DENVER — A strong defensive performance helped the Broncos beat the Los Angeles Rams, 17-9, on Saturday night in the “dress rehearsal” preseason game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Early on, Super Bowl 50 MVP linebacker Von Miller was wreaking havoc in the Rams’ backfield.
The Rams had nothing to show after their first two possessions, but the same was true for the Broncos, who only had 6 yards.
The Rams got it going late in the first quarter with a nice threat to Lance Kendricks for 23 yards. It set up a 29-yard field goal for the first score of the game.
The Broncos continued to struggle into the second quarter, going for it on fourth-and-1, but they couldn’t push it through.
With a shorter field, the Rams converted off the foot of Gregg Zurlien — his second of three first-half field goals.
The Broncos finally got rolling midway through the second quarter. C.J. Anderson showed good acceleration with back-to-back runs. He had 11 carries for 50 yards in the first half.
Anderson set up the Broncos for the easy throw and quarterback Trevor Seimian hit Virgil Green off play action for a 1-yard touchdown to give the Broncos a 7-6 lead.
The Rams were up 9-7 when the Broncos got the lead back just before halftime. There was a really nice strike from Siemian to Demaryius Thomas, who caught it with one hand.
That set up Brandon McMannus from 50 yards, giving the Broncos a 10-9 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Broncos continued to seek heat on the defensive end. Rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch was inserted and after a three-and-out, he started to move the offense.
A screen on third-and-18 was perfectly executed, keeping the drive alive, and Ronnie Hillman popped it in from 8 yards for the score, putting the Broncos up 17-9.
Kayvon Webster put in the work on the third down to keep the Rams out of the end zone and they did it will a goal-line stand in the last four minutes.
The Broncos won their second game in three preseason starts. The Broncos go to Arizona for the final game of the preseason on Thursday before starting the regular season Sept. 8 against the Carolina Panthers in a Super Bowl 50 rematch.
Mark Sanchez didn’t play after coach Gary Kubiak said he had seen enough of his performance. Kubiak said he explained the decision to Sanchez.
Siemian’s strong performance has him on track to be the team’s starting quarterback when the regular season begins.