WIth the entire NFC West taking a fall last Sunday—and in brutal fashion—the St. Louis Rams go into their Week 12 matchup against the Denver Broncos with a reprieve, still just one game back of the division-leading Seattle Seahawks. With Danario Alexander closer to return than ever, they'll hope to get a few more yards out of a passing game that's been accurate and competent but has lacked the spark that their offense needs to put teams away late.
Sam Bradford, for all his justly deserved plaudits, remains near the bottom of the NFL in yards per attempt and yards per completion, something that's been evident in the two games where the Rams, taking a narrow lead into the second half, are unable to put a team away, and a worn-out eventually surrenders the last points. A downfield threat is the last thing keeping this team from putting things together, and a crucial piece if this defense ever hopes to get off the field. (In last week's loss to the first-place Atlanta Falcons the Rams' defense found itself on the field 11 minutes longer than the offense.)
The Broncos have had no problems with their passing game. Surprise star Kyle Orton has already crested the 3000 yard mark for the season, with 17 touchdowns to just six interceptions and a passer rating of 94.5. Top receiver Brandon Lloyd has averaged nearly 20 yards per reception, and leads football with 1046 passing yards.
Orton's had to work with a rushing game that was almost completely invisible for much of the season, and a defense that's allowed 29 points per game. But the Broncos' offense could go off at any moment, and the Rams' secondary has a tough assignment.