The Baltimore Ravens had a hectic week leading up to their showdown yesterday with the Denver Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium, with the firing of their offensive coordinator, replacing him with someone who hadn't called an offensive play since the 1990's, and injuries that continued to pile up, especially on the defensive side of the football. Ravens fans had hoped Baltimore would be able to push all that aside and end their two game losing streak, but Peyton Manning and the Broncos carved up the Ravens and embarrassed them 34-17, and the game was not as close as the score indicates.
The play of the game came at the end of the first half as the Broncos were up 10-0, but Baltimore was driving and had first and goal from the four yard line when quarterback Joe Flacco attempted a quick out pass that was picked off by Chris Harris and ran back 98 yards for a touchdown and an early nail in the coffin for the Ravens. That play did not only deflate the fans in the stands, but the team as well and the team almost looked as if they gave up in the second half as I spotted several players jogging and showing lack of effort, which is despicable to me. Baltimore did get a field goal on their first drive in the second half, but Manning took over the game and after back to back touchdown drives, the Broncos led 31-3 and the fans left the stadium with half of the third quarter still to play.
Denver then showed sportsmanship as they basically began to just run time off the clock on their possessions rather than attempting to run up the score, which they could have as badly as the defense was banged up and the lack of effort being shown. Baltimore would score a couple touchdowns late to make the game look closer than it actually was. Baltimore's first drive in the first quarter began with great field position near mid-field and on third and one Flacco attempted a quarterback sneak that appeared he picked up the first down, but he fumbled the ball to give Denver great field position and they proceeded to get a field goal on that drive to take a 3-0 lead and never look back.
Flacco finished the game having completed 20 of 40 pass attempts for 254 yards with two touchdowns, one interception, and one fumble lost, and many of those yards came after the game was out of hand. Ray Rice was held to just 38 yards rushing on 12 carries, but TE Dennis Pitta had a very nice game reeling in seven grabs for 125 yards and two touchdowns. To make matters worse for Baltimore, RB Bernard Pierce and WR Torrey Smith left the game yesterday with concussions.
One bright note for the Ravens yesterday was that they did end up clinching their fifth consecutive playoff appearance, as the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Dallas Cowboys in overtime to give the playoff spot to Baltimore.
I was able to bring you updates yesterday live from M&T Bank Stadium thanks to Mark of M&T Bank, thanks Mark!
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