When the dust settled in Denver, it was evident that the St. Louis Rams were not going to lay down anymore on the road. Even though there was a fourth quarter meltdown, the defense stepped up to the plate and said, "No soup for you!" to the Broncos, namely on a crucial QB sack by Chris Long who almost single handedly sealed the deal on a road victory... finally.
Sure, the Rams let a 33-13 lead slip through the cracks in the fourth quarter but inevitably, the football gods decided it was the Rams time to take that next step today. Yes, today was the day when a young team grew a few inches... just a few, but that few felt pretty darn good.
With the Rams victory today, and a Seahawk loss, the Rams are actually the front runner in the NFC West courtesy of a 20-3 win against those very Seahawks at home earlier in the year which gives the Rams the head to head nod.
Who would have guessed that the Rams would be entering week 13 of the season literally in control of their own destiny for the division crown? Even the Rams faithful were screaming, "please just be competitive". I think these Rams have far exceeded anyone's expectations.
Let's be realistic here, we all know the Rams won't "win out", but the fact that they are in this position right now is nothing short of amazing.
Something else has to be mentioned as well, and that is the play of Sam Bradford. It is beyond words what he has done for the St. Louis Rams, and today he looked like a 10 year veteran directing traffic, making lightening precision passes and throwing the ball away at key times without forcing things.
Danario Alexander also added a spark to a lackluster receiving corp and appears to have changed the way Denver defended. Rarely did we see 10 in the box which opened up a lot of opportunities in Shurmur's dink and dunk style offense. With a bit better interior offensive line play, Steven Jackson certainly would have been more of a factor.
Even with the Rams interior line playing at sub par, and Steven Jackson basically being a non-factor. the Rams had many drives that ate up the clock and kept the chains moving, and ultimately ended in 7 points (one was 6 on a missed extra point). That is until the fourth quarter... a quarter in which home teams make their final run and the adrenaline is flowing.
In the end, it once again rested on the defense's shoulders, and even though Denver racked up 20 points late, today they answered the call on the final drive of the game. Chris Long's sack was heard round the world, and signified a changing of the guard. It was that big.
No question, the Rams have many things they need to work on, but one thing is for sure; these boys took a big step in becoming men today.