Week 1 Recap: Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos

Week 1 – Regular Season
Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos
Sunday, September 13, 2015 @ 4:25 PM EST

Whew, that was close!  Not a pretty win all around, but the defense came to win!  The Broncos defense stood up to the last attack from the Ravens, forcing a red-zone turnover to seal the deal for Denver.  Aqib Talib set the stage with his 3rd quarter, 51 yard pick six, and the Denver defense continued to show it dominance in a huge Week 1 win!

Let’s look back and grade the units from each team…

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Offense:  Joe Flacco was under constant pressure all day long.  Steve Smith Sr dropped a would be touchdown and the Baltimore offense was held to just 173 yards on the day.  QB Joe Flacco completed just 56% of his passes, didn’t throw a touchdown and was forced into throwing two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.  While they did manage 73 yards on the ground, the Ravens were just 2 of 13 (15%) on third down conversions.

I questioned their ability to have a successful passing game, and Flacco had one of his worst days in his 8 year career.  This unit is going to need some work, and the quicker they can get Perriman back, the better off they are going to be.

Offense Grade: D

Defense:  The Ravens defense was once again a huge factor in this game.  Baltimore allowed just 219 yards on defense and grabbed a pick six of their own, when they took their first lead of the game in the 3rd quarter.  The Ravens managed to sack Peyton Manning 4 times and held the QB to 174 yards on 24 completions.

I expected the Ravens to bring their A game on defense and they didn’t disappoint.  While it could have been worse, (Manning overthrowing Thomas on a wide open touchdown route), the Ravens defense held on til the very end.  Losing Suggs for the season is a huge blow.

Defense Grade: B

Special Teams:  Kicker Justin Tucker converted both of his field goal attempts, with his longest coming from 52 yards out, and also converted his only FG attempt.  Sam Koch provided the expected consistency, punting 6 times for an average of 48.3 yards.  Steve Smith Sr got involved in the return game, returning 2 punts for a total of 16 yards.

Tucker is clutch and very reliable, and obviously the Denver air helps.  Having a kicker and punter like the ones the Ravens do make it easier to sleep as a Special Teams Coordinator.

Special Teams Grade: A

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Offense: The Broncos looked anything but ordinary over the course of their Week 1 win against the Ravens.  Peyton missed wide open throws, the running game never really got going, and the Denver offense failed to score an offensive touchdown.  While the last drive was impressive, this unit has a long way to go.  Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas continued to contribute when required, as collectively they collected 125 yards on 15 receptions.  I don’t know how this unit will fare down the road, but this was not a good first impression for Kubiak and his revamped Denver offense.

Hopefully, they will get things going in the very near future.  They face a big challenge against Kansas City on Thursday night.

Offense Grade: D

Defense: How fun was that to watch?  This was a great defensive battle from the very beginning and it ended on a huge defensive play.  The Denver defense had Flacco on the run all day, holding the Baltimore QB to just 117 yards on 18 completions.  The Broncos were the recipients of two Joe Flacco interceptions, one of which Denver CB Aqib Talib took 52 yards for a touchdown.  Add in two sacks, and the game sealing interception, and this defense proved that they will be a force to reckon with this season.

If they stay healthy, this defense is going to give opposing teams nightmares for the remainder of the season.  Big game for the Broncos defense, and a tribute to what Wade Phillips has brought to this team.  The defense won this game, “Kicking and Screaming”!

Defense Grade: A

Special Teams:  Denver kicker Brandon McManus kicked 57 and 56 yard field goals in the first quarter, added a 43 yard field goal in the 2nd quarter, converted an extra point in the 3rd, and finished his day converting a 33 yard field goal attempt in the 4th quarter.  Punter Colquitt was asked to punt 5 times and averaged 45.4 yards per punt.

Sanders was a non-factor in the game as far as punt returns go.  The unit looked good on kick and punt defense and their kicker appears to be a solid option when needed in any game.

Special Teams Grade: A

Recap

CJ Anderson didn’t run for 100 yards, and while the game did start off as a great defensive battle, Denver never got rolling on offense.  The defense set the pace and stole the show.  Tough fought win for Denver, and now it is on to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Final Score

Baltimore Ravens – 13 (Predicted 17)

Denver Broncos – 19 (Predicted 27)


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