Here we are 5/8 of the way through the 2014 NFL season. Once more, we are bringing you a brief look at what I believe to be the best and worst games played against each of the Broncos' 2014 opponents. Feel free to disagree with my choices and share your own views in the comments section. Let's lift up Denver's great (and bummer) moments to keep the history, traditions and rivalries stoked. It should be noted that in many cases the choice was made based upon the final margin of victory (or defeat).
Denver vs the St. Louis Rams
Best Game: September 14, 1997
Score: Denver 35, St. Louis 14
What made this game great: Denver's margin of victory in this game (21 points) was almost as great as the margin of victory in the Broncos' other four victories over St. Louis combined (27 points -- 6, 3, 11 and 7). This victory came in the third week of the 1997 season -- it was the third consecutive win to open the season in what would go on to be a six-game winning streak. The game started out close with each team scoring a touchdown in the first quarter. The Broncos added a second score in the second quarter to take a 14-7 halftime lead. Darrien Gordon added a third touchdown on a 94-yard punt return in the third quarter to give Denver a 21-7 lead. John Elway threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes (one to Rod Smith and one to Ed McCaffrey) to put the game well out of reach at 35-7. The Rams were able to muster one final score. While each team turned the ball over twice and St. Louis came close to matching Denver in total yards (St. Louis 314 to Denver's 377), the Broncos' defense only allowed 1 third-down conversion out of 10 Rams' tries. In fact, Denver's defense forced the Rams to go 3-and-out on 6 of their 13 drives.
Worst Game: November 28, 2010
Score: St. Louis 36, Denver 33
What made this game horrible: This game was simply one more depressing example of the type of play that brought an end to the Josh McDaniels experiment in the Mile High City. This is a game in which the Broncos simply imploded. They ran up more yards than St. Louis (449-431), gained more yards per play (7.2 to 5.8) and matched the Rams in first downs with 24 each. That said, the Broncos could not convert on third down (1 for 9) and killed two drives with fumbles (the Denver defense did not have a takeaway in this game). The Broncos also led 7-0 (on a Knowshon Moreno 4-yard run), 10-0 (on a Matt Prater 49-yard field goal), 10-7 and 13-7 (on a second Prater field goal) in the second quarter. Then the wheels came off as Denver gave up 26 unanswered points (19 in the second quarter, 7 in the third) to trail 33-13 at the end of three quarters of play. The Broncos closed the gap to 33-20 when Kyle Orton connected with Brandon Lloyd on a 41-yard touchdown pass. Denver's defense, however, allowed the Rams to march down the field for a field goal and a 36-20 lead. The Broncos did look like they might rally late in the fourth quarter when Orton led them on two touchdown drives, the second closing the deficit to 36-33 with 2:35 left to play. The defense made a stand to force a 3-and-out, but the Broncos finished the game with off-setting penalties followed by a sack followed by three straight incomplete passes.
This will be the first meeting of these two teams since that horrible 2010 game. St. Louis currently holds the series edge with seven wins against five losses. The Rams have won three of the last four meetings. Not only that, but Denver has never beaten them in St. Louis. The Broncos will need to dig deep and be very careful to take care of business against a Rams team that has upset both Seattle and San Francisco in recent weeks. This could easily become a trap game, especially if the Broncos start out the same way they did against Oakland.
Editor's Note: FanDuel is hosting a one-week $500,000 fantasy football league this weekend. It's $10 to join and first place wins $40,000. League starts Sunday 1 PM ET and ends on Monday night. Here's the link.