The 2013 NFL Kickoff Game this year featured the Baltimore Ravens at the Denver Broncos. The game was a rematch of last year when the Ravens upset the Broncos in the Divisional round of the NFL Playoffs, where we all watched with slack-jawed awe as the Broncos let the Ravens back into the game on a long toss to Jacoby Jones – a play that ultimately helped send them to the Super Bowl.
Earlier this week, I wrote articles highlighting all of the holes on the Ravens’ roster and the weapons that John Elway has gathered around Peyton Manning. Coming into tonight’s game, I expected the Broncos to step on the gas pedal and drive the tempo up to a breathtaking pace with the no-huddle offense in an attempt to rob the Ravens of their wind for the second half.
What we saw in the first half was a meandering event where the Broncos used the no-huddle roughly half the time and allowed the Ravens’ defense to stay fresh. At the same time, we saw Joe Flacco come into the game looking for his next go-to receiver after losing Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta. The Broncos’ corners came out playing in press coverage until Jacoby Jones slipped loose and started finding the holes.
Once Flacco realized this, he locked in on Jones and targeted him with the kind of fervor that made it look like the Terminator had a passing interest in hurting Sara Connor’s feelings. This worked great until Jones was completely leveled by his own man while attempting to fair catch a punt at the end of the second quarter.
In Baltimore, they say “In Ozzie We Trust”. Well, apparently Ozzie Newsome trusts a ridiculously thin receiver corps to catch passes from his $120 million quarterback.
The Broncos came out in the second half and laid out the mile high version of the rope-a-dope, where Manning put his foot down on the no-huddle offense in an effort to gas out the Ravens’ defense. The Ravens attempted to make a good fight of it, but Manning moved the offense so fast that John Harbaugh didn’t have time to challenge Wes Welker’s dropped pass in the third quarter, which lead to the pull-away touchdown by Andre Caldwell.
Peyton Manning put on a clinic tonight, throwing for 452 yards and seven touchdowns. He showed just why an opponent shouldn’t spend a second thinking they can outsmart him or out-think him in any game.
Apparently when Terrell Suggs attended Ball So Hard University, he didn’t take the class that teaches if you blindly blitz Peyton Manning, he will tear you up by passing to your side of the field for two touchdowns to Wes Welker.
At the start of the fourth quarter, we predictably saw the Ravens’ defenders with their hands on their hips gulping air in giant breaths while they tried to figure out how Manning was going to eviscerate them next.
I’m sure we’ll be sitting back someday 10 years from now, looking at the moral victory that came out of the flimsy roster of rookies and old men that Ozzie Newsome stitched together. Maybe this leads towards something where it’s all for the better. Right now, with the Broncos trouncing the Ravens 49-27, it looks like Newsome’s hubris can’t hold a candle to Peyton Manning’s genius.