In one of the biggest upsets of this NFL season, the Broncos are heading home from St. Louis licking their wounds, having suffered an ugly loss and having lost some key players in the process.
Injuries to tight end Julius Thomas, running back Montee Ball and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders significantly slowed down the Broncos’ offense, which over the last couple years has been the best in the NFL. Today, a previously mediocre Rams defense shut the Broncos down, and St. Louis won 22-7.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning topped 300 passing yards, as he so often does, but the Rams got to him in many of the game’s biggest moments, sacking him twice and intercepting him twice. This was one of Manning’s worst games as a Bronco.
Rams quarterback Shaun Hill, who was given the starting job when Austin Davis was benched last week, did what the Rams needed him to do, playing efficient and turnover-free football. Hill was also efficient when handing off to rookie running back Tre Mason, who had his first 100-yard game. Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein went 5-for-5 on field goals, and his 55- and 53-yard kicks in the fourth quarter helped the Rams put the game away.
The Rams are probably too far out of it to make a run to the playoffs, but give them credit for a big game today. The Broncos, on the other hand, are still in the lead in the AFC West, but this loss could hurt them going forward. And it has to be a concern in Denver that over their last three games, the Broncos have played well only for one fairly short stretch, against the Raiders. After looking like a great team for much of this season, the Broncos now look like anything but.