Ravens punish bad Broncos defense in 31-17 rout

October 10, 2010 | Drew Forrester

The Denver Broncos are fortunate the Ravens don’t employ a veterinarian on their staff.

He or she would have entered Denver’s locker room at halftime, put the team’s defense in a van, and given them the needle.

I ventured into coach Josh McDaniels’ post-game press conference after today’s 31-17 shellacking in Baltimore and his face — and words — said it all.

“We were out-everything’d,” McDaniels said.  ”Out played, out coached, out toughed…everything.”

At least McDaniels was honest about his team’s effort today.  It was pretty much non existent, particularly on defense, where the Ravens ran through them the way you and I cruise the EZ Pass lane at the Fort McHenry Tunnel.

This one was over early, as Baltimore exposed a flimsy Denver defense with 17 points in a 5:54 span in the 1st and 2nd quarter.  The 31-17 Ravens win moves John Harbaugh’s team to 4-1 heading into a highly-anticipated showdown at New England next Sunday.  Denver, meanwhile, drops to 2-3, which begs the question:  How on earth did they win two?

Joe Flacco followed up his game-winning throw in Pittsburgh last Sunday with a highly efficient first half, as he went 8-for-16 with 145 yards and a rushing TD.  Only a mysterious play-calling sequence from Cam Cameron midway through the first quarter kept this one from being a first half blow out, as Cameron opted for a 4th and 1 throw to Haloti Ngata that resulted in Flacco taking a sack and turning the ball over to Denver on downs.  Shortly thereafter, though, the Ravens rebounded with a stretch of good offense, sparked by Ray Rice on the ground and a pair of TD runs of 1-yard from Flacco and Rice.  Only a late first-half TD catch by Brandon Lloyd kept Denver in the game.  Lloyd would also collect a garbage-time TD on a sizzling 44 yard throw from Kyle Orton with 35 seconds to play, but it was too little, too late for the Broncos.

Orton, as a matter of fact, was fairly impressive on Sunday.

It’s a shame he can’t play cornerback or defensive tackle.

For the Ravens, Ray Rice gained over 100 yards for the first time this season and looked like the Pro Bowl version of Ray Rice the Ravens were expecting to see all season.  Cameron used all three running backs throughout the afternoon, as both Le’Ron McClain and Willis McGahee made contributions.  McClain, in fact, delivered a crushing block on McGahee’s 33 yard TD run late in the game.

The story of this game, though, was Denver’s lack of effort on defense.  A more physical Ravens offensive line took it to the Broncos time and time again.  As one Broncos player said in the locker room afterwards (not sure of his identity, he was only wearing a towel), “When the little guy runs over you, that’s not good.”  The “little guy”, of course, was Ray Rice.  And even though Rice has run through and over plenty of teams, I’m sure there’s a sense of “WTF?” when someone of Rice’s stature is buzzing over, through and around you all afternoon.

John Harbaugh was in a great mood after today’s win.

Josh McDaniels…not so much.

A coach would never say this publicly, but when their team gives an all-out effort and falls short, it’s OK.  The other team tries too, they’ll remind you.

But when your team works hard all week to get ready for the game and then lays down like a cheerleader at the homecoming party, it has to be very unsettling.

And that’s what Josh McDaniels will think about on the way back to Denver tonight.

His defense would have been better off waving pink pom-poms today.

They put up that kind of effort in Baltimore.

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