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Rams 23, Broncos 20: Four-game losing streak official despite late scoring drives

With the season slipping away, the Denver Broncos host the high-flying Los Angeles Rams in Week 6.

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NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos defense gave up some big plays against the high-octane offense of the Los Angeles Rams, but when the chips were on the table they gave up field goals more often than touchdowns, keeping the Rams to just 23-points - the first time the Rams have been held to under 30 all season.

Unfortunately, the Broncos offense could not get anything going offensively until late. And that proved too little, too late for Denver. Case Keenum continued to be ineffective as a passer and Bill Musgrave again held the rushing attack to fewer than 20 carries.

The 23-20 defeat is a four-game losing streak for the Broncos as they head into a short week to face a road game against the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football.

First Quarter

The Los Angeles Rams won the opening coin toss and elected to defer, giving the Denver Broncos the ball first to start the game.

Case Keenum handed off to Royce Freeman twice to open their first drive for a total of three yards to put the Broncos into a third and long. Keenum had the ball knocked from his hands and he picked it up and panic threw it at an orange jersey that had a white jersey in front of him for the near interception.

Not a good start for the Broncos offense.

Jared Goff opened the game from the empty set, but Tramaine Brock had tight coverage on Brandin Cooks to force the throwaway on first down. Brock was beaten by Robert Woods on second down for a 14-yard gain and a first down.

Goff airs it out to Cooks on the next play who was wide open to set the Rams up at the Broncos 11-yard line after a 44-yard catch and run.

From an empty set, Goff tried to pass to Todd Gurley who was running across the formation, which he dropped. After a short pass into the flat to Gurley, the Rams were faced with a third and six.

Goff went empty set again, looking for Gereld Everett where the pass was broken up by Will Parks to force the field goal.

Rams 3, Broncos 0.

A quick screen pass outside to Phillip Lindsay got the Broncos a quick 12-yards on first down. Keenum rolled outside on the next play and found Lindsay for a short three-yard gain. On second and seven, Freeman was stuffed for no gain.

Keenum threw it short of the sticks to Emmanuel Sanders who was tackled immediately to force another punt.

Colby Wadman made a solid kick to pin the Rams at their own eight-yard line to start their next drive.

Toddy Gurley got his first carry of the game and was able to gash the Broncos defense up the middle for a 21-yard gain on first down. Gurley took the next hand-off for another 10-yards on the very next play.

From their own 39-yard line, Gurley took another hand-off for four yards on first down. Goff went play-action on second down, but the Broncos coverage held up for what seemed like forever forcing Goff to throw the ball away to bring up a third and six.

Goff looked for Robert Woods who beat Bradley Roby badly across the middle who caught the ball and ran for a 28-yard gain into Broncos territory.

On first down, Gurley muscled through the first tackle attempt for a three-yard gain. Gurley broke another tackle for a five-yard gain to setup a third and short well within field goal range. Goff went with play-action on third down, but had his pass broken up by Chris Harris Jr. to force another field goal attempt.

Rams 6, Broncos 0.

Connor McGovern got his first action in on offense and threw a huge block to spring Sanders free on a bubble screen for a first down to start the Broncos next drive.

An inside hand-off to Lindsay gained two-yards on first down, then Keenum with a spread offense found Lindsay on a short pass over the middle who turned it up field for a ten-yard gain and another Broncos first down.

Freeman finally got a respectable gain with a five-yard gain on first down across midfield. Keenum aired it out to Sanders for the 44-yard touchdown. Sanders was penalized for a taunting call afterwards, but the Broncos take the lead.

After review, the refs decided to change the call to a first and goal at the one yard line. Sadly, the taunting penalty pushed the Broncos back to the 16-yard line.

On first down, Freeman gained a yard, then Lindsay burst through the middle for a four-yard gain. On third and give, Keenum was flushed out of the pocket and overthrew Jeff Heuerman to end the drive.

Rams 6, Broncos 3.

Second Quarter

After a solid kickoff return, the Rams will start the second quarter out past their own 30-yard line.

Todd Gurley took the first down carry for 29-yards and a first down into Broncos territory. He would follow that up with another five-yard gain. Gurley would take the pitch on the next play and broke multiple tackles for another big 14-yard gain and a first down.

From the Broncos 19-yard line, Goff rolled outside and took off running for a three-yard gain on first down. On second and seven, Goff handed off to Malcom Brown for a five-yard gain to setup a third and short as Gurley trotted back onto the field after a short rest.

Gurley would power his way through to the Broncos nine-yard line for a near first down. On fourth and inches, the Rams called a timeout to think things over. Goff would give it to Gurley who would run into the end zone untouched.

Rams 13, Broncos 3.

A timely three and out would be how the Broncos offense normally responds to these kinds of opponent scoring drives.

Keenum would whiff on a wide open pass to Heuerman on first down, but an offsides on the Rams at least gave the Broncos five-yards on their second down try.

A play-action had Keenum holding the ball too long and he had his pass deflected incomplete, but a pass interference call on Jason Peters who interfered with Demaryius Thomas on the play gave the Broncos a first down.

Near midfield, Keenum tossed it outside quickly for a nine-yard gain on first down. Keenum starts up the hurry-up offense and handed off to Freeman for a six-yard gain and a first down.

A short pass over the middle to Freeman went for eight-yards, but a timely Garett Bolles holding call set the Broncos back in an unfavorable down and distance. On first and 20, a high pass to Lindsay short was incomplete.

The drive killing holding penalty by Max Garcia negated an 18-yard catch and run by Devontae Booker to setup a second and 30.

Keenum from the empty set throws it short over the middle to no one for the incomplete pass. A short pass to Heuerman for 11-yards ended the drive as the crowd booed the offense off the field as the punting unit came on the field.

The Wadman punt was downed at the 14-yard line, but bad field position doesn’t seem to matter against this Rams offense.

A jet sweep to Chris Kupp went for 12-yards, but a horse collar penalty by Darian Stewart made it 27-yards. Kupp was carted off the field after the play with what could be a broken leg on the play.

Roby blew up a throw outside for a two-yard loss on first down. Goff looked over the middle to Woods who caught the ball in tight coverage for 13-yards and a first down across midfield.

Bradley Chubb forced Goff inside who was pulled down by Von Miller and Stewart for the sack on first down right at midfield.

On second and 13, Goff had his pass to Woods knocked away by Will Parks over the middle. From third and long, Goff looked for Gereld Everett over the middle for a catch and run for 11-yards to force a fourth and two.

The Rams made a fake of a punt formation, but let the clock run out and punted for real to DaeSean Hamilton who fair caught it at the 13-yard line.

Lindsay took the first down run for eight yards, but Keenum threw it outside to Lindsay who was blown up as he caught the ball. However, he somehow maintained his balance and surged for a couple yards and a first-down.

A pitch outside to Freeman saw a few whiffed blocks and a short two-yard gain. Keenum, from the empty set, tossed it short inside for a five-yard gain as the clock wound down towards the two-minute warning.

Lindsay pushed through a nine-yard gain and the Broncos first third-down conversion of the game on that carry.

A few plays later, Keenum was faced with a third and five from their own 45-yard line and an inside hand-off to Booker went for eight yards and a first down.

A quick outside pass to Matt LaCosse went for seven-yards on first down with 57 seconds left in the first half. On second down, Keenum aired it to a wide open LaCosse that was overthrown.

On third and three, Keenum went deep to Sanders who was double-covered and the ball was badly overthrown again to bring up fourth down.

The Broncos go for it and predictably, Keenum takes the sack. With 46 seconds left, the Rams now have an opportunity to put up more points heading into halftime.

On the Rams first play, however, Von Miller and Bradley Chubb converge on Goff for the sack for a six-yard loss. On second and 16, Cooks makes a reception outside for a quick 10-yards for a more manageable third down.

Goff from the shotgun was corralled by Chubb again for the sack to force the punt.

After the punt, Chad Kelly trotted on the field to take a knee. The crowd goes nuts, but that might just be a troll by Vance Joseph to end the half.

Third Quarter

The Rams will receive the ball first to start the second half.

Coming out of the half, the Rams offense got things going quickly getting out past their own 40-yard line before two incomplete passes put them into a third and 10 situation.

Goff, from the shotgun, found a wide open Everett, but the pass was poor and landed incomplete to force a punt that was downed at the two-yard line to put the Broncos offense in a very unfavorable field position.

Ronald Leary was shaken up on the first play as Keenum’s errant pass fell incomplete. From their own two yard line, you would think they would run the ball on first down. Bill Musgrave is playing checkers while the rest of us are thinking chess.

On second down, Keenum throw it high and deep that fell right into the bucket for Demaryius Thomas for a whooping 45-yard gain. Sometimes checkers involves some double jumps. This was a double jump. Ha!

A quick toss outside to Emmanuel Sanders gained a few yards on first down. Freeman was stood up on the next play for a one-yard gain to setup a third and long for Keenum. Predictably, Keenum would then promptly take a 14-yard sack on Aaron Donald. He had a chance to throw it away, but chose to take the sack instead.

A big 26-yard punt return gave the Rams the ball out near midfield to start their next drive.

Todd Gurley got things going on the next drive with a six-yard gain on first down. However, it wasn’t long before Goff and the Rams were faced with a third and 10 from their own 42-yard line.

Goff fired a pass to Robert Woods for a 14-yard gain and a conversion into Broncos territory. A quick 12-yard pass to Everett brought the Rams into field goal range.

Gurley would rip off another 5-yard gain to setup a second and five, but an injury to Broncos defensive end Shelby Harris slowed down the drive. Harris would jog off the field and play would resume.

The running game kept on churning with Gurley dragging Bradley Chubb for another five-yards and a third down. Gurley would take the pitch outside and juke Trumaine Brock for a 25-yard gain to setup a first and goal for the Rams.

After a pass interference call on Brock, the Rams were setup at the one-yard line where Gurley would punch it in to expand the lead to 20-3.

Rams 20, Rams 3.

Keenum responds by throwing it short to Courtland Sutton for four-yards, then from the empty set fired a pass to Thomas that was just overthrown. On third and six, Keenum tried to run it outside and was tackled from behind just as he crossed the first down marker.

A defensive holding call got the Broncos a free five, then Keenum went play-action to Sanders over the middle to Sanders who made the catch and run down to the Rams 37 yard line for a 21-yard gain.

Freeman then took a pitch outside and dove forward for a 3-yard gain. Keenum then threw a floater down the seam in double coverage that was tipped up and intercepted by the Rams inside the five-yard line.

Goff threw it behind Cooks and nearly had it picked off by Roby on first down, but instead it was an incomplete pass.

After a short run, Goff had his pass bounce of Tramaine Brock into the hands of Darian Stewart for the interception at the Rams 12-yard line.

Naturally, Sutton would be called for offensive pass interference on the first play that would have been a Lindsay catch and run down to the one-yard line. Keenum then found an wide open Sanders who fought his way to the goal line for the touchdown with 1:34 left in the third quarter.

Rams 20, Broncos 10.

The Rams learned their lesson on their next drive, feeding Gurley the ball who gained 10-yards on his first two carries. Goff then went deep to Cooks who was double covered and the ball sailed deep.

To end the quarter, backup running back Malcolm Brown gained nine-yards to give the Rams a third and one to start the fourth quarter.

Fourth Quarter

The Rams had a third and one to start the fourth quarter. Gurley ran untouched up the middle for a 14-yard gain and a first down.

Too easy.

After an illegal snap penalty, the Rams on first and 15 went back to Gurley who was stuffed at the line for the first time of the day for no gain. Goff hit Woods on a quick slant for eight-yards, then on third and seven, Goff was flushed out and broke containment for an easy 13-yard run and a first down.

From the Broncos 26-yard line, Gurley continued his march forward as he added to his career high in single-game rushing yardage with a five-yard gain. After a two-yard gain from Brown the Rams were faced with another third and short.

Bradley Chubb burst through the line like a rocket and sacked Goff for a 10-yard loss and a field goal attempt from the Rams.

Cairo Santos pushed the 47-yard field goal attempt wide right to set the Broncos offense up with great field position for their next drive with just over 10 minutes left in the game.

Case Keenum went deep to rookie Sutton for a huge 41-yard play, who then drew a personal foul for a hit on a defenseless receiver that pushed the ball down to the Rams 11-yard line on the Broncos first play of their next drive.

A jump-ish pass from Keenum to Heuerman went for five yards on first down. Keenum then threw it away as he was pressured inside. On third and five, Keenum went to the empty set throwing it up to Heuerman that was horrible overthrown for the incompletion.

Brandon McManus would boot the field goal through to cut the lead down to 20-13 with plenty of time left in the fourth quarter.

Rams 20, Broncos 13.

Predictably, the Rams went back to Gurley who took it for nine-yards on first down. Gurley was stuffed on second down for no gain again to force a critical third down for the Broncos defense.

Gurley would take the inside hand-off and barely power through for a one-yard gain and a first down.

The Rams ran the jet sweep to Robert Woods that caught the Broncos defense off guard for a 12-yard gain and another first down. Von Miller bit hard inside and got beat on that play.

Meanwhile, Gurley continued to grind out yardage with runs of three and then a sweep for 26-yards. That last rush put Gurley at 203 yards on the day and the Broncos defense is closing on giving up 600 yards rushing in the last two games.

Fortunately, Von Miller woke up with a sack on Jared Goff to force a third and long.

On third and 13, Goff hit Woods on a screen pass for a 20-yard gain and a game-killing first down for the Rams. Goff from the shotgun, went for Gurley into the end zone where Todd Davis somehow got his hand up to deflect the pass without looking back to the quarterback.

Gurley would run it twice inside of the five before the Rams would settle for the field goal.

Rams 23, Broncos 13.

Case Keenum started with a quick pass to Devontae Booker on first down for nine-yards, then flicked the ball to Courtland Sutton for the first down to their own 45-yard line.

On Keenum’s next throw, Emmanuel Sanders had a personal foul facemask against him to push the Broncos across midfield. However, with just over two minutes to go and no timeouts, they need a miracle.

A quick pass over the middle to Phillip Lindsay netted another first down, then Sanders bobbled a catch outside incomplete to stop the clock at 2:11. An inside hand-off to Booker brought the game to the two-minute warning.

A few plays later, Demaryius Thomas snagged a pass at the first-down marker for the first down. Then Sam Shields committed a pass interference on Sutton in the end zone to setup a first and goal for Denver.

Keenum, from the shot gun, threw it outside to no one for the incompletion. With 1:27 left in the game, Keenum finally found his target in Thomas over the middle for the touchdown to bring the score closer.

Rams 23, Broncos 20.

Needing an onside kick, the Rams were able to boot it out of bounds and then kneel on it to end the game to move to 6-0 for the year, while the Broncos fall to 2-4.


The Denver Broncos have listed right tackle Jared Veldheer, cornerback Adam Jones, safety Shamarko Thomas, defensive end DeMarcus Walker, guard Sam Jones, and quarterback Kevin Hogan as inactive against the Rams.

Meanwhile, the Rams have deactivated kicker Greg Zuerlein, defensive back Darious Williams, running back John Kelly, linebacker Trevon Young, center Brian Allen, defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day, and defensive tackle Tanzel Smart.


After a three-game skid, the Denver Broncos (2-3) are on the brink of collapse as they host the high-octane offensive powerhouse Los Angeles Rams (5-0) in Week 6.

Wade Phillips makes his return to Denver as defensive coordinator of the Rams and many Broncos players spent this week talking about how much they love Wade, which isn’t awkward at all.

Case Keenum has not been as advertised and needs to have himself a career day on Sunday if the Broncos are able to keep pace and potential take down the Rams in the Mile High snow. If this team can somehow pull out an stunning upset it could literally change the entire narrative of these 2018 Broncos. One fan can hope, anyway.

Here is how to watch.

TV Schedule

When: Sunday , October 14, 2018 at 2:05 p.m. Mile High time

Where: Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver, Colorado

Channel: FOX / Channel 20

Announcers: Dick Stockton (play-by-play), Mark Schlereth (analyst), and Jennifer Hale (sideline reporting)

Radio: KOA - 850 AM | 94.1 FM & The Fox - 103.5 FM | Spanish Radio KNVR 1150 AM

Online Streaming

NFL Sunday Ticket

NFL Game Pass


Broncos injury report

Player Pos. Injury Wednesday Thursday Friday Game Status
Player Pos. Injury Wednesday Thursday Friday Game Status
Adam Jones CB Thigh DNP DNP DNP OUT
Darian Stewart S Foot DNP LIMITED FULL
Jared Veldheer T Knee DNP DNP DNP OUT
Garett Bolles T Ankle LIMITED FULL FULL
Courtland Sutton WR Ankle LIMITED FULL FULL
Todd Davis ILB Shoulder FULL FULL FULL
Adam Gotsis DE Knee FULL FULL FULL
Case Keenum QB Knee FULL FULL FULL

Rams injury report

Player Pos. Injury Wednesday Thursday Friday Game Status
Player Pos. Injury Wednesday Thursday Friday Game Status
Michael Brockers DT NIR / Ankle DNP DNP (ANKLE) FULL
Brandin Cooks WR Concussion DNP LIMITED FULL
Cooper Kupp WR Concussion DNP LIMITED FULL
Andrew Whitworth T NIR DNP DNP FULL
Greg Zuerlein K Groin (right) DNP LIMITED LIMITED OUT


The Rams opened up a seven-point road advantage in the point spread against the Broncos in this game. The line has held steady between 6.5 and 7.5 points in most places despite a strong possibility of snow in the forecast for the game on Sunday.

Matchup History

For whatever reason, the Rams have always played the Broncos tough with an 8-5 record all-time against Denver that includes a surprising 3-3 mark on the road in the Mile High City. Winning in Denver is not an easy task even during the worst of times, so that is pretty significant.

Since 2000, the Broncos are 1-4 against the Rams. However, back in 1982 during a strike-shortened season the Broncos won just two games. One of those was against the Rams that set the stage for Denver to make a blockbuster trade in 1983 for one John Elway.

MHR Radio

Ian St. Clair and Adam Malnati, in their latest MHR Radio podcast, lament the fact that Vance Joseph continues to be the head coach in Denver as they take on the powerhouse Rams in Week 6.

Social Media Information

MHR Facebook Page: Mile High Report: A Denver Broncos Blog

MHR Twitter: Follow @MileHighReport

MHR Instagram: Follow @MileHighReport

Denver Broncos Fan Group: Denver Broncos Football

Broncos Regular Season Schedule 2018

Wk Date Opponent Time (MT) TV
Wk Date Opponent Time (MT) TV
1 Sep 9 vs Seattle Seahawks W 27-24 FOX
2 Sep 16 vs Oakland Raiders W 20-19 CBS
3 Sep 23 at Baltimore Ravens L 27-14 CBS
4 Oct 1 vs Kansas City Chiefs (MNF) L 27-23 ESPN
5 Oct. 7 at New York Jets L 34-16 CBS
6 Oct 14 vs Los Angeles Rams L 23-20 FOX
7 Oct 18 at Arizona Cardinals (TNF) W 45-10 FOX
8 Oct 28 at Kansas City Chiefs L 30-23 CBS
9 Nov 4 vs Houston Texans L 19-17 CBS
10 Nov 11 BYE
11 Nov 18 at Los Angeles Chargers W 23-22 CBS
12 Nov 25 vs Pittsburgh Steelers W 24-17 CBS
13 Dec 2 at Cincinnati Bengals W 24-10 CBS
14 Dec 9 at San Francisco 49ers L 20-14 CBS
15 Dec 15 vs Cleveland Browns L 17-16 NFLN
16 Dec 24 at Oakland Raiders (MNF) L 27-14 ESPN
17 Dec 30 vs Los Angeles Chargers 2:25 PM CBS