Sunday, October 10, 2010

Broncos Gameday Recap: Game 5 - at Ravens

Ravens 31 Broncos 17

Ray Rice and the Ravens ran roughshod over the Broncos on Sunday.

Ugh. That was ridiculous. If you're a Broncos fan, that was hard to watch. Sometimes, the other guy is just better than you. In the case of the Ravens...much better than you. The Broncos didn't have a prayer today, not only were they less talented, which we already knew...they played bad football. They hadn't played like a badly coached team all year, but today they appeared to be over matched and under prepared. You're bound to lay an egg from time to time, and going into Baltimore is a tough game for anyone, but I'm hoping this isn't the beginning of a trend.

There is no way to sugar-coat this game...The Broncos got whooped.

The Broncos lost the game, they lost the battle at the line of scrimmage, they lost two safeties and their first round pick wide receiver for the day (possibly longer), they lost their ability to not get massively penalized, and they lost their way. If you bet on the Broncos, you lost your money. It was truly a lost weekend. The Broncos probably lost their luggage on their flight home.


One of the few bright spots for Denver, Brandon Lloyd is really have a crazy good season from out of nowhere.

Brandon Lloyd: Granted, many of his 135 yards and his second touchdown came in garbage time, but Brandon Lloyd shone brightly for the Broncos on a day where little went right for Denver in a mostly horrible game. He made some outstanding catches and continues to be one of the biggest surprise stories of this NFL season. In his 8th NFL season, this journeyman has bounced from the 49ers, Bears, and Redskins and finally arrived last year as a deep bench guy for Denver playing in all of two games for the Broncos in 2009. He has never had more than 48 catches in a season now he already has 30 after only five games, and he currently leads all NFL players in receiving yardage. Yup, from scrapheap to number one. Great story this year.

The Broncos stopped Rice and the Ravens on drive number one...a theme that unfortunately didn't hold for the rest of the day's proceedings.

Goal line defense: The Ravens had little trouble moving the ball all day, but once it got inside the 10, the Broncos at least made it difficult. The first drive of the game when the Broncos sacked Flacco at the 15 yard line on Fourth and Goal from the 1 raised my hopes for the day...Those hopes were quickly dashed, but at least they were briefly raised.


Offensive line: The Ravens defense is solid, but the Broncos offensive line made it look spectacular. Although Orton was only sacked once, he didn't have nearly enough time to make it through his progressions and even worse, the O-line is getting zero push. The running game is non-existent to the point it's embarrassing. The offense cannot be this unbalanced and survive. Defenses are cheating on the pass game, because there is absolutely no threat that the running game will do anything. The result is short drives, quick punts, and a tired defense. It's getting to be a huge problem for this team.

The offensive line was able to do little to stop Ray Lewis and his band of merry men in purple.

Run Defense: The Ravens marched through the Broncos defense with no difficulty. Ray Rice had a huge game with 133 yards on 27 carries, and when the Ravens brought in Willis McGahee it got even worse for the Broncos, as he averaged 6.7 yards per carry in relief of Rice. The Ravens were so effective running the ball, they used the passing game sparingly, yet effectively as Flacco only completed 14 passes, but that was all they needed to blow out the Broncos.

Penalties: Ten Penalties for 90 yards, and many which came at crippling times for the Broncos offense. Denver was undisciplined and it cost them any chance at a win. If they were going to go into Baltimore and win, they'd need to be special, they were anything but.

Final Thought:

The Ravens are very good, the Broncos are mediocre at best. This game revealed just how wide that spread was. The statistics and final score, while quite imbalanced, are still somewhat misleading, as the Ravens D let up a bit at the end and the Broncos got some garbage yards and points at the end. This was a blowout, and it was even worse than you might think if you didn't watch it. The most telling stat was total time of possession and total number of plays. The Ravens held the ball for 36:17 to 23:43 for Denver. Even worse, the Ravens ran 73 plays to 52 for the Broncos. Denver could have lost this one by 30, easily.

Lets take a moment to appreciate Kyle Orton. He went over 300 yards for the fourth straight game despite having the handicap of not having a running game. People can clamor for Tebow if they like, but that would be foolishness, as Orton is playing tremendously well right now.

It's probably better that we don't dwell on this one too long. Although, It's not like life gets easier next week, as the Broncos will welcome in the Jets who are looking good thus far this season. This may be the start of the inevitable slide, but here's hoping that McDaniels can get back in the lab and come up with something that stops the bleeding a little. I don't expect playoffs this year, but I'm hoping for progress this season which leads to hope for the future. The Ravens game was the first time this season that it looked like the Broncos were moving backwards, which is discouraging. Oh well, we'll try to remain positive as we cheer for our boys. Despite the tough game, Go Broncos!

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