The Baltimore Ravens fell to the Denver Broncos, 19-13, in their Week One matchup that did not feature an offensive touchdown and several huge plays on defense for both teams.
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Defense dominated the ballgame as neither team scored an offensive touchdown through the first three quarters. No team even entered the red zone until the Broncos did so in the fourth and hit their fourth field goal that wound up being the deciding factor late in the game.
The fourth quarter was dominated by the Broncos as they held possession for 10 minutes and 56 seconds, the longest drive of Manning’s illustrious career. Brandon McManus’ 33-yard field goal with 3 minutes remaining forced Baltimore to score a touchdown on their final drive.
Joe Flacco drove the Ravens offense inside the red zone for the only time in the game on the team’s final possession and it would be a terrible ending to the game. Steve Smith had a ball hit him in the hands in the end zone, but could not bring it down. On the next play, Raven Darian Stewart picked off Flacco’s pass to end the ball game.
McManus was 4-for-4 on the day and opened up the scoring with field goals from 57 and 56 yards to give the Broncos a 6-0 lead after the first quarter.
Tucker kicked a long field goal of his own to get the Ravens on the board, hitting a 52-yarder for the Ravens first points of the season.
The Ravens offense was abysmal in the first quarter, gaining just seven yards on 12 plays, including two sacks on third down. By halftime, the offense only mustered 38 yards. Both teams were horrible running the ball, with both teams gaining less than 30 yards in the first half.
The defense held the Broncos to 114 yards in the first half, which is the lowest total for the Broncos at home since Peyton Manning has led the team. The defensive play would only get better from there.
The Ravens scored the first touchdown of the season on defense as Jimmy Smith picked off a Manning pass and returned it 24 yards to give the Ravens a 10-9 lead 56 seconds into the second half. Manning was absolutely drilled on the play and Smith made a sensational catch to bring it in for the return. It was Smith’s first career touchdown.
Following a quick three-and-out, the Ravens offense had their first play of over 10 yards on offense on a 21-yard connection to Marlon Brown. The drive stalled there, and the Tucker would hit his second field golf of the day to give Baltimore a 13-9 lead.
The Broncos would go three-and-out on the ensuing drive and Smith was the star once again. He made a terrific tackle in space on running back C.J. Anderson and then shut down Demaryius Thomas on the next play. Baltimore’s defense looked to be in control
Just before the end of the third quarter, Aqib Talib picked off a Flacco pass and took it 51 yards for the go ahead touchdown to make it a 16-13 game. The Broncos would then hold the ball for the majority of the fourth quarter until the Ravens final drive. That would be the final touchdown of the evening
In injury news, offensive tackle Eugene Monroe left on the Ravens opening series and was ruled out with a concussion. It was a huge blow to the offense as the Broncos feasted on Monroe’s replacement, James Hurst, with constant pressure on Flacco. Terrell Suggs exited the game in the fourth quarter with a right foot injury and was carted to the locker room. The news after the game was horrible for Baltimore as it was confirmed that Suggs tore his Achilles’ tendon and will be out for the season.
The Ravens will stay out on the West Coast for their Week 2 matchup against the Oakland Raiders. Oakland lost 33-13 to the Cincinnati Bengals today.
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