It would be easy to point to a number of legitimate factors that limited the Baltimore Ravens today, but ultimately that would miss the mark.
The players that were in uniform for the Ravens still had an opportunity to make it a game against a high quality Denver team – even with all of the Baltimore injuries. However, they were not able to overcome major deficiencies in scheme, and their own errors in performance. Ultimately Peyton Manning and the Broncos won their 9th straight game, with their 34-17 beating of Baltimore.
The Ravens have now lost 3 games in a row (2 of which have been at M&T Bank Stadium), falling to 9-5 on the year. Even if the Ravens lose the next two weeks against the NY Giants and at Cincinnati, Baltimore is likely going back to the AFC Playoffs for the 5th consecutive season. That spot can be claimed if Pittsburgh loses to Dallas later today.
Nobody is going to be expecting the Ravens to do anything in the Playoffs though. At this point, how could you? My feeling is that if the Ravens get their ticket punched to the Playoffs, the next two weeks should solely being about getting as healthy as possible. There really will be zero reason to play anyone of note. Play all the reserves. You lose, you lose. Go to that first Playoff game as healthy as you can be, and play with the benefit of no expectations.
1) Nice 1st series for the Ravens defense, with Graham setting the edge, and Williams delivering a tackle for loss on 2nd down. On 3rd and long, Baltimore got Manning and Denver offense off the field. A 10 yard PR from Jones, had the Ravens starting at their 45.
2) On their 2nd drive, Denver had a 3rd and 7 from the Ravens 14. The Baltimore defense was able to hold-up, and force a FG attempt. Prater connected from 27 yards out, giving Denver the 3-0 lead.
3) Up 3-0, Denver began their 3rd series around midfield. Baltimore was able to force a 3 and out, with Ihedigbo coming up and and making a nice tackle on 2nd down.
4) Really nice defensive series on Denver’s 4th possession. Suggs and Kruger got pressure on 1st down. Followed by Upshaw making a play on 2nd down, and McPhee bringing Manning to the ground on 3rd down.
5) In the 2nd Quarter, Denver had a 1st and from the Ravens 29. Williams made a beautiful play in pass coverage to prevent a TD.
6) Good play in pass coverage from Kruger on 2nd down, on Denver’s 2nd series of the 2nd Quarter. Reed would make a tackle on 3rd down, forcing another Broncos punt.
7) On the Ravens 2nd series of the 2nd Quarter, they finally obtained their first 1st down. On successive carries, Pierce moved the chains.
8) Great punt from Koch and good punt coverage from L. Williams to pin the Broncos deep in their territory in the 2nd Quarter. (Williams had another good ST play in the 3rd Quarter.)
9) McClellan powered through Hillman to bring down Manning late in the 2nd Quarter. On 3rd and 14, the Ravens defended the bubble screen perfectly. Again, there was pressure from McPhee.
10) Prior to Flacco’s pick, the Ravens were on their to ending the 1st half on a positive note. Flacco and Jones connected on the 43 yard gain, taking the Ravens to the Denver 34. An 11 yard rush from Rice moved Baltimore to the Broncos 20. The 14 yard gain from Smith, set up the 1st and Goal from the Denver 4.
11) Tucker’s 3rd Quarter FG made it a 17-3 game. The drive started with Jones returning the kickoff to the Ravens 44, putting the Ravens in good position. Doss gained 15 yards, taking the ball to the Denver 39. Rice rushed for 7 yards, and gained 5 more on a pass. Tucker ended the drive with his 45 yard kick.
12) Playing against a soft zone, Flacco was able to move the chains a bit late in the 3rd Quarter. Pitta started the drive with a 9 yard gain, Doss followed with a 13 yard catch. Pitta had a 10 yard gain to the Denver 35. Reed came in, and had a 12 yard catch.
13) Doss ended the 3rd Quarter with a 40 yard PR. This would set-up the Ravens first TD of the day, a 31 yard score over the middle to Pitta. (Though replays showed he should have been marked down.)
14) Nice plays and effort from Pitta on his second TD of the 4th Quarter. His 61 yard score came after keeping his feet in-bounds, and getting through several missed tackles.
1) Flacco’s first pass attempt was a completion to Leach on 1st down, taking the Ravens into Denver territory. A short run by Rice, set up 3rd and 1. Flacco would fumble on the 3rd down keeper, giving the ball back to the Broncos, and ending the Ravens 1st drive.
2) On their 2nd drive, the Broncos faced 3rd and 10 on the Ravens 31 yard line. Manning found Stokley for 15 yards and a Denver 1st down in the Ravens Red Zone. Ultimately, the Broncos would take a 3-0 lead.
3) An illegal block in the back from LaQuan Williams, wiped out a nice KR from Jones. Instead of starting their 2nd series at their 30, they began at their 6. Baltimore would go 3 and out, with Flacco getting pressured on 2nd and 3rd down. Osemele looked like a statue on 2nd down.
4) Baltimore’s 3rd offensive series was the 3rd straight possession to end without a 1st down. Pierce gained nothing on the first two downs, setting up 3rd and long.
5) The Ravens 4th series of the 1st Quarter would be no better. Again, another 3 and out, with Flacco facing pressure on 3rd and long.
6) Denver began the 2nd Quarter with a 1st and 10 at the Ravens 41. Moreno immediately picked up 9 yards. On 2nd and 10 from the 29, Moreno picked up 9 more. On 2nd and 7 from the Ravens 15, Denver got to the Goal line on a catch from Decker. Hester would score from a 1/2 yard out, giving the Broncos a 10-0 lead with the extra point.
7) Trailing 10-0, the Ravens offense again went 3 and out to begin their first series of the 2nd Quarter. On 3rd and 8, Flacco went over the middle on an attempt to Pitta. Not an easy play, but the catch should have been made.
8) After their first couple of positive plays of the game, Birk ended any growing momentum with his penalty on the Ravens 2nd drive of the 2nd Quarter.
9) Down 24-3, Baltimore went 3 and out, giving the ball right back to Manning.
10) The Broncos effectively ended the game, with their 2nd TD of the 3rd Quarter. Moreno would score from 7 yards out.
11) Down 31-3, Baltimore went 3 and out for a 6th time. CBS Sports said this was the most by any team in the NFL this year.
12) Up 28 points, Manning was still attacking down the field. Attempting to find Decker down the field, Williams made another good play in pass coverage.
13) Boldin picked up a unnecessary roughness penalty in the 4th.
14) The Ravens were down 31-10 in the 4th, with the defense needing to make a stop on 3rd and 2. Hillman picked up 3 yards, and the Broncos were able to continue their drive. The Broncos would go 62 yards over 15 plays, taking 10 minutes off the clock, ending the drive with a FG. Baltimore’s gassed defense could not stop the rushing attack of the Broncos. The score increased to 34-10 Denver.
15) C. Williams had an unnecessary roughness penalty in the 4th. A play in frustration, after going against Decker all day.
1) The Ravens defense had a very strong 1st Quarter, limiting the Broncos to 3 points. Unfortunately, the Baltimore offense was able to do nothing in their 4 series of the Quarter. Baltimore ended the Quarter without 1st down. Rice and Pierce combined for 4 carries, for 3 yards. Flacco was 4 of 7 for 19 yards.
2) Flacco’s pick to end the 1st half was crushing. You had to come away with points there, instead you gave another score to the Broncos. He locked on Boldin, and telegraphed the throw.
3) After closing within 17-3 on Tucker’s FG, the Ravens allowed a quick strike TD to Broncos. Manning would find Decker for a 51 yard TD, beating Williams on a double-move. Williams clearly expected Safety help, which was not there.
4) The Ravens were 1 for 12 on 3rd down. Rice had 15 touches for 41 yards. Flacco’s production came in garbage time, and he was still on the field taking hits in the waning minutes left in the game.
5) Another game, and an additional injury of note for the Ravens as Smith left with a concussion.