The Broncos final preseason game was at Empower Field at Mile High and they put on a show for the fanbase, shutting out the Rams 41-0. Below is the recap of the game.
The Broncos offense took the field to start the game with Jarrett Stidham leading the team in the final preseason game. Stidham and the Broncos offense moved efficiently down the field with big chunk receptions to Lil'Jordan Humphrey who had three catches for 45 yards and Albert Okwuegbunam, who had two catches for 25 yards, and punched in a 1-yard touchdown with rookie Jaleel McLaughlin, his 4th TD of the preseason. Stidham was 6-6 for 71 yards on the opening drive. Broncos with an early 7-0 lead.
It was the Rams turn on offense, now in an early hole, and former Georgia Bulldogs QB Stetson Bennett lead his team out on the field for the opening drive. After an illegal contact penalty, the Rams were unable to convert on a 3rd and 4, Drew Sanders stopping former Broncos RB Royce Freeman on a swing pass.
Marvin Mims set up the Broncos nicely with a 20 yard punt return to their own 25 yard line. Initially, it looked like Mims had an electric 75-yard touchdown on a deep pass from Jarrett Stidham but upon review, was down at the Rams 25-yard line. The Broncos weren't able to move the ball much from there and settled for a 46-yard Field Goal, extending the lead 10-0.
Stetson Bennett and the Rams, now in a 2 score hole, took the field and immediately went backwards with penalties. On 3rd and 14, Essang Bassey got his THIRD interception of the preseason (one in each game) and set the Broncos up at their own 47 yard line.
Now with great field position, Stidham and the offense looked to build on their impressive start to the game. Jaleel McLaughlin had an impressive 15 yard run and Albert Okwuegbunam caught a 13 yard pass on 3rd and 10, setting up the Broncos at the Rams 25 yard line. Stidham tacked on a 20 yard run to give Broncos a goal to go situation. On 3rd and goal, Stidham found Albert Okwuegbunam in the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown! Broncos now lead 17-0.
Aided by a personal foul penalty on Drew Sanders, the Rams quickly moved the ball to midfield and into Broncos territory. It looked like the Rams might finally have an opportunity to get some points but Stetson Bennett threw the ball right to Drew Sanders and he returned the ball to the LA Rams 26 yard line before fumbling the ball. Fortunately, the Broncos recovered and were set up in fantastic position to tack on more points to their 3 score lead. With the power running game, the Broncos would not be denied as Tony Jones was stuffed at the 1 yard line but fell forward for another touchdown, extending the lead to 24-0.
With 10:04 remaining in the 2nd quarter, the Rams offense who had really struggled to do much with the ball on offense, took the field with a new QB Brett Rypien. Rams Ronnie Rivers had a few nice runs to begin the drive but when Rypien was tasked with trying to complete a pass on 3rd and 5 to keep the drive going, Essang Bassey broke up the pass and LA was forced to punt.
With 7:20 remaining in the 2nd quarter, the Broncos offense with Jarrett Stidham wasn't done attacking as the Broncos backup QB loaded up a deep pass for Brandon Johnson who came down with a 49-yard reception. Jaleel McLaughlin and the running game got the Broncos a bit closer but the drive stalled and Denver settled for a 33-yard field goal, extending the lead to 27-0.
Rams final drive of the 1st half started at their own 33 yard line after a squib kick. After a few plays, Vance Joseph dialed up a blitz sending ILB Justin Strnad and Essang Bassey who got to Brett Rypien before Aaron Patrick eventually was able to take him down for a 9 yard loss.
Following the 2 minute warning, Stidham and the Broncos offense started their drive at their own 13 yard line. Jarrett did a good job using the quick pass to the running backs to help move the ball into Rams territory. This drive featured two holding calls that made it difficult for Denver to put together an effective drive so they went to halftime with a 27-0 lead.
Rams started the 2nd half with the ball and quickly moved to midfield but their drive stalled at the Broncos 49 yard line after a couple of deep incompletions by Brett Rypien.
Ben DiNucci, now in at QB, started his first drive of the 2nd half at his own 5 yard line. After 8 plays, the Broncos drive stalled at their own 29 yard line and they were forced to punt.
Rypien, starting at his own 28 yard line, opened the drive with a pass to Austin Trammell for 27 yards to helped the Rams quickly get into Denver territory. Easily the Rams most productive drive of the night but still didn't net any points as Kicker Tanner Brown couldn't convert a 39-yard field goal. The Broncos remained in the lead 27-0.
Broncos started their next drive at their own 29 yard line and we finally had a chance to see training camp standouts Michael Band, Nate Adkins and Taylor Grimes make a few plays on offense. Ben DiNucci was sacked for an 11 yard loss but Albert Okwuegbunam, once again, came up huge as he had a catch and run of 24 yards on 3rd and 21 to keep the drive going. Following a 16-play, 71 yard drive, Tyler Badie punched in a 1-yard touchdown to extend the Broncos lead 34-0.
New QB for the Rams, Dresser Winn, didn't have much luck on his first drive with 10 minutes remaining in the game as his offense went 3 and out and forced to punt.
With 8:21 remaining in the game, Dwayne Washington opened up the drive with a 16-yard run that also drew a personal foul penalty, moving the Broncos quickly into Rams territory. Albert Okwuegbunam had, as Dave Logan put it, the "catch of the preseason" with a one-handed catch on 4th and 4 giving the Broncos a goal to go situation from the 7 yard line with 5:26 remaining in the game. The Broncos, once again, faced with a 4th down and Ben DiNucci connected with Josh Hammond for a touchdown, extending the lead 41-0!
The next Broncos broadcast will be on Sunday, September 10th as they host the Las Vegas Raiders for Week 1 of the regular season. Coverage starts at 8am, kickoff at 2:25pm from Empower Field at Mile High.
Postgame Interviews: Dave Logan with Sean Payton, Dave Logan with Jarrett Stidham, Susie Wargin with Albert Okwuegbunam, Jaleel McLaughlin and Aaron Patrick