Broncos 27, Rams 26
The Denver Broncos were running up and down the field at
breakneck speed, taking an incredible 49 snaps in the first half.
Yet, Alec Ogletree felt like things were moving in slow motion.
”I had a great week of practice and each week I’ve been trying
to get the game to be a little bit slower. So this week, the game
was definitely a lot slower for me,” Ogletree said after starring
in St. Louis’ 27-26 loss to Denver in a preseason game Saturday
The rookie linebacker ruined Ronnie Hillman’s night with a
strip-and-score takeaway and kept Peyton Manning from turning all
those passes into points with a big interception.
Wrapped up by Cortland Finnegan, Hillman turned his back to his
tackler, exposing the ball. Ogletree ripped it from his arms,
scooped it up and trotted 13 yards for the score one week after
Hillman’s fumble at the goal line was returned 106 yards for a
touchdown in Seattle.
”I still have great confidence,” in the ground game, Broncos
coach John Fox said. ”I personally thought his progress was
So did Manning, but the whistle wasn’t blown.
”They didn’t call it, so I guess that wasn’t the call,”
Manning said. ”It wasn’t an easy play by any means when they hold
you up. It’s not the most ideal position to be in. So, good play by
them and Ronnie will learn from it and I think he’ll be better for
Manning completed 25 of 34 passes for 234 yards in one half, but
Ogletree’s pickoff just before halftime set up Greg Zuerlein’s
58-yarder field goal that gave the Rams a 20-10 lead at the
”I’m not sure I wouldn’t have thrown that 99 times out of
100,” Manning said. ”That guy made a pretty athletic play. That
guy’s got long arms, obviously got a pretty wide wingspan. I was
surprised he was able to get his hands on the ball.”
Ogletree also had a half-dozen tackles and two pass breakups in
his breakout preseason performance.
The backups played through a driving rain in the second half,
Lance Ball’s 5-yard TD run with 3:43 left proving the
Despite Manning’s gaudy statistics, big blunders by the
backfield and special teams hurt the Broncos.
After Ogletree’s fumble return gave St. Louis a 17-7 lead,
rookie Montee Ball, trying to unseat Hillman as Denver’s featured
running back, dropped a wide-open pass from Manning at the Rams 13
as the Broncos settled for a field goal.
”I got too antsy. I smelled the end zone and I took my eyes off
it for a second to find the defenders,” Ball said. ”But you’ve
got to catch the football first.”
Ball’s 1-yard TD run against backups in the third quarter made
After allowing a TD kickoff return of 107 yards at Seattle, the
Broncos watched Tavon Austin scoot 88 yards before punter Britton
Colquitt corralled the electric rookie at the 3. They also had a
field goal attempt blocked.
Sam Bradford followed Austin’s big return with a strike to Jared
Cook for a quick 7-0 St. Louis lead. He finished 9 of 16 for 110
Denver tied it at 7 when Manning rolled right on fourth-and-1
from the 6 and hit Demaryius Thomas in the back of the end zone.
The Broncos stalled at the Rams 16 on their next drive and T.J.
McDonald got a hand on Matt Prater’s 34-yard field goal try.
Ever the pragmatist, Manning donned his helmet and glove on his
right hand and threw several passes on the sideline during a
driving rain in the fourth quarter.
”No, he had no intentions of going in,” Fox said. ”He was
just practicing his wet-ball mechanics.”
Von Miller, the Broncos’ All-Pro linebacker who is facing a long
suspension for violating the NFL’s drug-abuse policy, played at
defensive end the entire first half, and Fox plans on playing next
week, too, when most of the starters sit.
”The league suspended him six games,” Fox said. ”I wasn’t
going to suspend him for eight.”
The Rams wrap up the preseason against Baltimore.
”I think it’s been a blessing this preseason for us because
we’ve gotten to play against Aaron Rodgers last week, Peyton this
week and we get Joe Flacco on Thursday,” Rams linebacker James
Laurinaitis said. ”We have a young secondary, so I think it gives
our guys a chance to play against the best.”
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