ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Rams head coach and quarterback Jeff Fisher and Shaun Hill beamed with smiles from ear to ear in their postgame interviews Sunday afternoon after beating the Denver Broncos handedly 22-7.
Laughs were exchanged—something that’s been uncommon in postgame interviews for the Rams. Press conferences that typically have been filled with season ending injury updates and despicable losses with no hope for the season.
That outlook was flipped around in what Fisher and Hill described as a ‘complete team win’ against Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
"Well, great win," Fisher started, "As good a game as we can play in all three areas. We were able to stick with the plan because the players executed."
The game had a lot of firsts. Kenny Britt is the first Rams receiver to play for 100 yards receiving. He had yet to cross the 70 yard threshold in his previous games. Tre Mason is the first back to rush for 100 yards or more this season. He rushed 113 yards on 29 carriers.
Hill completed 20-29 passes for 220 yards and QB rating of 102.7. His longest of the day was a 63-yard pass to Britt for the only touchdown St. Louis had. The Rams haven’t had a QB rating of over 100 since their win against the Seattle Seahawks on October 19th.
While his stats are dazzling, Fisher praised his quarterback’s ability to sustain offensive drives.
“Time of possession is so important,” Fisher said, “We just kept drives alive and that helps you in that effort. Not only did he find Kenny [Britt] and make big plays to Kenny, but he extended some drives.”
And the offense won the battle for time of possession having the ball for 35:50. They had to win that stat in order for Gregg William’s defense to have a chance against Manning. In his first game of the season, Trumaine Johnson had an interception. Alec Ogletree also picked off the Broncos.
“Everyone played excellent from offense, defense, special teams,” said defensive end Robert Quinn, “It took a team to win this ball game and we did what we had to do.”
James Laurinaitis and rookie Aaron Donald both recorded sacks on Manning. And even if he was able to take down one of the best quarterbacks to play the game, Laurinaitis wasn’t satisfied following the game.
“He’s hard to get to and he’s arguably the greatest of all time. He gets rid of the ball so fast because he diagnoses defenses so fast,” Laurinaitis said, “Quite frankly, I’m upset. I think I should have two [sacks]. I missed one earlier in the game. I’m still kind of ticked about it, but I’ll cherish that one. I promise I’ll show my daughter that clip someday.”
Following the loss, Manning gave credit to the entire Rams defense credit for executing against him.
“I thought they played really well at all three levels: their front, their linebackers and the secondary,” Manning said, “I think they have a good defense. I think they’re well coached and I thought they played excellent today. They executed well on defense and I didn’t play well.”
Then on the special team’s side of the ball, Greg Zuerlein kicked two 50+ yard field goals, one for 55-yards. He hadn’t connected on that range since Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. He went 5-for-5 in field goals Sunday and gave the Rams points in each quarter.
The Rams played the role of the underdog Sunday, even at the Edward Jones Dome. The 59,000 plus in attendance were mostly decked out in orange yelling with passionate fervor for Manning. Instead, they were sent to the exits with under four minutes remaining shocked by the outcome.
With wins against Seattle and San Francisco too, the Rams have beaten three conference champions from the past two years.
“Hopefully – you always say it after a big win – hopefully we build on this momentum,” Quinn continued, “We beat a great ball club. Enjoy it for 24 hours or so and move on.”