Rams vs. Broncos 2013: Denver speeds up, St. Louis rookies show off

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Tavon Austin and Alec Ogletree looked like solid finds for the St. Louis Rams Saturday night, while Peyton Manning's offense looks up to speed.

There was something positive to take away for both sides in Saturday night's 27-26 Denver Broncos victory over the St. Louis Rams: for Denver, Peyton Manning's offense played up-tempo and moved the ball well, which was encouraging. But it was the St. Louis defense that forced mistakes and actually entered halftime with a leg up on the Broncos' starters.

Rams blog Turf Show Times took a moment to swoon over their two first-round picks: Tavon Austin returned a punt almost for a touchdown after the Broncos' opening drive, leading to a score on the next play, and Alec Ogletree showed finesse by tapping an interception to himself and studliness by ripping a fumble loose and scoring himself. (They made GIFs.) Both players ended up on the blog's list of five guys who did well.

Overall, it was a good evening, with the starters topping a strong Broncos first unit 20-10 at the break:

I think we've all been waiting for something like this to happen. Sure, the game plan was still sparse, but the Rams finally put it all together on the field and it was impressive. Overall, the team looked fluid. They jived. They tackled. For the most part, they resembled a very capable team. Let's hope they stay that way for nineteen more games.

Even though they trailed, Broncos blog Mile High Report still had positive vibes about a Broncos unit that pushed the pace of play:

Manning and company ran a whopping 49 plays in the first half Saturday against the St. Louis Rams, garnering an impressive 290 yards and churning up over 19 of the 30 minutes of game time. The Rams, by comparison, only managed to pick up 110 yards of offense in just over 11 minutes of possession. Highlighted by Manning's 6-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas and a team-high six catches for 66 yards by Eric Decker, it was a dominating performance statistically by Denver's first team in Week 3 preseason action.

The Broncos would hold on for a one-point win with Montee Ball and Lance Ball finding paydirt in the second half and the Rams opting -- and failing -- on a two-point conversion for the win to avoid overtime.

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