Manning struggles, but Broncos hold off Ravens

Coach Gary Kubiak's debut with the Broncos was far from perfect -- especially on offense -- but the Denver's talent-rich defense held its own in a 19-13 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Our takeaways:

  1. Denver pulled off the victory, but Peyton Manning's preseason troubles have poured over into September. The Broncos quarterback threw an outrageous 25 passes over the first two quarters, which flies in the face of Denver's so-called commitment to the ground game. Credit goes to Baltimore's air-tight defense, which held the Broncos to 3.2 yards per play in the first half -- the lowest output during Peyton's run with the Broncos -- and added a pick six by cornerback Jimmy Smith. Completing 24 of 40 throws for just 175 yards, Manning was hit hard and sacked four times, more takedowns than Denver has allowed in a game since December 2013.

The Broncos are 1-0, but concerns over Manning's arm strength and velocity are tangible. How far we've come from Denver's opener two years ago, when Manning lashed Baltimore for 462 yards and seven touchdowns. Sure, the Ravens are well-versed in coach Gary Kubiak's offense, but this goes beyond game-planning. With Manning's deep ball shot, Baltimore angled to take away the short half of the field -- and it worked. Look for future opponents to follow suit.

  1. Both defenses were sensational. Joe Flacco was the first quarterback to encounter a Wade Phillips-led Broncos unit that caused all sorts of problems for Baltimore. The Ravens quarterback finished the first half 7 of 10 for just 27 yards as both teams combined for a mere 152 yards at the half. Flacco -- 18 of 32 on the day for just 117 yards -- threw a disastrous pick six in the third quarter, which put Denver up for good in a game devoid of an offensive touchdown. Flacco nearly won it in the end with a gutsy two-minute drill, but his third-down pass was picked off in the end zone by Broncos safety Darian Stewart.

3.The Ravens lost their defensive leader in Sunday's loss. Terrell Suggs was carted off the field in the fourth quarter. After the game John Harbaugh announced that Suggs tore his Achilles and is out for the season.

  1. The vaunted Ravens ground game from a year ago was a non-starter against Von Miller and friends. Justin Forsett finished with just 43 yards for a Baltimore "attack" that topped out at 3.2 yards per carry.
  1. C.J. Anderson ran for 767 of his team-leading 849 yards over the final eight games of 2014. His hot finish didn't translate, though, as the third-year back gave the Broncos just 19 yards on Sunday. Ronnie Hillman (12/41) looked better down the stretch behind Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme. Both backs, though, made plays on a 17-play, 81-yard drive that helped Denver close out the scoring with Brandon McManus' 33-yard field goal.
  1. Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams was a load to deal with, causing all sorts of problems for Denver's O-line and shutting down the run from wire to wire.
This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content