Denver's next game is against defending champion Pittsburgh, which won't make it easier. But the Broncos are used to tough tests, having already played a rough schedule that has included, in a five-week stretch, Dallas, New England, San Diego and Baltimore - all potential playoff teams.
The Broncos haven't let the tough schedule affect their mindset at all.
"We really don't look at all that," running back Correll Buckhalter said. "Whoever we're playing, we prepare for that and play 60 minutes on Sunday."
Playing a stream of elite teams might have caught up to the Broncos during their trip to Baltimore. The Ravens were physical with the Broncos on offense and defense. What might have been most troubling was the difficulty the offense had protecting quarterback Kyle Orton and moving the ball.
Orton had only 152 yards passing, and plenty of that came on the final drive after the Broncos were down by 23 points. Orton had less than 100 yards before the Broncos' last possession. Baltimore didn't give Orton much time to throw, so he didn't stretch the field often.
Compounding the Broncos' problems was the lack of a solid running game. Buckhalter had 16 yards on eight carries and Knowshon Moreno added only 39 yards on 10 carries. If the Broncos can't run the ball against the Steelers, they could have a similar problem, with Pittsburgh unleashing its pass rush against Orton.
LINEUP WATCH: The Broncos had to turn to Tyler Polumbus against Baltimore after right tackle Ryan Harris left with a toe injury. Harris was carted off the field, although the extent of the injury is still unclear. Polumbus had a decent game in relief but it will be tough to replace Harris if Polumbus has to start against Pittsburgh, a team that generates consistent pressure on the quarterback. Polumbus has never started an NFL game, in part because the Broncos have had two durable tackles in Harris and Ryan Clady.
BY THE NUMBERS: 37-19 -- The Broncos passed the ball 37 times to only 19 runs against Baltimore. Some of that was the strategy going in, to attack the Ravens' struggling pass defense. Part of it was that the Broncos fell behind and had to pass more. But the Broncos are more of a passing team this season, and should continue to be. Denver coach Josh McDaniels likes to base his plan on the opponents' weakness, and Pittsburgh has played the run much better than the pass this season. The Broncos could again decide to spread the field, but will have to protect better against the Steelers than they did against Baltimore.
-- WR Brandon Marshall suffered along with the Broncos' passing game against Baltimore. He had only 24 yards on four catches, as the Broncos couldn't get anything going on offense.
-- RB Knowshon Moreno lost a fumble on a hard hit by Baltimore safety Ed Reed. Although the play itself was understandable - Moreno got drilled just after catching a pass - it is a disturbing trend. In seven games, Moreno has lost three fumbles.
-- WR Eddie Royal had another quiet day, with two catches for 10 yards. Although Royal is talented and the Broncos coaches say nothing is wrong with him, it is becoming clear his big games could be rare this year.
-- LB D.J. Williams had a team-high 11 tackles against Baltimore. Williams has been Denver's most consistent defender, staying on the field in ass situations.
-- LB Elvis Dumervil was held without a sack against Baltimore. After getting 10 sacks in six games, he will get plenty of attention in the latter part of the season, as he did against Baltimore.
Broncos Update Community Forums