BALTIMORE - The Denver Broncos had never won a game in Baltimore against the Ravens. Luckily for them, Peyton Manning has rarely had that problem.
For years, Manning dominated Baltimore as the quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. And after Sunday's game, nothing has changed.
Manning completed 17 of his 28 passes and threw for 204 yards and a touchdown in Denver's 34-17 win over the Ravens. The veteran signal caller has won seven straight against the Ravens, nine including the playoffs.
He's lost to Baltimore twice - in his first two games against the Ravens in 1998 and 2001. During his career, Manning has thrown for 2,477 yards and 18 touchdowns against Baltimore, while throwing just five interceptions.
Manning did not allow the Ravens to force takeaways, as he continually placed the ball where only his receivers could catch it.
"First game we did not turn the ball over, which was pretty significant," Manning said. "They have some good cover guys outside so when you play against good cover guys, you have to give them a mix of short, intermediate, and deep stuff."
Denver coach John Fox also stressed the importance of holding onto the ball against a Baltimore defense which traditionally has forced teams to make mistakes.
"The big challenge this week was to win the turnover battle," Broncos coach John Fox said, "and we were able to do that. I thought that was the biggest difference in the game."
In the third quarter, Manning hit Eric Decker in stride on a stop-and-go route for a 51-yard touchdown that extended Denver's lead to 24-3. The play carried on the momentum the Broncos had established and put the game out of the Ravens' reach.
"I thought it was a good time to try and throw something deep," Manning said. "He made a double move and ran a good route and I had good protection."
The 36-year-old Manning's wins against Baltimore date to 2004 and have included many different teammates. Manning credited those players around him for his success against the Ravens.
"I think all of them have been team wins," Manning said. "You have to have all parts of your team contributing. Our run game was solid today and it set up some things in our passing game."
Baltimore linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo recognized how good Manning has been throughout his career, and said the Ravens did not do a good job of neutralizing him.
"When the ball stays in the hands of one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game," Ayanbadejo said, "and you give him that many touches, most people are going to lose in that situation."
Manning was his usual self on Sunday calling out audibles and assignments at the line of scrimmage en route to leading the Broncos to five scoring drives. Denver scored over 30 points for the seventh time during this nine-game winning streak.
Baltimore has hit a rough stretch in recent weeks and Manning was probably one of the last people they wanted to face amidst their losing streak. Sunday's loss for the Ravens was the most lopsided for Baltimore at home under coach John Harbaugh.
The 17-point margin of defeat was the largest for the Ravens in M&T Bank Stadium since a 44-20 loss on Dec. 9, 2007 against Manning and the Colts. Manning said he believes Denver accomplished something on Sunday, despite the Ravens' recent struggles.
"[Baltimore] is a good football team that we beat at their place today," Manning said. "I have a lot of respect for them."
Fox said his team winning their first game in Baltimore was "right at the top" of the list of wins for the team, and is glad Manning's on his team.
"He's a great player, regardless of what team he's with," Fox said. "He's a tremendous competitor."
Once again, the Ravens fell to Manning but the teams could face each other again in the playoffs. If they play again, Baltimore will most likely have to do a better job of containing Manning.
"Manning is considered one of the greatest of all time," Ayanbadejo said, "so you have to keep the ball out of his hands if you want to win the game."