The Ravens held their own early in the game and went into halftime with a three-point lead. Unfortunately, the Broncos surged in the second half and won via the arm of future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning.
Baltimore will play at home next week against the Cleveland Browns.
Denver Broncos - 49
Baltimore Ravens - 27
Game Analysis for the Baltimore Ravens
Pass Offense: Wide receivers and tight ends not only struggled with dropped passes, but they also had difficulty getting separation early in the second half. The offensive line also began to falter and allowed added pressure to get to Joe Flacco which resulted in multiple sacks, hits and hurries. Flacco also threw a second terrible interception late in the game.
Run Offense: Baltimore did not get much going on the ground in the second half. They were playing from behind for the majority and focused on getting chunks of yardage through the air. The lack of rushing attempts by Baltimore overall was surprising.
Pass Defense: Peyton Manning lead the Broncos right down the field for a touchdown to start the second half. It seemed as though he caught the secondary sleeping. He kept at it throughout the remainder of the half, assaulting a Ravens secondary that just looked gassed. Manning ended up throwing for seven touchdown passes on the night, tying a league record.
Run Defense: The front seven continued to clamp down throughout the second half. This unit completely refused to give up yards on the ground during the entire contest. This was definitely the most impressive unit on Thursday night.
Special Teams: The Ravens' punt protection allowed safety David Bruton to slice through the line and block a punt deep in their own territory in the third quarter. The miscue turned in to a quick Denver touchdown. This was not a sharp night from the special teams unit.
Coaching: A huge missed opportunity to challenge a dropped pass on third down slipped through the fingers of John Harbaugh early in the second half. The error led to a touchdown by the Broncos. Baltimore also had trouble keeping up with the halftime adjustments made by Denver’s offense out of the gate.
First-Half Analysis for the Baltimore Ravens
Pass Offense: The Ravens' offensive line held up well early on, which allowed Joe Flacco enough time in the pocket to pick apart the secondary and complete passes downfield. Flacco capped off an early drive with a short touchdown pass to Vonta Leach. Later, Flacco starting forcing more errant throws and was intercepted by Chris Harris in the second quarter after attempting to hit Brandon Stokley over the middle.
Run Offense: Both Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce looked solid early on when given the opportunity to run the ball. Later in the half, the Broncos' front seven tightened things up and running lanes seemed tougher to come by. However, Rice did have a nice one-yard touchdown scamper midway through the second quarter.
Pass Defense: Peyton Manning and Wes Welker gave the secondary some trouble early on; however, there were not any blatant miscues. The coverage appeared tight for the most part, but it gave up a pair of touchdown passes to Broncos tight end Julius Thomas in the second quarter.
Run Defense: No matter which running back Denver put in the game, the front seven of the Ravens were brilliant and did not allow much daylight in the first half. The Broncos have only averaged 2.2 yards per carry thus far.
Special Teams: One big miscue came from rookie Brynden Trawick. He showed terrible awareness and ran into Jacoby Jones as he was signaling for a fair catch at the Ravens' 12-yard line in the second quarter. The hit subsequently injured Jones, who was held out of the rest of the game. On the flip side, the Ravens' special teams came up big and recovered a Welker muffed punt at the Broncos' two-yard line.
Coaching: John Harbaugh is certainly showing that he earned his new, lucrative contract. He has the Ravens playing solid, fundamental football against a very good Broncos squad. The team did have a few lapses of focus which resulted in unnecessary penalties. Harbaugh won his sole challenge of the first half.
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