Ravens Run Game Rolls
This game wasn’t even close; the Baltimore Ravens dominated the Denver Broncos. The Ravens corners played well and the defensive line shut down Denver’s anemic running game by bringing the blitz, keeping QB Kyle Orton off-balance.
But the game did start with a let down.
On the opening drive, Flacco aired out a long pass to rookie TE Ed Dickson to put the Ravens in scoring position. And before you know it, the offense was at the goaline. But the bad news was they turned the ball over on downs after throwing incomplete on a 4th down pass.
[Update: The Ravens turned over the ball after getting sacked on 4th down, not from throwing an incomplete pass. Thanks to Arjan for pointing that out.]
As usual, the Ravens defense held their ground and forced the Broncos to punt. On the Ravens ensuing drive, they went down the field and this time Flacco was able to make the first score on a QB sneak.
Eventually, Ray Rice and the offensive line took over most of this game. Willis McGahee also helped with a 30 yard TD run, making the score 31 -10 early in the 4th quarter. Orton connected with Brandon Lloyd with under a minute left in the game, but it was not enough to comeback— Ravens won 31 to 17.
Cam Cameron was somewhat on the hot seat when the team didn’t attempt to power through on 4th-and-goal. That being said, Cameron got Ray Rice going and called the game well. Don’t forget those long drives that eat up the clock; Cameron designed some nice passing plays on some third downs, and they resulted in key first downs.
Joe Flacco: Had a good first half, but Denver kept bringing pressure. A few of his shorter throws were off-target. But here’s an important stat: Flacco did not throw an interception.
Offensive line: Excellent day for all the starters; I don’t recall any penalties against them. The run blocking was excellent and the protection was steady. The unit allowed just one sack.
- Benn Grubbs gets unnoticed sometimes, but he is a consistent player and had some key blocks today.
- Michael Oher & Marshall Yanda have also excelled.
Running Game: It was great to see Ray Rice back in his usual form. He finished the day with 133 rushing yards and 2 TDs, on top of 4 receptions for 26 yards. McGahee was not too shabby either with that 30 yard run!
Receivers: The receivers didn’t take center stage today because of the running game, but Heap and Mason had some nice grabs.
Every Ravens fan would like to see more sacks, but the important thing was that they still brought a lot of pressure on Orton to hurry his throws. The Ravens could have had about 3 more sacks, but there were 3 holding calls on Denver’s offensive line. If they didn’t hold, they would have allowed sacks. Ray Lewis drew two of those holding penalties as he was flying in for blitzes.
DE Cory Redding is starting to get a real good feel for the defense, he was able to get a sack today. T-Sizzle was getting pressure and excelled at stopping the run.
Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison went to a prevent defense before the half, but it backfired as the Broncos scored. After that, the defense reverted back to being aggressive. The defense was able to take Denver off the field on some crucial third downs.
Secondary: Let’s give credit to the corners; they had some talented receivers to cover, but shut them down for the most part. This unit continues to silence the critics.
- Fabian Washington: Had one of his best games as a Raven. He broke up passes and tackled aggressively. Hopefully next time he can capitalize on that interception opportunity he had.
- Lardarius Webb: His coverage continues to be excellent. He broke up a few passes, and you have to like they way he hits.
- Josh Wilson: Played fairly well after being deactivated last week. The PI penalty was too close of a call. Wilson also seemed like he dropped a sure interception.
- Haloti Ngata: Some big stops on D! And he went out for a pass in the end zone on offense!
Jason Phillips: Had a monster hit on rookie Demaryius Thomas, causing a fumble and turnover.
Billy Cundiff: He has done a fabulous job on kickoffs all year. He took away Denver’s dangerous return game with constant touch-backs from deep kicks.
RAVENS KEY STATS
- Total Rushing yards: 233 yds
- Third down efficiency: 53% (7 of 13)
- Time of Possession: 36:17
- Offensive turnovers: 0
- Rushing yards allowed: 39 yds
- Third down coversions allowed: 38% (5 for 13)