DENVER --Typically, allowing 26 points isn't something a defense is anxious to write home about.
But St. Louis' point total Saturday night at Sports Authority Field at Mile High doesn't accurately relay the Broncos defense's performance.
A more telling statistic might be the Rams' 198 total yards of offense -- compared to Denver's 446. Or St. Louis' 15 percent third-down efficiency. Or the club's 11 first downs compared to Denver's 27. Or the five three-and-outs the defense forced.
"We made some corrections, we played fast, we made a couple of plays," said defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, who noted he wants the defense to cause more turnovers. "We're just trying to force our will on the offense."
The Rams' first offensive touchdown was set up by an 81-yard punt return. Quarterback Sam Bradford needed just one, 3-yard pass to put St. Louis up 7-0.
Another St. Louis touchdown came thanks to a botched Broncos snap recovered at the 9-yard line -- the offense scored two plays later. Seven more points came thanks to a fumble returned for a score by linebacker Alec Ogletree. The Rams also grabbed a field goal just before halftime after intercepting quarterback Peyton Manning.
"It is disappointing when you don't take care of the ball," Manning said. "Overall, four turnovers in a game is not what you want to do, so that is disappointing."
But the defense helped the club overcome those turnovers by turning up the pressure, sacking the St. Louis quarterbacks four times.
The Rams put together just two drives of 30 or more yards, and only two of their 15 possessions spanned six or more plays.
"Obviously we were a little more intense and a little more urgent," safety Duke Ihenacho said of the defense compared to last weekend's loss in Seattle. "We took that loss very seriously and we went back to work, worked our butts off and came out and got the 'W' today."
Defensive tackle Mitch Unrein, who notched one of the club's sacks, said the defense still has work to do before the season-opener against Baltimore -- but he's certainly ready for Sept. 5 to arrive.
Linebacker Shaun Phillips agreed.
"We're not ready yet but we're getting close," he said. "We shouldn't be playing our best right now. Our job is to get better every single day and we have to keep on doing that. We're going to go watch the tape and find out what we can improve. It's never going to be perfect but we have to make it as close to perfect as possible and we want to keep on getting better as the season goes on – every single game, every single play. That's why you take advantage of every rep that you get. Whether it's in practice or whether it's in a preseason game, it's the stepping stone and the building blocks of putting together a good defense."