Five things to know from Rams-Broncos
Ever the perfectionist, Peyton Manning momentarily stepped back
on the field long after his night was concluded just so he could
lob a few more passes in a steady drizzle.
The Denver Broncos’ quarterback made his reappearance during a
break in the action to hone his ”wet-ball mechanics,” coach John
Fox joked after a 27-26 preseason win over the St. Louis Rams on
Utilizing an up-tempo offense, Manning & Co. were virtually
unstoppable against the Rams’ starting defense.
That is, until the Broncos stopped themselves by turning the
ball over four times, including a fumble from Ronnie Hillman which
rookie linebacker Alec Ogletree scooped up and returned for a
”It’s disappointing when you don’t take care of the ball,”
said Manning, who finished 25 of 34 for 234 yards, a TD and an
interception. ”Four turnovers in a game is not what you want to
Here are five things we learned from a game in which the Broncos
(2-1) and Rams (0-3) played a bulk of their starters in the first
1. GROUND PROBLEMS: Just when it looked like Hillman had the
starting job all but locked up, he fumbled. Again.
For the second straight game, Hillman’s turnover was returned
for a TD. The week before in Seattle, Hillman’s miscue at the goal
line was taken 106 yards for a score.
This time, Ogletree ripped the ball out of Hillman’s hands and
trotted 13 yards for a score.
”I still have great confidence,” Fox said of Hillman.
Meanwhile, rookie Montee Ball had a productive game, rushing for
43 yards and a score. Knowshon Moreno was solid, too, finishing
with 33 yards rushing. He added another 42 on three catches.
2. ELECTRIC AUSTIN: Rookie Tavon Austin showed his
explosiveness, fielding a punt in the first quarter and racing 81
yards. Had his blockers been able to actually block punter Britton
Colquitt, Austin could’ve scored. No worries, though, Sam Bradford
threw a short TD pass on the next play.
Austin returned two punts for 104 yards. He also had one catch
for 12 yards.
”I felt good for the most part,” Austin said.
3. STILL MILLER’S TIME: Even though he’s staring at a six-game
suspension, defensive end/linebacker Von Miller played a majority
of the first half with the first-team unit. The Pro Bowler finished
After the game, Miller declined to talk about his
With Miller soon to be sidelined for violating the NFL’s
drug-abuse policy, Shaun Phillips will be counted on to step
”I didn’t come here to be a cheerleader,” Phillips said.
4. ELITE COMPANY: The youthful St. Louis secondary is receiving
quite an early test. Last week, the Rams went up against Aaron
Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. On Saturday, it was Manning.
”He’s a heck of a player and it’s good to see him in the
preseason,” defensive end Chris Long said.
It doesn’t get any easier on Thursday when the Rams face Joe
Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens.
”We have a young secondary, so I think it gives our guys a
chance to play against the best,” linebacker James Laurinaitis
5. NOT SO SPECIAL TEAMS: The Broncos surrendered a long return,
had a field goal attempted blocked and muffed a punt. Not exactly a
stellar night for the special teams.
However, Lerentee McCray did get a hand on a Brett Baer punt
late in the game that set up what would be the Broncos’ winning
”It’s all disconcerting,” Fox said. ”It’s something we will
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