The Denver Broncos host the Los Angeles Rams in the third preseason game of the season. Trevor Siemian gets the start, while Paxton Lynch will get some quality time with the first team offense. Mark Sanchez will finish things out.
The quarterback drama will likely supersede other storylines, but many players will determine their fates in this game as the Broncos will need to cut the roster down heavily in the coming days.
The Rams got the ball first. From their own 17 yard-line, Bradley Roby ended a short pass to open things up. Adam Gotsis was blown up on second down, but the Broncos defense swarmed to hold Bennie Cunningham to short gain. Then, of course, Von Miller exploded off the edge for the third down sack of Case Keenum.
Trevor Siemian’s turn.
Siemian led the Broncos first series, who promptly handed off to C.J. Anderson for a short loss. Another handoff to Anderson for a solid gain put the Broncos at midfield for a third down and three. Instead of trying to get the first down with a four wide receiver set, Siemian hands off to Anderson for another loss. Broncos end their first drive with a three and out.
A muffed punt was recovered by the Rams, so a little luck on their side early in the first quarter.
From their own 14, the Rams tried to run inside and were promptly stuffed. On second down, Kenny Britt appeared to beat Chris Harris Jr. for a big gain over the middle for 19 yards. After a five-yard run from Bennie Cunningham, Keenum hits a tight end on a screen for a big gain out past midfield.
Darius Kilgo blew up the next rush attempt to setup second and nine for the Rams. Von Miller got into the face of Keenum again to force an errant throw that was nearly intercepted by Shaquil Barrett down the field. On third and long, the pass rush was there again and Keenum one-hopped a throw to end the drive.
An excellent punt would pin Siemian and the Broncos back to their own one yard line. Siemian drew the Rams offsides on first down, but three straight runs would net two yards and a punt.
A solid punt set the Rams up at their own 42 yard line, but a holding penalty pushed them back even further.
The fortunate for the Broncos did not last as Keenum hit his tight end again for a huge gain, beating Todd Davis in coverage down to around the Broncos 35 yard line. After another first down, the Broncos defense was burned by another tight end for a first down inside the red zone.
The Broncos defense stiffened to force a field goal.
Rams 3, Broncos 0.
The Broncos at this point has run the ball 11 times to 0 passes.
Siemian’s first pass was too high for Demaryius Thomas and nearly intercepted. Siemian’s next pass was on target, but Thomas dropped it as he clearly pulled up expecting a big hit from a defender. The trust is clearly not there with Thomas and Siemian. On third down and ten, Siemian hit Emmanuel Sanders on a short slant who was able to dive forward for the first down.
The first quarter comes to an end with a solid eight yard gain from Devontae Booker.
Siemian pushed the ball deep for the first time since the first preseason game, but the ball was off target and Thomas caught the ball out of bounds. Siemian again threw the ball short of the sticks an the Broncos were setup with a fourth and inches attempt. Anderson was stuffed and the Rams took over on downs.
Aqib Talib finally got into the action, hitting Keenum hard just as he was running out of bounds drawing a personal foul to set the Rams up in field goal range. Kayvon Webster nearly picked the ball off two players later, but the Broncos defense stood up to force a field goal.
Rams 6, Broncos 0.
Siemian still in the game despite anemic offensive production. On his next drive, he began pushing the ball further down the field with two intermediate passes in a row for positive gains. The first to Thomas and the second to Sanders.
Anderson then takes the ball for seven yards down to the Rams 40 yard line. Siemian tried to go deep to Cody Latimer in double coverage, but was intercepted by the Rams. The referees called it an interception, but a replay clearly showed the ball hitting the ground.
Number one overall pick, Jared Goff, comes in at quarterback for the first time deep in his own territory. On third down, Goff thought about running for the first down but smartly slid short as T.J. Ward was about to end his life.
On the Broncos next possession, which came against the Rams second team defense, Siemian dinked and dunked his way down to the Rams 35 yard line before Anderson burst through for a big 12 yard gain. Anderson then ripped off another huge gain down to the Rams 7 yard line to setup a first and goal. Another Anderson run puts the Broncos on the Rams one yard line.
Instead of punching it in with a run, the Broncos go pass with Siemian running a play action fake to find a wide open Virgil Green for the touchdown.
Broncos 7, Rams 6.
The Rams followed up with a solid drive as Goff pushed the ball downfield to get them into field goal range by the 2-minute warning. The first team defense is still on the field for the Broncos, which means the Rams were in for some bad news at some point during this drive.
The bad news came in the form of an offensive pass interference on third down, so on third and 15 the defense stopped the Rams from converting but were called on a ticky tack personal foul call to give the Rams a first down.
A near pick-six from Darian Stewart was dropped. It was a perfectly played, but he could not hold onto it. The ensuing third down set the Rams back with a false start and the Broncos finally made the stop with less than a minute to go in the half.
Rams kick the field goal.
Rams 9, Broncos 7.
Siemian continued to be the Broncos quarterback late in the second quarter. He continued to dink and dunk, but it continued to work. On third down and one, he finally hit in an intermediate throw down the field to Thomas who caught it one-handed for a huge gain into Rams territory and into field goal range.
Then disaster almost struck as Siemian made a terrible read and was nearly picked. The near interception could have been returned for a touchdown had the defender held onto it.
Brandon McManus hits a 50-yard field goal to end the half.
Trevor Siemian finished the half completing 10/17 passes for 122 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Broncos 10, Rams 9.
Paxton Lynch’s turn.
Ever the slow starter, Lynch led the offense to a quick three and out to start the first half. The Broncos second team defense stood up in response, ending the Rams drive with a third down sack from Dekoda Watson of Goff.
Lynch and the offense got things going after a holding call with a screen pass to Booker for 16 yards to setup a third and one, which Booker took for the first down on a short gain on the next play.
The Broncos got the ball just inside the Rams red zone after Lynch connected with DeVier Posey. On second and give, Ronnie Hillman gets the nod finally and ran the ball down inside the ten yard line to setup first and goal. On the next play, Hillman ran it up the middle for a nice touchdown to cap a 58-yard drive.
Broncos 17, Rams 9.
The Broncos defense began to falter with the third teamers out there as Goff and the Rams offense quickly advance past the 50 yard line with two penalties on the Broncos secondary to keep the drive going.
From the Broncos 35 yard line, Vontarius Dora stuck Goff pretty good to setup a third and long. The defense stiffened to hold the Rams short of the first down stick. On fourth and two, the Rams decided to go for the first down, which they were unable to convert. Kayvon Webster broke the intended pass up to get the ball back to Lynch and the offense.
After Lynch scrambled for six yards and Booker another two, the Broncos on third down went to shotgun where Lynch completely overthrew Khalif Raymond for a potential first down conversion.
The Rams promptly went three and out punting to the Broncos 27 yard-line. Lynch missed just inches on hitting Jordan Taylor deep down the middle of the field. Two incompletions later, the Broncos punted.
Again, the Broncos defense comes up big early to force a third down attempt, but Zaire Anderson was late on coverage assignments with the Rams running back who gained the first down on a pass.
Watson gets himself another sack after Henry Melton nearly pulled the Rams quarterback down to setup a third and 19. Watson then followed up with speed rush on the outside with another sack to end the Rams drive.
Dekoda Watson is making the final roster. He’s just too damn good.
Lynch almost connected with Mose Fraizer on a circus-like catch, but he landed with only one foot in bounds. On third and two, Lynch misfires on the third down pass to Durron Neal.
Another three and out for the Rams, gets the ball back in Lynch’s hands. He immediately handed off to Hillman who broke loose on the outside for over a 20 yard gain.
Kapri Bibbs was stuffed at the line and another Lynch incompletion set the Broncos up with a third and ten from the Rams 45. Lynch throws well short of the sticks to Bralon Addison who comes up two yards short of the first down.
The Broncos go for it on fourth down, but Kyle Roberts got hit with a false start. Broncos punt. Roberts could be cut in the next two days for that one.
On the very next play, Terrance McGee breaks loose on a run where he forced three missed tackles for a 73 yard run to setup a first and goal at the Broncos 7 yard line. The Broncos defensive pride comes out with a third down sack by Sedat Sulleyman. On fourth down and goal from the 12, Brandon Ross came in like a bullet to break up a pass at the goal line to cap an impressive stand by the Broncos third team defense.
Bibbs gets the ball on the first two plays to setup a third and long. Lynch finally gets into a rhythm hitting Fraizer for a first down. They would not convert the next series and punted away to the Rams. The Rams failed to convert a first down with a strip sack from Sulleyman to end the drive.
Lynch finished the game 6/13 for 57 yards and did lead the Broncos to a touchdown drive.