LA-DEN grades: Case Keenum, Jared Goff both ineffective against Broncos' pass-rush
Denver Broncos 17, Los Angeles Rams 9
Here are the biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from the Broncos’ 17-9 victory over the visiting Rams:
Quarterback grade: Trevor Siemian, 44.7; Paxton Lynch, 59.7
Trevor Siemian has seemingly locked up the starting role, despite average play
With his competitor Mark Sanchez not playing a single snap in the dress-rehearsal game, the job of starting quarterback seemingly belongs to Trevor Siemian. While he did throw his first touchdown pass of the preseason, Siemian was far from good in Saturday’s outing. He had a handful of misfires, and under-threw his receiver on his lone interception. He also got away with a terrible throw late in the first half that bounced right off a defender’s hands. Siemian frequently checked down even when he didn’t necessarily have to, as he averaged just 5.4 yards per attempt when not under pressure.
Trevor Siemian passing summary under pressure
Top offensive grades
FB Andy Janovich, 87.3
FB Juwan Thompson, 75.4
WR Emmanuel Sanders, 73.8
WR Demaryius Thomas, 73.7
OT Donald Stephenson, 73.4
Denver’s receivers can carry the load for this offense
The Broncos’ WR duo of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are easily one of the best receiving pairs in the NFL, and they showed why last night. They were targeted 12 times (only eight were catchable) and finished with seven receptions combined for 108 yards. All three of Sanders’ catches went for first downs, and two of those he caught behind the sticks and had to work to move the chains. Thomas’ incredibly casual one-handed catch while being interfered with by Rams CB Marcus Robertson was a reminder of how easy he can make catching the football look. If these two play like this all season, they should be able to bail Siemian out more often than not.
Top defensive grades
CB Kayvon Webster, 88.8
ED Shaquil Barrett, 84.4
ED Dekoda Watson, 84.4
ED Von Miller, 81.6
S T.J. Ward, 81.1
Broncos’ pass-rush is still the class of the NFL
Denver’s pass-rushing ability was on display in full force against the Rams last night. It seemed as though they were in the backfield every single snap; the Broncos pressured the Rams quarterbacks on 21 of 44 dropbacks, and five of those resulted in sacks. Von Miller was as strong as expected, notching one sack, one hit, and two hurries on the night. But it was reserve edge defender Dekoda Watson who stole the show, recording three sacks, a QB hurry, and an additional play in which he beat his man rushing the passer—all in just 14 pass rushes. Overall, Denver’s defenders combined for six sacks, three hits, and 20 additional hurries on the night.
Quarterback grades: Case Keenum, 51.2; Jared Goff, 49.4; Sean Mannion, 66.3
Neither Keenum nor Goff effective against Broncos’ pass-rush
While Case Keenum got the start last night, he did very little to show that he’ll be able to play effectively as a starter come Week 1. Keenum was strong when in a clean pocket, completing all six passes for 64 yards. But when he saw pressure, he folded, completing just two-of-six throws for 13 yards and a pass that should’ve been intercepted. Goff really struggled when dealing with pressure, as well, as he didn’t complete a single one of his six passes when under duress. The No. 1 overall pick wasn’t missing throws badly by any means, but he just didn’t have the accuracy many were hoping to see out of him. He also had one very poorly thrown ball that should’ve been intercepted and returned for a touchdown.
Top offensive grades
HB Terrence Magee, 73.7
TE Lance Kendricks, 73.1
WR Pharaoh Cooper, 70.3
G David Arkin, 70.0
WR Kenny Britt, 68.0
Rams’ receiving corps with positive flashes, but consistency questions still remain
The Rams’ receiving corps made some big-time catches last night, but they were few and far between. Rookie WR Pharaoh Cooper had one of the most impressive catches of the game, using one hand to track down an off-target throw to pick up 19 yards and a first down. That was his only catch of the game, however. Kenny Britt had one nice catch-and-run for 19 yards, but that was all he really did this game. On the other end of the scale, rookie TE Tyler Higbee and WR Michael Thomas had some struggles. The two combined to catch just two of nine targets for 25 yards; they also each dropped a pass.
Top defensive grades
ED Matt Longacre, 82.0
DI Aaron Donald, 79.9
LB Alec Ogletree, 78.6
LB Nicholas Grigsby, 78.5
DI Cam Thomas, 78.0
Longacre continues his impressive preseason run with another strong game
While it would be criminal not to mention Aaron Donald’s high game grade earned in just six snaps, this was another great night for Matt Longacre. After a hugely successful first preseason game, Longacre returned to that high level of play this week. He recorded three pressures while rushing the quarterback, and also recorded two solo run stops. Longacre currently ranks 10th in the league in pass-rushing productivity at his position—pretty good numbers for a guy going into his second season on an already-stacked Rams’ defensive line.
Get ready for the Rams’ 2016 regular season by checking out our Los Angeles team preview (click the image below).