Manning’s 7 TD’s sink Ravens on Opening Day

  • Michael Prosser

Denver QB Peyton Manning threw a record tying 7 touchdowns in Thursday night’s game against the Ravens (courtesy of the LA Times)

The defending Super Bowl Champions did not get off to the start they had hoped for on Thursday night at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver. Jim Harbaugh and company watched as Peyton Manning throw 462 yards and  a record tying 7 touchdown passes as the Broncos destroyed the Ravens 49-27.

After a 33 minute delay for lightning, the game finally kicked off with both teams going 3-and-out on each of their first

Ravens Fullback Vonta Leach scoring the season’s first touchdown during Thursday’s game against the Broncos (courtesy of Getty Images)

possessions. On their second possession, Joe Flacco hit Torey Smith for 33 yards on a 3rd and 6 putting the Ravens on Denver’s 33 yard line. Five plays later the Raven’s fullback Vonta Leach scored the season’s first touchdown on a two yard pass from Flacco. An extra point later and the Ravens were up 7-0 and held that lead till just under midway through the second quarter.

On a 3rd and 9 from the Raven’s 16, Flacco was picked off by the Bronco’s Chris Harris who stepped in front of former teammate and one of the newest Ravens Brandon Stokley. One play later the Broncos tied the game. Manning dropped back and found his tight end Julius Thomas, who seemed to emerge as one of his newest weapons, for a 24 yard touchdown for a 7-7 tie. After another Ravens’ three and out, the Football Gods blessed the Champs with a break when Wes Welker, one of the newest Broncos, muffed a Sam Koch punt at Denver’s two yard line which was recovered by Michael Cox. Ray Rice would punch it in from a yard out to put the Champs up 14-7. But the Broncos wouldn’t go quietly.

After a 44 yard catch by Julius Thomas, Manning found him again for his second touchdown of the night, again from 23 yards out on what looked like the exact same Seam Rout play used for the first score. The Ravens would march back down the field with just over three minutes left in the game and Justin Tucker would add a 25 yard field goal to put the Champs up 17-14 at the half.

But it was in the second half that things really started to fall apart. Manning and the Broncos marched down the field on their opening drive, capping it with Manning’s third passing touchdown, this time to former Bengals and University of Florida wide out Andre Caldwell which put the Broncos up for good. After another Ravens three and out, Koch’s punt was blocked and recovered at their own 10 yard line. Manning would find Welker for his first touchdown as a Bronco to put the Broncs up 28-17.  Yet another three and out led to yet another Manning-to-Welker touchdown putting the Broncos up 35-17.

In the fourth, Manning found Demaryius Thomas for a 26 yard score, his sixth of the evening. On the Raven’s ensuing drive, Flacco’s pass was intercepted on 4th and 1 and taken back for a touchdown by Danny Trevathan….or so we thought. After reviewing the play, Trevathan had dropped the ball before he entered the endzone, causing the ball to go out of bounds for a Touchback giving the Ravens another chance to get something going. Later in the drive, Flacco found rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown for a 13 yard score bringing the Ravens a little closer at 42-24. But Manning would ice the cake with a 76 yard pass to Demaryius Thomas for his 7th touchdown of the night. Justin Tuck did add another field goal to the box score but at the end the final was 49-27.

Said Coach Harbaugh after the game:

“The biggest issue that we had tonight is that we gave them too many easy things. That’s just the bottom line. You can’t give up that many easy plays.”

Coach John Harbaugh on the loss to the Broncos

In what seemed to be a night full of missed opportunities for the Ravens, perhaps the biggest missed opportunity was a Challenge that wasn’t called. Manning had thrown a pass to Wes Welker for what the officials called a completion but upon further review of Instant Replay it was clearly not. But Harbaugh did not throw his flag before Manning and his troops got back to the line of scrimmage and snapped the ball thus negating the ability to challenge the previous play.

“It would have been nice if NBC had shown that.  Then we would have had a chance to look at it.”

Coach Harbaugh on the Non-Challenge

As for Manning’s record tying day? He becomes the first quarterback to throw 7 touchdowns in a game since Joe Knapp did it for the Minnesota Vikings back in 1969 and becomes the first player since YA Tittle of the New York Giants to throw 7 TD’s without an interception. Flacco finished the night 34-62 for a respectable 362 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Ray Rice carried the ball 12 times for a measly 36 yards and a touchdown and Torrey Smith lead the team in receiving yards with 92 on four catches. The Ravens’ next game is next Sunday the 15th as they return to Baltimore to take on a new look Cleveland Browns team and former Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger.

 

Team Stat Comparison

 

 

 

 

BAL

 

DEN

 

1st Downs

24

24

Passing 1st downs

18

20

Rushing 1st downs

3

2

1st downs from Penalties

3

2

3rd down efficiency

8-22

8-15

4th down efficiency

0-1

0-0

Total Plays

87

68

Total Yards

393

510

Yards per play

4.5

7.5

Total Drives

15

16

Passing

335

445

Comp – Att

34-62

27-42

Yards per pass

5.4

10.6

Interceptions thrown

2

0

Sacks – Yards Lost

4-27

3-17

Rushing

58

65

Rushing Attempts

21

23

Yards per rush

2.8

2.8

Red Zone (Made-Att)

3-5

2-2

Penalties

7-53

8-61

Turnovers

2

2

Fumbles lost

0

2

Interceptions thrown

2

0

Defensive / Special Teams TDs

0

0

Possession

33:48

26:12

All stats courtesy of ESPN

 

 

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Michael Prosser

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