Sunday, November 1, 2009

Broncos Gameday Recap: Game #7 - at Ravens

Joe Flacco was definitely the best quarterback on the field in Baltimore on Sunday.

Ravens 30 Broncos 7 - Momma said there'd be days like this...on a rainy day in Baltimore the Broncos fell from the ranks of the unbeaten with a thud. You could kind of see this one coming, the Ravens had lost three in a row and were coming off a bye week to a rabid home crowd and in desperate need of a win. The Broncos were riding a season long winning streak, and could afford to lose this one. I'm not surprised by the results, although it'd have been nice to see them at least complete.

This is the type of game I thought at the beginning of the year that we'd see a lot from the Broncos, not a lot of offense and the defense not being able to shut down the opponent. Thus far, the Broncos had been able to avoid it, but today the Ravens ran roughshod over them, and they could manage little more than a whimper and a limp to the sidelines. You could tell from the first play when Jarret Johnson flew in unblocked to destroy Kyle Orton that it might not be the Broncos day.

Although they did a decent job, the defense couldn't keep Ray Rice down all day.

The defense gave a game effort, but with absolutely no help from their offense, by the end they were just unable to keep shutting down Joe Flacco and company. If you just looked at the scoreboard at the half, you might think that the game was rather close, as Baltimore only led by a score of 6-0, but the domination was much more severe than that. Even at only 6-0, it appeared that the Broncos had no chance, and when Lardarius (Yes, some mother actually named her son Lardarius) Webb ran back the opening kickoff of the 2nd half back for a touchdown, it was done. The Broncos were not coming back from 13 points back with the way they were playing. The Broncos made one scoring drive aided by a 39 yard pass interference penalty against the Ravens. Knowshon Moreno took the ball in from one yard out, but the offense didn't do anything after that. The defense gave up two second half touchdowns and a field goal, basically this was ugly.

Positives from the Game:

Blow a kiss to the crowd, Knowson.

Knowshon Moreno's touchdown celebration: When Moreno scored in the third quarter he ran a bit deeper into the end zone and then blew a kiss to the crowd. It was so simple and yet it elicited a loud chorus of boos from the Baltimore faithful. I loved it.

Mitch Berger practices his ability to shoot punts through players arms.

Somehow Mitch Berger didn't get his punt blocked by Ed Reed: Early in the game, new punter Mitch Berger looked like he was going to get his punt blocked yet somehow the ball flew right between the two extended arms of Ed Reed perfectly not get touched despite the fact that if Reed stuck his tongue out of the play, he might have been able to tell you what flavor the ball was. It was a minor miracle of special teams. By the way, the Broncos are 6-0 with Brett Kern, and 0-1 without him. They may look back on dropper Kern as a bad moment in the season, I'm not convinced that he was not their good luck charm, and I fear for their karma with Kern gone.

Negatives from the game:

Knowshon Moreno's fumble:
Knowshon once again put the ball on the turf. That makes three so far this year, which is a lot for the rookie. He can probably be forgiven for this one, as he was smashed into by Ed Reed who put a gigantic lick on him. I'm just glad he remembered what his name was after that play. The fumble led to the first three points of the game for Baltimore.

Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb takes a kickoff to the house against bad kickoff coverage.

Special Teams play: Mike Priefer is the special teams coach for the Broncos, and his unit has been a horrendous weakness on this team thus far. For the second straight game, a kick was returned against the Broncos for a touchdown. Both times, the coverage unit did not stay in their lanes which is a matter of coaching, I think. Not only that, but Eddie Royal kept running the ball out from deep in the end zone and failing to even get back to the twenty, and the punt protection was dreadful. Mike Priefer has a lot of work to do.

Orton had no time to make things happen.

Kyle Orton: After playing perhaps his best game of the season against the Chargers in their last game, he played unquestionably his worst game of the year today. The numbers aren't horrible, 23-37 for 152 yards, but his aim was off, his feet were dancing, and he is lucky that two or three passes were not picked off. I won't put all the blame on Kyle, because his offensive line was not affording him any time to find anything down field. Kyle is at his best when he has time and doesn't need to make huge things happen on offense; today he had no time, and if the Broncos were going to score he had to be the one to make it happen. Bad recipe for Denver.

It was a bad day for beautiful football: The defenses for both teams were hitting and doing a pretty decent job, the offenses for both teams were mostly sputtering, but the Ravens got it going just enough to put the hammer down on Denver. This one was far from a thing of beauty, though.

Final thought:

The Broncos were due, actually overdue, for a stinker. Plus, the Ravens are a good team that desperately needed a win, so this one is understandable. Hopefully Denver got that out of their system, as there are a lot of tough games ahead. Still, you can't feel too bad about 6-1. Up next for the Broncos is a Monday Night date with the Pittsburgh Steelers at Invesco Field. The best thing they can do is try to put this abortion of an effort in Baltimore behind them, and try to get back to what was working in September and October. It's just one game, not time to panic yet, but there is definitely room for concern.

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