What it means: The Broncos have slugged it out with all four NFC West teams, and they looked like a different team at home compared to on the road. At home, the Broncos overwhelmed the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers -- they outscored those two teams 83-37 -- but on the road the Broncos were outmuscled by the Seahawks in Week 3 and the Rams on Sunday. The Broncos are now 2-3 on the road, with their wins coming against a Jets team that had one win at the time the Broncos played them and a winless Raiders team.
Stock watch: There are times when the Broncos' defense looks exactly like a championship defense -- hard-nosed against the run, stingy against the pass and opportunistic all-around. But on a day when injuries carved out some issues on the Broncos' depth chart on the offensive side of the ball, the Broncos needed their defense to put, and keep, the Rams on their heels. Instead, the Rams played at their own pace -- St. Louis held the ball for 18 minutes, 46 seconds in the first half, 27:10 by the end of the third quarter -- and the Broncos never forced a momentum-snatching turnover.
Wait and see: The Broncos’ high-flying offense has plenty of impact players, but tight end Julius Thomas left Sunday’s game in the first quarter with an ankle injury and Emmanuel Sanders left in the third quarter with a concussion. That’s 19 touchdowns this season -- including Sanders’ against the Rams in the second quarter -- that will potentially be out of the lineup. Sanders is now under the guidelines of the league’s concussion protocol, so he will have to meet certain standards before he can return to practice. Thomas will be evaluated more -- including an expected MRI -- on Monday morning.
Game ball: With the Rams paying particular attention to Demaryius Thomas, and Julius Thomas out of the game with an ankle injury, Sanders continues to show he has No. 1 skills in this offense. Sanders had five receptions for 102 yards, including a 42-yard catch for a touchdown with 2:22 left in the first half. If Sanders misses time with his concussion, the Broncos are going to need rookie Cody Latimer to be ready to contribute and Andre Caldwell to produce in the team’s three-wide set.
What’s next: The Broncos’ continued issues in pass protection need to get ironed out. The Miami Dolphins, much like the Rams, can get in a quarterback’s wheelhouse and stay there. The Dolphins, after their win over the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night, have 30 sacks in 10 games, and Cameron Wake has 8.5 of those. Wake is quick off the ball and just the kind of second-effort rusher who has given the Broncos trouble this season.