Denver Broncos safety Mike Adams played for the Cleveland Browns for five long seasons before coming to Denver, so he’s all too familiar with AFC North rival, the Baltimore Ravens.
“They come hard every time,” Adams said after Monday’s practice. “That’s why they got those touchdowns late in the fourth quarter. There is no quit in them. Joe Flacco, we’re both Delaware Blue Hens, he has a little fight in him. They play to the end. I know, playing for Ray [Lewis], they’re going to go hard every play. They’re going to make sure that they try to get the job done.”
The last time the Broncos met Flacco, they held him to a 50% completion rate. Cornerback Chris Harris picked Flacco off right before halftime and ran it a long 98 yards for a touchdown to put the Broncos up 17-0 heading into halftime.
“I definitely have a lot of confidence, based off how we played last time,” Harris said. “I’m just trying to go out there and duplicate the same thing. I know I’m going to play my game and whatever they have new, whatever they do, we’ll be ready for it. We’re prepared.”
Those late Flacco touchdowns that Adams was talking about came on 31-yard and 61-yard pass plays to tight end Dennis Pitta which made the game look closer than it actually was.
“We let them make some plays on us and gave up some big plays, so we’re looking to [avenge] ourselves too, just like they are,” linebacker Wesley Woodyard said.
With an 87.7 average QBR for the season to go along with his 22 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions, Flacco has made Pitta (7 touchdowns) his third favorite target behind Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith.
Pitta had just 2 catches for 27 yards in the Ravens’ win over the Indianapolis Colts, but one of his catches went for a touchdown. Flacco went 12-for-23 for 282 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the 24-9 win.
“I always tell people he reminds me of [Steelers QB] Ben Roethlisberger,” Adams said of Flacco. He is a big guy. Not as hard to tackle as Big Ben, but he is pretty tough to bring down, and he has a big arm. We all saw that yesterday. He can sling it a long way. He is accurate, too. He can make all the throws from the opposite hash to the right corner and the left corner.”
The Ravens ended the season 15th in passing (and 11th in rushing), but they’re much more deadly on the field than they appear on paper, particularly in the playoffs. Last season, the Ravens finished the regular season 19th in passing and 10th in rushing, yet they made it to the AFC Championship game.
This isn’t an offense that can’t be disregarded. There are two fourth quarter touchdowns in the books to remind the Broncos of that.