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Broncos offense sputters in the second half as they fall 10-6 on the road to the Rams

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Denver emerged unscathed on the injury front, and saw improved run defense on from the 2nd team defense.

NFL: Preseason-Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Rams Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

With most of the starters on the sideline, the bubble players trying to make their case for the final roster took the field for the penultimate preseason game.

First Half

The Rams got started with a big play action pass on their first drive completing a 51-yarder on De’Vante Bausby, and Su’a Cravens took a poor angle as the deep safety in the middle of the field.

However, Denver’s defense stiffened in the red zone with multiple stops, eventually shutting down a Rams 4th-down conversion attempt. DeMarcus Walker, Mike Purcell, Zach Kerr, and Justin Hollins all contributed to those short yardage run stops.

Denver’s offense plodded along and didn’t go very far on their opening drive. The speedy Khalfani Muhammad had a nice move to pick up a first down on a swing pass, but other than that, the offense struggled to move the ball on the arm of Kevin Hogan.

Overall, Denver’s defense looked impressive in the first quarter and have had a bounce back game so far in run defense, after struggling last week against the 49ers.

Dre’Mont Jones was in on a run stop, and had a key pressure to force a throwaway.

The Broncos offense continued to struggle and failed to cross mid-field in the first quarter.

The first half did see Jake Butt get a little bit of action, his first of the preseason. He looked comfortable out there and logged a couple nice catches.

Isaac Yiadom and De’Vante Bausby played for the first few series on defense before sitting down, but they were able to log some good snaps as the #1 and #2 corners. Vic Fangio spoke the other day about being pleased with their development, and they look to be locked in at the 3rd and 4th corner slots on the final roster.

Overall, Dekoda Watson and Justin Hollins flashed off the edge, and the interior defensive line played one of the better halves of the preseason I have seen out of this lineup.

Right at the end of the first half, Kevin Hogan took a seat (he would finish 8/12 for 69 yards) and Brett Rypien came in to lead the team in a two-minute drive for the field goal after the Rams missed field goal left Denver in good field position.

From what I could see, the offensive line performed pretty well in the half, especially in pass protection. The pressure Kevin Hogan experienced looked to be brought on by him holding the ball too long.

Denver went into the half up 6-3 in a field goal fest of a first half, in what was a pretty poor half for both offenses.

Second Half

Brett Rypien started out the second half with an interception on a very poor decision where the middle linebacker undercut the throwing lane and tipped it to a teammate in the secondary.

Hollins made another nice play at the line of scrimmage chasing down the running back on the outside, and had some nice pressure on the Rams first offensive drive of the second half.

The Broncos defense once again held the Rams on a 4th down conversion in the red zone, preventing a near touchdown with good effort by Keishawn Bierria on the tackle.

The offense continued to struggle and the defense eventually broke, allowing the Rams into the end zone.

Despite the score, Mike Purcell continues to impress, absolutely blowing a running play up in the backfield on that drive.

JuWann Winfree must have heard Chris Harris’ admonition on special teams being the way you make a roster, as he had an excellent hit in punt coverage.

Brett Rypien, had pretty good protection for a good chunk of the night, considering he was with 3rd and 4th stringers on the offensive line, but the offense failed to score in the second half.

However, one bright spot on the offensive side was Troy Fumagalli, who logged five catches for 44 yards, including this really nice grab.

Overall, Denver came away unscathed on the injury front, and saw some nice play by defenders Mike Purcell, Justin Hollins, and Alexander Johnson.

Just one more game for these guys to show why they deserve a roster spot before the final cut down to a 53-man roster on Saturday.