Sunday, November 28, 2010

Rams squeak by for their first road win, beating Denver 36-33

It looked to be a typical 2010 Rams road game. Denver managed to gain a 10-0 lead in the first quarter with a RB Knowshon Moreno touchdown, as well as a field-goal. In fact, Denver gained 120 yards before St. Louis could even gain 10.

The offense got back on track later in the first quarter, as QB Sam Bradford hit TE Mike Hoomanawanui for a 36-yard touchdown. The first quarter ended with Denver ahead 10-7.

Denver increased their lead to 13-7 with a field-goal, but the Broncos' offense disappeared for a long time after that. St. Louis got the ball back, and they were able to score five different times before Denver touched the scoreboard again.

The first of the five scores came off of a 2-yard touchdown reception by TE Billy Bajema, and the Rams were suddenly winning 14-13. Bajema then caught his second touchdown, a 26-yard pass from Bradford, making the score 20-13 (Brown missed the extra-point) The next two drives following Bajema's second touchdown resulted in Josh Brown field-goals, making the score 26-13 to end the half.

The Rams then took a commanding lead in the second half. The Rams recovered a Moreno fumble in Broncos' territory. RB Steven Jackson then broke free for a 20-yard gain, and the drive ended with a RB Kenneth Darby touchdown on the 1-yard line, giving the Rams a comfortable 33-13 lead. Darby was in the game after Jackson fell on his injured hand the previous play, but Jackson was eventually able to return.

The Rams' luck ran out in the 4th quarter (at least for the most part). With Pat Shurmur's play calling, there is no such thing as a safe lead. Sure, he called a good game the first thee quarter, but it was against a sub-par defense. His play calling, as well as poor execution, almost coughed up the game.

Denver WR Brandon Lloyd got the first score of the fourth quarter, catching a 42-yard touchdown pass from QB Kyle Orton. The Rams answered back with a field-goal, and the score was then 36-20.

Denver receiver Eddie Royal then provided a spark for the Denver offense. Royal converted third-downs left and right, and his streak was topped off with a 16-yard touchdown, but the two-point conversion failed, making the score 36-26 (Rams still on top).

The Rams' anemic fourth quarter offense gave the ball right back into the hand of the hot Denver offense. The Rams defense left receivers wide open, and the Broncos were able to make big completions until the drive was completed by Lloyd, who caught his second touchdown of the day. This made the score 36-33, putting Denver a field-goal away from sending the game into overtime with 1:29 left in the quarter.

Following Llyod's touchdown, Denver attempted an onside-kick, which was recovered the the Rams' LB Chris Chamberlain, giving the ball back to the Rams. The Rams then displayed possibly the most pathetic play calling/execution combination in history. Even though the fourth quarter rushing offense was anemic and unproductive, and even though a first down would've sealed the game, Pat Shurmur inexplicably called a run play... three times in a row, for a whopping four total yards. The Rams were then forced to punt, and P Donnie Jones' kick was tipped, which gave the red hot Denver offense a perfect opportunity to send the game into overtime, or even win it.

Fortunately for the Rams, the defense came up big for the first time in the fourth quarter. With 1:00 on the clock, DE Chris Long broke through for a sack on first down, which killed 20 seconds off the clock. Three incompletion's later Denver turned the ball over on downs, and the Rams took a knee to secure their first road win of the season.

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