What happened: Because of a scheduling conflict with the Orioles, the Ravens became the first defending Super Bowl champions in 10 years to play their opener on the road. The result was a roller-coaster performance that would foreshadow the rest of the season's first half. Quarterback Peyton Manning and the Broncos stormed through a 21-point third quarter, exposed a leaky Ravens secondary and forced Joe Flacco to throw a total of 62 times while playing a doomed game of catch-up through the air. Flacco threw two interceptions, tight ends Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark dropped multiple passes, and the offensive line gave up four sacks — and those miscues don¿t even count the defense's matador impression. Performance of the game: If there were still any questions about Manning's age and allegedly weaker arm, they were quelled after the four-time league Most Valuable Player threw for 462 yards and seven touchdowns on 27-for-42 passing. It was the most touchdown passes ever allowed by the Ravens in a single game and tied the NFL record. Turning point: It's amazing to think that the Ravens were leading at halftime in what became such a lopsided affair. In the third quarter, Manning passed for three touchdowns in a six-minute span. The Ravens put up 10 points in the fourth but also gave up 14 to seal the blowout. Key stats: The Ravens averaged 2.8 yards per carry. Manning threw for 11 yards per attempt, while Flacco averaged 5.8 yards per attempt on 20 more passes. The Ravens secondary gave up passing touchdowns of 23, 24, 26, 28 and 78 yards. Quote: "We're better," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We can play better. We gave them too many things, too many open guys, too many things where we just need to get better at communication [and] things early in the season."
Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun