Kickoff is set – I'm struggling to get the room to stop spinning and the Broncos have won the toss… Let's shake it up.
Like I've said before – this is gonna be the Broncos biggest game to date – Orton takes it out of the shotgun at the 31 – OUCH – massive QB sack drops eight… Something tells me this one's gonna be tight. Two short passes later and the Broncos' newest addition, Mitch Berger is out to punt – Ravens will take it at their own 30.
Balt is going with the no-huddle…Flacco hits Todd Heap on third and 5 moving it out to the 40. Broncos "D" tightens it up for three straight incompletions and Orton and Co. are headed out for Part Two. Beautiful shot by Dawkins to bust up the pass – single best offseason pick this year.
Everything you've heard about this Ravens defense is true – it's like going up against a mountain – Broncos pull out another 3-0 and Flaco takes over near midfield at the Ravens 40.
Broncos turn to step it up – killing off a 10-play drive that saw Derrick Mason absolutely melt down on a non-called holding penalty. Everybody and their sister saw it except for the officials – 15-yards the other way and the Ravens are out of field goal range. It was a great helmet toss though…
Broncos take it at the 20 – Orton on the ground to Moreno for a sweet 9-yards – back to Moreno for the first. Orton's rolling with the rookie – back to Moreno who gets hammered at the catch – ball is on the ground and the Ravens get it back at the Broncos 23-yard line… this could be trouble.
Three plays later and it's an easy chip shot for Steven Hauschka – Ravens light the board at 3-0.
Broncos counter with a little song and dance of their own but can't advance past the 29 as the quarter comes to a close. This is getting interesting...
After a completely uninspiring 29-yard punt by Berger the Ravens take control at the 41 and get stuffed. Beautiful stand by the Denver "D" – Koch sends it down to the Broncos 24-yard line.
Did I mention I hate early games? I still haven't recovered from Friday…
Broncos look like they're trying to recover as well – offense just can't get anything rolling – Orton gets hammered in the backfield and comes up with a slight limp. Five of eight for 2-yards through the air at this point…another 30 something punt and the Ravens get another shot from the 37.
Flacco's got it rolling – into Broncos territory but the "D" tightens it when it counts and they dodge the seven with another Hauschka field goal. At this stage the Ravens are completely outplaying Denver – but only hold a six point advantage… the gods of football are smiling on Mcd – here comes Orton.
Royal brings it out from the one – 19-yard return. Orton out of the pocket hits Buckhalter for the first. Pounding it out in the short game – hits Royal at the 42 for another first down. Broncos are moving the ball for the first time all game – near midfield as the we hit the two-minute warning…
Buckhalter combo - ground and air moves it onto the Ravens turf – but the drive stalls out at the 40 and Denver is forced to punt 37 seconds left… Wait a minute – delay of game on Berger – move it back five and head to the locker room to figure it out…
Broncos are LUCKY to be down by only six… Thirty-five yards passing for Denver in the first half. You may want to start drinking at this point…
If McD's got anything up his sleeve he needs to bust it out now… Defense has played great considering… worst offensive performance of the year – Ravens have got Denver's number – "O" line needs to pull it together.
Ravens take the kick at the five and it's daylight all the way to the end zone – so much for Special Teams – 95-yard touchdown. Nice facial for Denver… McD's gotta be jacked right now –
Drive starts at the 14 – quick toss to Scheffler and Moreno on the ground moves it out to the 31 for a first. Deep ball to Marshall falls incomplete but flags fly on a defensive hold. Nice sales job by Marshall to draw the penalty. Orton's got them moving – strike to Gaffney picks up another first down at the Ravens 15. Through the air to Hillis moves it down to the 9. Moreno on the ground to the six – 3rd and one and it's incomplete to Graham – McD calls time to figure it out - Broncos go for it on 4th and one – Orton to Marshall – ravens D gets flagged for offsides – it's first and goal from the 3…
Keeping it on the ground – Moreno up the middle gets stuffed at the line – Orton to Scheffler is incomplete but Baltimore draws another interference penalty and it's a Broncos first down at the one-yard line…Moreno around left end for the score – Broncos close the gap 13-7. Ten plays, 86-yards and there a sign of life on the Broncos sideline…
Ravens offense comes out rested – Flacco looks to pass but can't find anyone open – naturally there's got to be a problem somewhere – Broncos get the call on illegal contact - Ravens first down at the 23. Nice mix of ground and air has moved the chains down to the Broncos 21.
Busted play – ball is on the ground and the madness to figure out who has it has begun… Ravens retain possession and settle for Steve Hauschka to split the uprights – Ravens lead 16-7 at the 4:55 mark of the third quareter.
Here we go again – Royal out of the end zone brings it out to the 22. Ground game goes nowhere with Buckhalter – loss of one. Out of the shotgun is incomplete to Marshall… Third and 11 from the 21 – quick toss to Buckhalter comes up two-yards short and it's Berger back for the punt… Three and out for Denver and they give Flacco another shot at the 27.
Ravens are rocking it – third and five and Flacco hits Washington for 18-yards down the middle. Keeping up the no-huddle and Flacco connects with Clayton inside the 45 – more flags – offside on Dumervil – tack on another five as the third quarter comes to a close.
Broncos might as well hand them a first down – another flag on the D line. Third and three and Flacco hits Washington for a 21-yard pick up moving it to the Broncos 22. Three plays later Flacco hits paydirt with a strike to Derrick Mason for the score. This is getting sick – ANOTHER defensive penalty on the PAT – offsides on Hill…Ravens extend the lead 23-7.
I'm afraid this one's over boys and girls... break out the keg.
Royal takes it in the end zone and it's brought out to the 20. Orton to Gaffney on the sideling is incomplete. Back to Gaffney for 17-yards moves the chains to the 37. Moreno on the ground and Graham through the air brings up third and three from the 44. Incomplete to Royal across the middle and it's Berger back to punt for the seventh time today. Ravens take possession on their own 25.
You gotta give them credit – Broncos "D" just won't give up – Ravens go three and out and Royal fields the punt at the 24 with 8:45 left in Denver's undefeated season.
Toss to Buckhalter looses five – incomplete to Marshall and a ten-yard sack on Orton brings back Bereger for an encore… hang on - flags fly – Ravens get tagged for running into the kicker – no big deal… Berger punt Part Two – Flacco will start it at the Baltimore 47 with just over seven on the clock.
Great time management by Flacco – dude chews it up but the chains keep moving – wouldn't be surprised to see another score on this drive. Ground game is is working – Ravens are inside the five and Denver's got that deer in the headlights look.
Broncos bring the blitz and Ray Rice takes it straight up the middle for a Ravens touchdown… Broncos trail 30-7 at the two-minute warning…
Ok, so 6-1 is still a lot better than we expected…. (Bronco fan's mantra for the week).
First time all year that McD looked out coached. Ravens had an answer for EVERYTHING the Broncos broke out with. Lot of weaknesses exposed today – especially on the offensive line – Orton doesn't handle the pressure off the rush and Marshall was nowhere to be found – four catches for 24-yards won't cut it against the Steelers.
Clock winds down – this one's in the books – Ravens completely outplay the Broncos and play the spoiler 30-7…
I'll be curious to see who's jumping off the bandwagon this week…
Post game quotes from the locker room to follow
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past twelve-years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio and Internet stations around the country. You can follow all of Schon's updates on Twitter or drop him an email at Michael John Schon
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