DENVER — The Broncos charged back from a 17-point second-half deficit to cut the Rams’ lead to seven points in the fourth quarter, but they couldn’t quite close out the comeback and fell 23-20 to Los Angeles on Sunday.
Spurred by big plays on both offense and defense, the Broncos found a way to close the gap against the undefeated Rams in the second half, but they were unable to prevent a late score that pushed the Rams’ lead to 10 points and essentially iced the game.
The Broncos closed the game out with a late touchdown to Demaryius Thomas, but they couldn’t recover the ensuing onside kick, and the Rams held on to win.
After falling behind 20-3, though, the Broncos used plays from Thomas, Darian Stewart, Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton and Bradley Chubb to make Sunday’s game competitive.
These were the players, statistics and moments that mattered in a comeback attempt that came up just short.
The back-breaking play in the Broncos’ failed comeback attempt likely came with 5:46 remaining when Todd Gurley carried the ball 26 yards from the 50-yard line to the Denver 24. Denver was in desperate need of a stop as the clock worked against them, but Gurley’s carry — which was just one of his 28 carries for 208 yards — guaranteed the Rams would score points and push the lead to two possessions.
The Broncos did drive down the field on the ensuing possession, but the field goal ensured that Denver would need to recover an onside kick after that score. They were unable to recover the kick, and the Rams kneeled out the clock to knock Denver’s record to 2-4.
A week after allowing the Jets to rush for 323 yards, Gurley also made life difficult on the Broncos’ rushing defense. Gurley ran for 208 yards and two touchdowns to become the first Rams running back to rush for over 200 yards since Marshall Faulk did it in 2001. The Broncos appeared to have answers for quarterback Jared Goff in the second half as he completed 5-of-13 passes after the break, but they couldn’t quite find a way to stop Gurley. Especially when it mattered, the dynamic running back found rushing lanes and made the Broncos’ defense pay.
Rookie linebacker Bradley Chubb posted the best game of his young career when he tallied three sacks during Sunday’s game against the Rams. His first two sacks came at the end of the first half as Goff tried to lead the offense down the field for points before halftime. He then added another in the fourth quarter to force a Rams field-goal attempt. Chubb’s performance was particularly impressive given that it came against All-Pro left tackle Andrew Whitworth. The rookie pass rusher totaled five tackles in the game.
Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders also made an impact Sunday as he recorded a 43-yard reception in the first quarter for his 500th career catch and then caught a 22-yard touchdown pass as the third quarter wound down. Sanders finished with seven receptions for 115 yards. Demaryius Thomas added three receptions of his own for 57 yards and a touchdown.
Safety Darian Stewart helped spark the Broncos’ comeback attempt when he intercepted Goff’s deflected pass late in the third quarter to set up a Denver touchdown. Cornerback Tramaine Brock deflected the ball, which then bounced off a Rams receiver. Stewart then made the heads-up play to give Denver the ball back at the Los Angeles 12-yard line. Keenum found Sanders two plays later for a touchdown to cut the lead to 10.