What we learned from the Rams’ 23-20 victory over the Denver Broncos

The offense runs through Todd Gurley

OK, we already knew this.

But with quarterback Jared Goff mentioned in much of the early MVP buzz, Gurley reminded everybody why he is the reigning NFL offensive player of the year and an MVP candidate for the second year in a row.

Gurley ran for a career-best 208 yards and two touchdowns in 28 carries.


Gurley — and the threat of him — help set up the Rams’ passing game.

The offensive line is not invincible

Goff went into the game having been sacked only six times in five games.

The Broncos sacked him five times, linebacker Bradley Chubb doing the honors three times.


The line’s depth, however, did help the Rams.

When left guard Rodger Saffold left the game because of a knee injury, Austin Blythe shifted from right guard to left guard, and Jamon Brown made his season debut at right guard.

Brown, the starter at right guard in 2017, was suspended the first two games for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, enabling Blythe to grab and hold the starting job.

Robert Woods always finds a way to make a play

With receiver Cooper Kupp once again suffering an injury that prevented him from playing nearly all the second half, Woods once again asserted himself.

He caught seven passes for 109 yards, rushed for 12 yards and knocked the ball out of bounds on an onside kick with less than 90 seconds left, enabling the Rams to run out the clock.

Kupp will be examined Monday to determine the severity of a knee injury.

The defense can stop the run


After giving up 190 yards rushing against the Seattle Seahawks, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and his players made stopping the run their mission.

They held a team that was averaging 137 yards a game to 60.

Cornerback Troy Hill and safety Lamarcus Joyner had a team-best seven tackles and middle linebacker Cory Littleton had five.

The cornerback situation remains an issue

Aqib Talib made the trip back to Denver, where he starred for four seasons and won a Super Bowl, but he was relegated to the Rams bench while wearing a protective plastic boot on his surgically repaired left ankle.

Hill started in his spot again, and Broncos quarterback Case Keenum did not hesitate to challenge him.

Keenum passed for 322 yards and two touchdowns and exploited Hill multiple times.

Sean McVay always takes responsibility for mistakes, often when he is not responsible


McVay joked the cold weather caused a brain freeze and he once again shouldered blame for not putting players in advantageous situations to make plays.

That might be true occasionally, and it plays well with players. It demonstrates that he is holding himself to the same accountability standard he demands.

But McVay is not at fault for Goff making a poor decision and having a pass intercepted. Or for a pass falling incomplete. Or any number of other miscues that result from poor execution.