Broncos trump Ravens in Defensive Battle
Sports once again proves to be the best kind of reality TV.
Safety Darian Stewart, who played with the Ravens last season but was let go, made the game-clinching interception for his new team, the Denver Broncos.
Gary Kubiak, the former offensive coordinator for the Ravens last season, won his first game as a new head coach for the Denver Broncos without scoring an offensive touchdown, even with Peyton Manning under center.
All of this drama without a script.
The Broncos opened up the season with a 19-13 victory over their AFC foe, in a battle of the defenses. Aqib Talib made the biggest play of the day when he took an interception 51-yards to the end-zone as time expired in the third quarter, putting the Broncos up 16-13.
After the game, Talib was asked about the offensive side of the ball, he simply said “They could have played better.”
“It's still a new offense. [The defense] practice against them everyday, we know how good they are, plus Peyton is still under center.”
This is the second time Peyton Manning has defeated the Ravens without throwing a touchdown. In the 2006 AFC Divisional game, the Colts used 5 field goals to defeat the Ravens 15-6. Adam Vinateri accounted for all 15 points that game with his 5 field goals.
Kicker, Brandon McManus, went 4-4 for the Broncos today, his longest 57 yards.
Manning and the offense only tallied 215 total yards, his 41st game with less than 200 yards passing. The offense looked very stagnant, something I give credit to the Baltimore Ravens, they pressured Manning all game. Ravens sacked Manning four-times and hit him six. Manning never once got into rhythm.
The Ravens offense faced the same issues with their quarterback. Flacco was sacked only two-times but was hit nine-times. Flacco threw for 117 yards and finished with a 38.2 quarterback rating. I said that Flacco will have to play at an elite level and he was far from that. And on that Talib interception, Flacco threw the ball right to him, forcing it to Steve Smith
Neither quarterback played good in this one. Manning was missing receivers on deep routes and Flacco just didn't have the weapons he need to make a play down field.
As for the defenses they both played well. Jimmy Smith made his return after missing the second half of the 2014 season, with an interception return for a touchdown that gave the Ravens a 13-6 lead to begin the second half. The Ravens front seven looked like they haven't missed a beat from last season but they did suffer a major loss, Terrell Suggs tearing his Achilles, sidelining him for the remainder of the season. Words can't explain how big of a loss that is.
The Ravens will stay on the west coast for the week, playing their second straight road game against the Oakland Raiders. Broncos will have a short week traveling to Kansas City for AFC West showdown on Thursday night.