On what proved to be a game-turning interception, Flacco made the classic mistake of locking in on Steve Smith Sr. despite the fact Aqib Talib, one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, was all over Smith’s route.
It was a crushing error because the Ravens appeared to have control of the game, dominating on defense and beginning to run the ball effectively as the third quarter wound down.
But Flacco’s pick six was merely the low point of a lousy all-around performance by Marc Trestman’s offense.
It’s hard to talk about failings in Trestman’s scheme, because frankly, no plan is going to work when the blockers can’t account for an opponent’s three best rushers.
DeMarcus Ware (five quarterback hits), Brandon Marshall (three tackles for loss) and Von Miller (three quarterback hits) lived in the Ravens’ backfield all game long, abusing an offensive line that lost left tackle Eugene Monroe to a concussion in the first quarter.
One of the big questions going into the game was who might emerge as a deep threat to mitigate the loss of Torrey Smith. But we never got a chance to find out because Flacco rarely had time to set up and look downfield.
Miller and Ware are great players, so their performances weren’t surprising. But I thought the Ravens would overpower the smaller Broncos in the middle.
It never really happened though. The Ravens finished with 73 yards on 23 carries when they needed probably double that production to lay the foundation they wanted.
We’ll have to wait a few weeks to see if this was merely a bad outing against a very good defense or if the offensive line isn’t the strength most of us assumed going into the season.