5 Keys to Victory – Revisited: Denver Broncos At St. Louis Rams
By Mark Warren
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
1. Get pressure on Peyton Manning without sending 5+
The Rams were consistently able to get pressure on Manning, no matter how many rushers they used. They only got two sacks in the game, but Manning was harassed all day. He posted 389 yards through the air, but he had his lowest QBR (32.9) and passer rating (75.3) of the season. He threw two interception for the third game in a row and he missed on several passes that he normally completes with ease.
2. Tackle. Period.
LB Alec Ogletree and SS T.J. McDonald were both all over the field against Denver. The Broncos rushed for only 28 yards on 10 carries and for the most part the Rams defense did a good job of swarming to the ballcarrier after the catch. FS Rodney McCleod also had perhaps his best outing of the season, save for WR Emmanuel Sanders’ long touchdown catch after being left wide open.
3. Capitalize on defensive opportunities
Denver was stopped on fourth down three times, and they turned the ball over twice on interceptions. The only glaring mistake made by the defense was the aforementioned blown coverage resulting in a touchdown pass to Sanders. Denver’s offense looked anemic without TE Julius Thomas, RB’s Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman and later, Sanders.
4. Establish the run early, and don’t go away from it
Tre Mason had his first 100 yard game as a pro against the number one rated defense of Denver. Several times he used his speed to get outside on long gainers. He also flashed some good wiggle and vision between the tackles. He was the prefect compliment to QB Shaun Hill’s passing performance. RB Benny Cunningham didn’t run much, but he caught two important third down conversions that kept the Rams on the field.
5. Don’t “Austin Davis” in the fourth quarter.
The Rams played strong in the fourth quarter and prevented the Broncos from scoring in the entire second half. They didn’t score touchdowns, but they converted on three fieldgoals to put the game out of reach. CB Trumaine Johnson’s pick was the final nail in the coffin.
Check in with us next week when the Rams take on the Chargers in San Diego.