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Broncos Defense Holds Off Rams

Posted Aug 24, 2013

The defense helped over come a minus four turnover differential to hold on to a 27-26 win.

DENVER  -- While Peyton Manning’s day was done after the halftime break, many of the first teamers were out on the field for the third quarter to work with Brock Osweiler.

Osweiler took advantage of that as he targeted Demaryius Thomas a handful of times. He also let Montee Ball, who had already picked up 22 yards on nine carries in the first half, continue to work.

“It was nice,” Osweiler said about playing with the first unit. “I don't get a lot of reps with them during practice, so to go out there during the game and put a drive together and get a touchdown out of it -- it felt really good. The offensive line did a great job. Receivers made plays and backs were running hard. So it was good.”

After going three and out in his first drive, Osweiler started his second drive by going right back to Thomas. This time, that was the only play he needed for a first down as Thomas picked up 17 yards on the play.

Ball and Knowshon Moreno split touches on the drive and helped push the offense down the field. Thomas came up with another catch on the drive, this time it set up first and goal. The Broncos went to Ball three straight times and on third down he scored the first touchdown of his career when he veered off the path carved for him by Jacob Hester and broke through the line.

Though it was his first ever touchdown as a Bronco, he said he forgot to keep the ball but that he also plans on scoring more.

“It’s very special just because it’s something that we love to do as players – obviously score, score touchdown,” Ball said. “But it’s good that we finally got one in the end zone.”

That scoring drive lasted 11 plays, went 79 yards and brought the Broncos to within three points of the Rams.

The defense picked it up as they closed out the third quarter, Nate Irving made an emphatic run stop and Malik Jackson picked up a sack and deflection at the line of scrimmage.

“I think we did good,” lineback Wesley Woodyard said about the defensive effort. “We got a chance to get Nate Irving in there at SAM and Danny (Trevathan) as well. It’s good to get guys used to playing with each other out there.”

The Broncos had a couple of costly turnovers that put a little bit more pressure on the defense in the fourth quarter – but they were up to the task.

After Osweiler was picked off deep in the Broncos’ side of the field, the defense held the Rams to a field goal attempt. Fortunately for the Broncos, that attempt sailed wide.

On the ensuing possession, the offense looked rejuvenated as Moreno took the first play for 18 yards and capped it off by stiff arming a Rams defender to the ground. The Broncos ended up moving 31 yards in eight plays to set up a game-tying, 54-yard field goal by Prater.

As the rain started falling in the final six minutes of the game, the defense cranked up the pressure another notch. On third down, John Youboty flushed Tim Jenkins out of the pocket and Steven Johnson picked up the sack. Lerentee McCray came in and blocked the Rams punt, giving the Broncos the ball on the 15-yard line.

Two plays later, Lance Ball pushed his way across the line to put the Broncos out in front 27-20 with less than four minutes to play.

Quentin Jammer forced back-to-back incompletions to give the Broncos the ball back the Rams received a second wind after they recovered a botched snap – that Osweiler described as “very frustrating” – on the Denver 9-yard-line.

Zach Potter pulled in a touchdown catch but the Broncos held on to the slim lead and the eventual victory as Brian Quick dropped the two-point conversation under heavy pressure near the sideline in the end zone.

“We were still able to win, that’s the bright side,” Head Coach John Fox said. “The not-so-bright side is that we got four turnovers and that’s something we worked on very hard on last week, and we’ll work on very hard again this week.

“When you have young players learning to play in this league for the first time it can happen and we have to eliminate that before the first game of the regular season.”

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