Sam Bradford- Bradford played the best game of his young career yesterday. Going into the game, the Broncos had the worst run defense in the NFL, and had a 'middle of the pack' pass defense; however, Bradford made it look like the exact opposite. Steven Jackson was getting stuffed up the middle all day, but Bradford was able to pick apart the secondary, as he racked up 308 yards and three touchdowns.
The Receivers- The Rams seemed to be doomed at wide-receiver ever since the injury to Mark Clayton. But ever since the San Francisco game, Brandon Gibson and Laurent Robinson have stepped up their game. However, the real stand out yesterday was Danario Alexander.
Billy Devaney mentioned that Alexander is a very resilient person, and it showed yesterday. Yesterday was Alexander's first game back after undergoing his fifth knee surgery, yet he was able to record four catches for 95 yards (including a 45 yard bomb). If Alexander can stay healthy for the remainder of the season, then he will truly be an asset for the Rams as they battle for the NFC West title.
It wasn't just the wide-receivers either. Mike Hoomanawanui proved that he can truly be a weapon for this offense, as he caught a 36 yard touchdown for his sole catch of the day. The only downside is that Hoomanawanui was injured early in the game and did not return, he has been battling injury for the majority of the season. But even though they lost Big Mike, tight-end Billy Bajema was able to step up and fill his shoes. Bajema, who is known primarily for his blocking (as oppose to receiving), caught three passes for 32 yards and two touchdowns.
Pat Shurmur- Shurmur called a really good game for at least three quarters. The return of Alexander really gave him confidence in calling the deep ball, and it really helped to spark the offense. He also used some effective creativity with Danny Amendola. Amendola got three carries on reverse style plays, which resulted in 48 yards. However...
Pat Shurmur- Shurmur's play calling really went down hill in the fourth quarter. Since the team still won, this wouldn't be so bad IF it was not a reoccurring theme with Shurmur. On the final drive of the game a first down would've won the game... so he ran the ball three times in a row, despite the fact that the Denver defense was stuffing the run in the fourth quarter. I realize that they wanted to kill time, but the Denver offense was red hot at that point, so they should have gone for the win. He was able to squeak by with a victory this week, and also in the game against San Diego; but it cost them the games against Tampa Bay and San Francisco, and it could very well cost them some games in the future.
The Defense- The defense was able to get some big stops throughout the game, but it still was not one of their best games in 2010. The pass defense was non-existent in the fourth quarter; receivers were making big catches with no one even near them. The Rams' pass defense is just as much at fault for Denver's fourth quarter near-comeback as Shurmur's play calling. The run defense wasn't too hot either, as Denver averaged six yards per attempt, including a touchdown.
Josh Brown- It would not be smart to replace him at this point in the season, but I think it would be great to give Brown some competition in training camp next year. The Rams fake field-goal attempt against the 49er's (which was actually a punt) was the difference in that game, and could possibly be a sign that the coaches don't have a lot of faith in Brown when the attempt is more that 50 yards. He missed field-goals in the first three games at very doable distances (the miss against Oakland was the difference in the game), and yesterday he missed another field-goal, as well as an extra-point.
Milestones- Not only was yesterday's win the first road victory for the Rams in 2010, but it was also their first road win in Denver since 1979. They play in different conferences, but still... that's definitely ugly.
STATS FROM YESTERDAY