Baltimore hasn’t been a friendly city to the Denver Broncos. For two years in a row, the Broncos have had to fly out on the losing end of a Sunday afternoon game. The Ravens beat the Broncos yesterday 31-17.
The Ravens jumped on the Broncos quickly, opening with a 17-0 lead, until right before halftime when Kyle Orton connected with Brandon Lloyd for a touchdown. It appeared that the Broncos would turn the corner after halftime, and come out with fire in the belly. After all, they had not allowed the Ravens to score since 9:21 left in the 2nd quarter. Momentum didn’t quite swing Denver’s way, however. The Ravens got their running game going with Ray Rice and Willis McGahee each running for a touchdown in the 2nd half. They combined for 200 yards on 37 carries, and 3 TDs on the day.
When looking at individual statistics, one would think that the Broncos put up a good fight against the Ravens. Kyle Orton threw for over 300 yards again, Brandon Lloyd had 135 receiving yards and 2 TDs, and even the rushing game stepped it up a notch averaging 3.0 yards per carry. Kyle Orton was sacked just once and the Broncos turned the ball over only one time as well. Ravens QB Joe Flacco went 14-25 for 196 yards and no TDs.
The key to the Ravens win was their running game. The passing attack wore down Denver’s defense in the first half and then they amped up the ground attack in the final half of the game. The Ravens controlled the clock (36:17 to 23:43) and had 161 of their 233 rushing yards after halftime. They basically put the game clock in their mouths, chewed up Denver’s defense, and swallowed.
Throw in 10 Broncos penalties for 90 yards lost and that was the unfortunate recipe for Sunday’s loss.
The Broncos are in tough portion of their schedule. Tennessee and Baltimore don’t have welcome mats in front of the visiting locker rooms, nor did the Broncos expect one. They knew that these past two weeks would be a challenge. After a physical win last week, the Broncos had to prepare themselves once again to hit the road and play arguably the hardest hitting team in the league.
Whether or not the memories from last season’s loss in Baltimore faded doesn’t matter. The Broncos and the Ravens brought new personnel and new schemes to 2010.
As the Broncos take the field next week against the Jets, they will be doing it without five of their big-name defensive players. Robert Ayers, Darcel McBath, Wesley Woodyard, Brian Dawkins, and Andre Goodman will not suit up due to a long list of injuries.
As the Broncos return home, hopefully other things will make a return as well, including a tally in the win column.
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