Rams add to Broncos' embarrassment, win 36-33
Sunday, November 28, 2010
DENVER (AP) — Busted one day, beaten the next.
Rookie Sam Bradford had his first 300-yard game and tossed three touchdown passes as the St. Louis Rams escaped Denver with a 36-33 win Sunday, a little more than a day after the NFL fined the Broncos and their coach in a videotaping scandal.
There was more than a smattering of boos when Broncos embattled coach Josh McDaniels was introduced before the game.
There were also signs in the crowd calling for his firing following latest embarrassment that also resulted in the firing of video operations director Steve Scarnecchia, who broke NFL rules by taping a San Francisco practice in London last month. The Broncos and McDaniels were each fined $50,000.
A 33-3 run by the Rams (5-6) gave St. Louis a seemingly safe 33-13 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the Broncos (3-8) scored on the first play of the final quarter and pulled to 36-33 on Brandon Lloyd's TD catch from Kyle Orton with 2:35 remaining — by then, most of the fans had bolted Invesco Field.
After a 10-yard penalty for batting the onside kick out of bounds, Rams linebacker Chris Chamberlain cradled Matt Prater's rekick. But the Rams were forced to punt and David Bruton got his hand on the ball and it went just 21 yards to the Denver 34 with 1:06 left.
The Broncos had a sack, a dropped pass, an overthrow and a pressured incompletion as the Rams secured just their second road win in coach Steve Spagnuolo's second season.
With the win, St. Louis moved into a tie with Seattle for first place in the NFC West.
Bradford was 22 of 37 for 308 yards, three TDs and no interceptions in his first road win as a pro.
The Broncos took a 10-0 lead but, just like last week in San Diego, their opponent made the adjustments and Denver didn't counter, resulting in the team's 16th loss in 21 games.
The Rams scored touchdowns on three straight drives and kicked two short field goals to take a 26-13 halftime lead.
The Rams began blitzing to thwart Orton's screen passes and on offense they went to work on an aging secondary and exploited the Broncos with touchdown tosses to their tight ends on three straight drives.
Michael Hoomanawanui rumbled into the end zone for a 36-yard score after slipping safety Brian Dawkins at the 13. Dawkins was badly beaten on two plays on Monday night last week.
After Prater's second long field goal gave Denver a 13-7 lead, Bradford scrambled to his left long enough for Bill Bajema to shake linebacker D.J. Williams and haul in a 2-yard TD pass.
Bajema was uncovered on a 26-yard TD catch on the Rams' next drive that made it 20-13. Josh Brown's extra point bounced off the right upright.
Broncos kick returner Eddie Royal decided not to bring the ensuing line drive out of the end zone and the Broncos went three-and-out. Brown's 28-yard field goal made it 23-13 with just under a minute left in the first half.
This time, Royal returned the kick and Jerome Murphy stripped him and recovered the fumble at the Broncos 23, leading to Brown's 37-yarder that gave the Rams a 26-13 lead at the break.
One play after Steven Jackson walked off holding his left shoulder, Kenneth Darby scored untouched from a yard out for a 33-13 lead. The drive began on the Denver 31 after Na'il Diggs recovered Knowshon Moreno's fumble.
Brown was wide right on a 45-yarder and three plays later, Orton hit Lloyd down the right sideline for a 41-yard score that made it 33-20 and breathed some life into the Broncos.
The Rams responded with a long drive that resulted in Brown's 26-yarder that made it 36-20.
Royal's 16-yard TD with five minutes left was followed by Jabar Gaffney's dropped conversion pass that left Denver trailing by two scores, 36-26.