Pass yards for Peyton Manning through two quarters of play. Watching Peyton Manning play, more so dictate, a game is always fun. It’s good for the Rams to play such a formidable opponent to see how their young defense would respond. The figure is as much a bi-product of the Broncos’ no-huddle offense as it is the Rams continuation of it’s ‘vanilla’ preseason approach. Manning had a stunning 34 pass attempts in the first half [prior to calling it a night], completing 20.
The number of yards Greg Zuerlein kicked a field g…no wait...
…the actual amount of yards that Legatron nailed one of his two FG’s on the night. It seemingly would’ve gone 100 yards had that silly net not been in the way. Right. Down. The. Pipes.
The average of Tavon Austin’s two punt returns. Austin, who was also drafted for his ability to impact special teams, has had a relatively uneventful go at making big plays on punt returns this preseason. That changed on Saturday night when he took his first return 81 yards, and within feet of a score. He added another 23 yard return nearing halftime. For a team whose offense suffered as a result of starting field position in 2012, these kind of plays were welcomed.
Time of possession for Rams vs. Broncos. If you saw the chart at halftime, the Broncos had nearly doubled the Rams in most statistical categories….points just didn’t happen to be one of them. Time of possession was. The Rams had held the ball for just over 10 minutes heading into half. They’d finished the game with 25:19, giving DEN the ball for nearly 10 more minutes.
* Thus far in the preseason, the Rams are averaging 26:18 TOP. That’s next to last in the league [Kansas City - 25:49].
The percentage of 3rd down’s the Rams converted. The Rams were only able to successfully convert on two of their 13 3rd down tries on Saturday night. As Ryan noted after the Broncos game, the Rams had gone 7-for-27 through their first two preseason games. After last night, the Rams have now converted 9 of 40 attempts through three-quarters of their preseason [22.5%]. Ryan also noted the Rams converted on 32% of their 3rd down plays in 2012…6% behind the league average. There’s work to be done.
The long run for the Rams on Saturday night. Any guesses as to who? Well, in case you missed it, the Rams’ longest run came courtesy of Isaiah Pead. The 15-yard scamper came with about just under 12 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter. Pead made a nice cut at the end of the play which turned a 9 yard run into 15. I should note that Pead’s run was the long run of the game. Broncos’ RB’s Ronnie Hillman and Knowshon Moreno ran for 16 and 18, respectively.
*Long run for the preseason? A little tougher. Benny Cunningham: 17 yards
Rams’ Penalties. The Rams tallied eleven total penalties on the evening, topping Denver’s 9. The eleven penalties cost the Rams 74 yards. The team now has 26 offensive penalties through three preseason games, which ties for 3rd in the league [w/ Detroit and Dallas].
The number of James Laurinaitis tackles. Tackling had been a bit of a concern throughout the first two preseason games, but looked much more sound on Saturday night against Denver. James Laurinaitis lead the team [and the game] in tackles, with 7. Whether making the play in the trenches, or in the open field, Laurinaitis was putting on a clinic for the rest of the defensive unit. It should come as no surprise…he’s lead the team in tackles over the past four seasons, and it’s never been his weak suit.
Broncos turnovers. The turnover differential certainly played in the Rams’ favor last night. Alec Ogletree displayed the athletic ability/instinct that made him a potential Top-10 draft pick with a strip on Ronnie Hillman which he returned for a score, and making a great play in coverage intercepting one of Peyton Manning’s passes intended for TE Julius Thomas. Brock Osweiler also botched a snap late in the 4th quarter [recovered by R.J. Washington], after having been intercepted by Darren Woodard to start the frame.
Total number of catches between Brian Quick and Stedman Bailey. Thought targeted three times each, these two receivers only hauled in three catches. With the top of the depth chart pretty well ironed out, it’d certainly be nice to see the Rams run these two guys with the starters in next week’s game against the Ravens.
Catches for Austin Pettis. Pettis was targeted four times last night, only hauling in one ball for 15 yards. It’s been a nearly non-existent preseason for Pettis, who had been making some waves for his excellent play in camp. The ‘1’ holds true for Pettis’ entire preseason. He’s got as many catches as Isaiah Pead, Justin Veltung, Andrew Helmick, Colby Prince, Mike McNeill, and Chase Reynolds.
1st downs via the run. The Rams tallied 11 first downs [Broncos 27], and only one of them came via the ground game. And it wasn’t a third and short situation. As aforementioned, Pead’s 15 yarder marked the only play of the game [for Rams] where a rushed earned them an extra set of downs.
Blocked punts. Rookie safety T.J. McDonald made a big play to conclude the first quarter, when he easily maneuvered into the backfield and stuffed Matt Prater’s 34 yard try.
Rams Injury. Cory Harkey [TE] limped off the field and did not return to the game. Here’s to wishing him a speedy recovery.
Sacks. Rookie Ray Ray Armstrong was the only Rams defender to tally a sack on Saturday night, albeit an awesome one. In the matchup of 2012’s two top sack leaders, the Broncos won the battle 4-1.
Trindon Holliday return yards. Greg Zuerlein continuously booted the ball out of the end zone, taking another one of the NFL’s most electric returners effectively out of the game. Punter Johnny Hekker joined the party, and on one occasion kicked the ball so close to the sideline that Holliday’s toe actually touched the line. Preseason or not, there was no reason to test a return man with Holliday’s play-making ability. The Rams would be wise to carry this gameplan into the regular season.
Sam Bradford INT’s. On the game, and in the preseason…Sam Bradford has yet to throw an INT. It’s got to be building confidence not only in himself, but from his teammates. The momentum heading into the regular season appears to be on the QB’s side.
Turnovers for the Rams. Not only did Bradford keep the ball out of the hands of Denver’s defensive players, but the running backs didn’t put the ball on the ground either. It was the first game of the preseason in which the team did not turn the ball over to the opposition.
Wins. The Rams are now 0-3 in this preseason. Who cares?
More from Turf Show Times:
- Rams vs. Broncos: Making progress, the GIF recap
- Rams vs. Broncos: Reading the snap counts
- Instant Reaction: Denver Broncos 27 St. Louis Rams 26
- Tired of throwing flags, referee goes with the hat toss
- St. Louis Rams vs. Denver Broncos: By The Numbers