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Around the NFC West: Rams take step

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Chris Long and James Laurinaitis played leading roles in making sure the Rams didn't blow another fourth-quarter lead on the road Sunday. Thomas: "On first down at the Denver 34, Long dropped Kyle Orton for a 6-yard sack. On second down, Orton appeared to have tight end Daniel Graham over the middle for first-down yardage and more, but Laurinaitis reached in to break up the pass." Coach Steve Spagnuolo had talked about winning in November and winning on the road. The Rams did both with their 36-33 victory over the Broncos.

Also from Thomas: Ankle and rib injuries sidelined Mike Hoomanawanui after the rookie tight end caught another touchdown pass. Spagnuolo: "The concern is the ankle. We'll know more after an MRI. At first we thought it was a fibula that he broke, but it wasn't that. It may fall in that high ankle sprain area, which is not good."

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the final score was all that mattered to rookie quarterback Sam Bradford and the Rams. Burwell: "As time goes by, it's becoming more apparent that the struggles on the road are not always a simple matter of execution by the players. Sometimes, it's also a matter of style and approach, and that is all on the coaches. Sometimes you have to stick with what got you here. Earlier in the year, it was an understandable approach because you were protecting a rookie quarterback. But Bradford isn't a rookie anymore and this team is ready to win games without racing the last few laps under the ever-present caution flag."

Burwell and fellow columnist Bernie Miklasz offer quick thoughts on the Rams' victory. Miklasz: "I think we learned something today: the Rams' players don't have to learn how to win on the road. No, it's the coaches who have to learn how to win on the road. The game should have never been this close, this dramatic. The play-calling and the general approach to offense in the 4th quarter -- after the Rams opened a 36-20 lead -- was timid. And it didn't have to be that way. It should not be that way."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' Danario Alexander enjoyed a strong showing in his first game back from injury. Guard Jacob Bell: "When I see the ball going up to him, I'm extremely excited. It doesn't seem like he catches anything under 20 yards. That's nice to have." Alexander caught four passes for 95 yards, including a 24-yarder in the fourth quarter to set up a field goal.

Mike Klis of the Denver Post checks in with Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who remains a major player in Denver pro sports. Kroenke on whether it was tough trying to beat one Denver team (the Broncos) while hoping another one, the Kroenke-owned Nuggets, would win later in the day: "You're going to ask the tough ones, huh? No, I think Pat and I are way past that. We've been partners in the Arena League, worked together in committees with the NFL. There really is nothing like that. We're partners. We're competitors when we play each other, but we're partners the rest of the time. I'm just happy to have a team and to be here to play a game."

Irv Moss of the Denver Post checks in with Bradford, who didn't face much pressure from the Broncos' defense. Bradford: "We did a great job changing up our protections. We did a couple of things to keep them off balance if they brought pressure. Being a young quarterback, you always go into games expecting teams to bring a lot of pressure, especially early."

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says the Rams figured Denver would load up against Steven Jackson, putting the burden on Bradford to win the game. Jackson: "It was tough. I had a feeling that would happen. I really did. I knew it was going to be tough sledding and what I am really happy and pleased with is we made them pay for it."

Also from Wagoner: The Rams couldn't let another road game slip away, could they?

More from Wagoner: Rams notes, including praise for the offensive line.