game, showing just what kind of talent he really has. The Rams couldn't have won this game today with another QB. Unfortunately for the rookie, a too conservative approach late in the game almost ruined his big night.
3.5 yards - That was the average gain on the Rams' 35 rushing attempts. Steven Jackson carried the ball 29 times, matching a season high, but instead of the 109 yards he gained on 29 carries against San Diego, he totaled just 72 yards this time. Two thoughts on the running game:
1. The run blocking was terrible. Why is Greco not working in some at right guard? Why was Mike Karney on the bench? The Rams offense got nothing going for itself in the fourth quarter, running the ball on 1st and 2nd downs on consecutive three-and-out drives.
2. Why the hell were Pat Shurmur and Spagnuolo so adamant to run the ball late in the game, even when it wasn't working? The Broncos played themselves back into the mix when they should have been put to rest.
245 yards - That's how many yards the Broncos put up in the second half of the game, mostly because the Rams secondary was playing very poorly. Orton completed three passes of 30 yards or better in the second half. Part of that has to do with the weakness at OLB. Rookie Jerome Murphy was also in the mix late in the game...covering of all players, Brandon Lloyd.
We'll have much more breakdown tomorrow. Right now, enjoy the win. It's been a long time coming.