Instant Analysis of the Ravens' 19-13 loss to the Broncos

The Baltimore Sun
Instant Analysis of the Ravens' 19-13 loss to the Broncos:

Ron Fritz, sports editor: If you had told me before the game that the Ravens’ defense would hold the Broncos’ offense to four field goals, I’d say easy win for Ravens. But the lack of a second receiving option behind Steve Smith Sr. just killed the Ravens today. It forced Flacco to look at Smith the whole way on the crucial pick-6 and it cost the Ravens the game. No question, it was a terrible throw by Flacco, just like the game-ending interception.

Jon Meoli, reporter: Gary Kubiak. Owen Daniels. Marc Trestman. It was all offenses before the game, but nary a word was said about safety Darian Stewart, whose late interception in the end zone was the difference. The Ravens’ offensive performance was what a lot of observers feared—not enough of a downfield threat to keep the underneath coverage off their receivers, and much less success running the ball and protecting quarterback Joe Flacco. The Ravens defense couldn’t have played better, but Flacco’s interceptions were the deciding factor here.

Alexander Pyles, Ravens editor: Ouch. Until Joe Flacco's two second-half interceptions, this was one that the Ravens might have looked back on with great pride -- a tough, grind-it-out victory that showed the 2014 team's biggest weakness, the secondary, might be a strength in 2015. Instead, it's a six-point loss in the season opener that really hurts. The Ravens offense needs a receiver who can get down the field.

Peter Schmuck, columnist: This game was a giveaway. The Broncos tried to give it away and the Ravens succeeded. The Broncos offense appeared to be done for the day when Joe Flacco threw that pick-six, but Peyton Manning and company were rejuvenated enough to mount a time-consuming drive at the end to tack on a field goal and force the Ravens to go the length of the field. And, for the first time in the game, they almost did. Big opportunity missed.

Mike Preston, columnist: It was a tough loss for the Ravens, the kind of game a good visiting team sneaks in and wins. The defense played well but the offense was horrendous. Quarterback Joe Flacco will bounce back and have a strong performance next week, and so will the offensive line. But the Ravens still lack big play and fast receivers and the loss of outside linebacker Terrell Suggs for the year hurts. I was also looking to see a little more creativity from offensive coordinator Marc Trestman.

Childs Walker, reporter: This game could haunt the Ravens as an enormous missed opportunity. They appeared to have a stranglehold on the Broncos' offense and the game until Joe Flacco threw a disastrous pick six late in the third quarter. He locked in on Steve Smith and seemingly never saw Aqib Talib stalking Smith's route. It was the lowest point in a dismal offensive effort that saw the Ravens unable to protect Flacco or establish a consistent running attack. With their offensive futility, the Ravens squandered a strong all-around effort from the defense. Losing at Denver is never a shock, but this one will sting because it could have easily gone the other way.

Jeff Zrebiec, reporter: On a day when the defense stood tall and the secondary held up reasonably well, the Ravens lost a game that they never should have. Now, they have to pick up the pieces without Terrell Suggs for the rest of the season and with a clear absence of playmakers on the offensive side of the football. The preseason concerns about the Ravens' lack of speed on offense were proven legitimate. This team needs Maxx Williams to grow up fast and they need Breshad Perriman to return. Until those things happen, teams will copy the Broncos' game plan and the Ravens will struggle to put up points.

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