After what seems like an eternity, the NFL Regular season finally get under way, with the Broncos heading to St. Louis for a battle with the Rams. No longer are the Rams "The Greatest Show on Turf", but they still have some formidable talent on offense and the Broncos will need to be wary of an opening day surprise like the one last year in Miami.
GAME DAY NOTES:
*--Broncos are 5-5 all-time against the Rams, 2-3 on the road
*--Denver won the last meeting, at home in 2002, 23-16
*--This marks the 4th time the Broncos are playing the Rams on opening day(1-3)
*--Denver has played once in the Dome, a 41-36 loss in 2000.
Broncos V. Rams Official Press Release for today's game.
INJURY REPORT(questionable or worse)
Denver Broncos -- Courtney Brown - knee(questionable)
St. Louis Rams -- NONE
Wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Charlie Adams, running back Cedric Cobbs, linebacker Nate Webster, offensive linemen Chris Kuper and Adam Meadows and defensive linemen Elvis Dumervil and Courtney Brown have been placed on the inactive list. It appears Shanny isn't taking any chances with Marshall and Brown on the artificial surface.
FIRST QUARTER --
*--A couple of thoughts about the Broncos forst drive -- Already too many penalties, and Scheffler needs to find the ball sooner. Looked like he lost it in the lights. Now, the defense's turn.
*--More penalties, mis-tackles, and no pressure so far on Bulger.
*--Big hit by Lynch, but Williams giving way too much room on a short 3rd down.
*--Nice D by Foxworth. Long drive, but a nice job holding the Rams to only 3.
*--Things not going very well...First fumble, though Shanny is going to try and claim the "tuck" rule and challenge the play. If not overturned, 1st and Goal Rams at the Denver 3.
*--Challenge failed...Now the Defense needs to hold!
*--Big time stop! Penalty forces a FG retry, and BAM! Missed FG. Only down 3! LET'S GO OFFENSE!
*--Another Fumble. I think we see why the Broncos are wary of Tatum. One of the worst quarters of Broncos football I have seen in awhile. Lucky to be down only 3-0.
SECOND QUARTER --
*--Great job by the defense, once again. This time Wilkins converts, and the Broncos fall behind 6-0. Still, it could be alot worse.
*--Another Turnover, and the ghosts of Plummer's past are starting to haunt the Broncos. Can the defense hold again?!? Nice shot of Cutler on the sideline by CBS.
*--The D holds AGAIN! Down 9-0. Can Plummer shake off this horrible start??
*--The Rams are one step ahead. They know exactly what is coming!
*--More bad tackling on the punt return. And once again, the Broncos look disinterested, and like it's a pre-season game.
*--Pump fake gets Williams, big play for the Rams.
*--Another blitz gets no where near Bulger. That has to be as troubling as anything.
*--Bailey gets faked out of his jock, but the Rams will have to attempt another FG. Good from 51 yards, 12-0. Broncos need some points on this drive.
*--3 and out again, and the playcalling has been as awful as the play itself.
*--Going for it? What a risky call, but they get it, barely. I guess when you have total job security you can make that call. AS it is, the drive continues.
*--The Broncos now running some screens to slow down this D-Line. The 4th down play has seemed to spark the O, as we are now eating up some yards. *--1st and Goal, after a great play by Plummer. Let's see if Bell can get his first Pro TD. The Broncos need it!
*--Great hang time for Bell! TOUCHDOWN BRONCOS! AS bad as this 1st Half has gone, to be down 12-7 is as good as it gets. Ballsy call by Shanny pays off.
Well, too many penalties, too many turnovers, some poor tackling, but a great ending to the half. I was impressed with Mike Bell, running tough with the football. Obviously, he needs to improve his blocking, but Shanny showed why he has 120+ wins by adjusting to what the Rams were doing and going to more screen plays. Now that we have weathered the storm, I like out chances in the 2nd Half.
*--Rams come out with some big plays to start the 2nd half, but the defense again holds St. Louis to a FG. Great tackle by Champ Bailey, 15-7 Rams.
*--Tatum finally breaks loose, and slowly the offense is starting to take control.
*--Big 3rd down, nice run by Tatum. Drive continues....
*--Javon, showing some rust, has a couple drops. That would have been 6! Then another drop, looks like he hurt his finger on that one. Another big 3rd Down coming up. 2 drops, then the sack to take the Broncos out of FG range. Another screen would have been nice. Now a punt.
*--Again, the Rams strike quickly, with a little bootleg. Field Goals are still points, and the Broncos need to start putting zeros on the board.
*--There we go. Good recognition on the double screen, and D-Will will get a chance to return a punt. Risky play off the bouce, but it saves field position. Let's see if Walker is back in the game.
*--Walker back in, but another drop, this time by Smith. Not a solid performance so far by a verteran offensive unit. This time they run the screen on 3rd down, but nothing doing and the Broncos will punt again.
*--Rams' penalties helping out, but the Broncos need to stop this drive now. A big challenge coming up, clearly an imcomplete pass, but you never know with NFL Officials.
*--Good Call, big stop, and no more challenges left for the Broncos. Once again the offense needs to get something stared.
*--Nice catch for Walker. We need at least 3 on this possession, but a TD would be ideal. I guess that goes without saying :)
*--The 3rd Q ends on a rediculous call. From now on, as long as the DB is going for the ball he can run over the receiver. Sure, the DB has the right to the ball, but he can't go through the receiver. Bad call, and a big 3rd down coming up.
*--Big field goal, and now the D needs another stop. A big third down coming up.
*--Nearly a fumble, but as it is a 3 and out. The Rams' defense has to be tiring. I'd love to see some play-action and a deep ball to Walker or Smith. Even Kircus.
*--There's my boy Mike Bell!! Big run and big play, but spoiled by a horrible throw by Plummer...Way too late and way too high. The defense will have to AGAIN come up big. FOUR TURNOVERS and this one is all Plummer.....
*--Big sack....Need another stop, to get the ball back. Nice play, again recognizing the screen. Another punt, and another chance for Denver to take the lead. Need a TD!
*--A stupid, stupid play, and the Rams get another chance. Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong, and once again the Broncos look undisciplined and unprepared.
*--Another big 3rd down, and this time the Broncos are burned by the screen. Again, the Rams are one step ahead, and that could be a back-breaker.
*--Even with 6+ minutes to go, this 3rd down is the ball game. Hold them to a field goal and we still have a shot, give up a TD and it's curtains.
*--So, the offense will get another shot. Let's see if we can get something going. First play, not do good, as Plummer over-throws Rod Smith.
*--Let's add horrible time-out management to the list as the Broncos will go to the last 5 minutes with only 1 timeout.
*--Great stretch by Smith, big 1st down. And that is why he'll be a HOF'er!
*-- Another drop by Walker, but with reason, as a defensive pass interference gives the Broncos a 1st Down.
*--Undisciplined play again, with the flase start on Alexander. Broncos try a scree, not one of Plummer's strong suit, as the O-Line is too quick in letting the D-line in.
*--Walker limps off as the Broncos convert a 3rd down and the drive continues.
*--And another interception for Plummer, and the Broncos will go down again. Great play by the Rams defense, and another HORRIBLE DECISION by Jake.
*--Sorry to say it, but the Rams wanted this more than the Broncos. Last 2 games for Jake -- 3 Fumbles, 5 INT's.
*--Classy coaching by Linehan not to run up the score. Not only a loss for the Broncos, but a BAD LOSS. Stay tuned for my follow-up later tonite. Thanks for participating in the Game Thread! FINAL SCORE: St.Lous 18 -- Denver 10.