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Published on 11/01/2009 at Sun Nov 01 14:39.
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Denver Broncos defensive end Kenny Peterson, right, stretches to block Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco's pass during the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Denver Broncos defensive end Kenny Peterson, right, stretches to block Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco's pass during the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Well, that will end any talk of an undefeated season.

The 6-1 Denver Broncos‘ toughest game of 2009 came at the hands of a desperate Baltimore Ravens (4-3) squad that might have saved their season with the win. After six straight victories, Josh McDaniels and company will have to learn how to deal with a new kind of feeling: a loss.

This loss was no fluke, either. The Ravens came out of their bye looking much more like the team that advanced to the AFC Championship Game last year than the team that had dropped three straight. The Broncos were out-pushed, out-hustled, and out-smarted through four quarters in a game in which they never held a lead.

Kyle Orton, who had been masterful in fourth quarters this season, was quieted to barely surpassing 100 passing yards late in the fourth during the Broncos’ final drive (when Denver was down by 23). This against the Ravens’ 23rd-ranked pass defense, which had had trouble in coverage and pressure all season.

The Ravens had none of those troubles today. They hustled Orton, handled receivers, and dominated at the line of scrimmage.

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb (21) reacts as he carries the ball into the end zone for a touchdown in the third quarter of the NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb (21) reacts as he carries the ball into the end zone for a touchdown in the third quarter of the NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Defensively, the Broncos had their worst game of 2009. They found a way to put pressure on QB Joe Flacco in the second half, but Flacco escaped the grasp of defenders time and time again. Against a Broncos defense that had allowed only two third-down conversions in the second half all season, Flacco completed 14 straight after halftime.

Finishing the beatdown was the Ravens’ special teams, which nearly blocked every one of Mitch Berger‘s punts and returned the second half kickoff 95-yards for a touchdown. On their own return units, Eddie Royal had no breathing room from his blockers (and he didn’t do himself any favors, either).

The Broncos didn’t make a ton of mistakes this game. Knowshon Moreno‘s fumble certainly hurt, and there were a few (perhaps several) missed blocking assignments. But for the most part, the Ravens just beat the Broncos, in every phase.

It was as dominating a loss as the Broncos felt 10 months ago.

The bright side is that the Broncos are still 6-1, hold a dominating lead in the AFC West, and have a long week to prepare for Pittsburgh on Monday night. Hopefully they can regain some of the momentum they lost during the bye week.

  • Kyle

    I’m not happy they lost. Not even a little or for the reasons people have mentioned, which make sense.

    I don’t think they didn’t try, either, they just got their butts whooped, especially the OL.

  • Barry

    Exactly. I always thought the forward pass was a good way to get past eh line of scrimmage, not to start a receiver 5 yards behind it. Defense was awesome in the 1st half, allowing only 6 points when the O could not sustain a drive, and just lost field position.

    I blame first half offensive play calling for letting the Ravens take a lead. Poor special teams on the 2nd half kickoff was demoralizing, and did not get any better through the rest of the game.

    thew ohter bright spot was when Orton was allowed to throw FORWARFD passes in the late 3rd through 4th quarter, and we started to actually gain yardage! Look forward to the other Bronco team playing next week against the Steelers.

  • Anonymous

    Tough game, Broncos playing at 1100, in a hostile enviroment, against a good team whose had some bad luck lately. THe part that concerns me about this team is the offense. Lately, defenses are just crowding the line of scrimmage and daring us to throw it deep. Unfortunately we must not be able to do that, otherwise, McD. would be calling more deep plays.
    Next week we will face the same team only with a better qb. Let’s hope this offense can start to throw it down field or things are going to get pretty difficult from here on out.

  • Depressed SF

    Darn it. I knew we shouldn’t have cut Brett Kern.

  • Broncos Zone

    Are you really that bad with grammar?

  • Broncos Zone

    I had mad adrenaline I felt like throwing our couch in our tv watching our offense today. I was like if we screen one more time I taking out the 50 inch! lol But serious why didn’t we just throw a fade to Marsh when he was one-on-one, and why didn’t we stick with Knowshon when he had 24 yards on 4 carries. I was glad to see Peyton Hillis used (I’m a huge fan of his.) Our defense I don’t think was to bad (save Andre’ Goodman) So much shoulda-coulda-woulda. I’m not used to the Broncos not winning I guess. Hope we can bounce back next week at home. Go Broncos!!!

  • Jon

    Is it a baby untrue fan or a good fan to almost cry because of a loss?

  • Jon

    Yo I posted two comments and they never posted?

  • Anonymous

    Our special teams is really going to hurt us if we don’t fix it soon, as it did today. Berger clearly isn’t the answer and outside of the SD game our return game has been well below average. Quite frankly if McD went back to Kern I would respect the decision. Berger doesn’t have the leg (Though I will give him credit for kicking it through Ed Reed’s arms – not many punters can do that).

    Offensively we weren’t ready to play. The D actually played very well against a very good offense. They gave me even more reason to believe they are the real deal today.

    Orton will be back. Dude is a fighter and plays great at home. The O-Line will patch it up and on we go. Looking forward to Pittsburgh.

    One last note – Broncos got screwed by the bye week and the Ravens were saved by it. This being that we were on a roll and they were hurting. That certainly seemed the case. Moving on….

  • Eric in Vegas

    I respectfully disagree. The Ravens were certainly the better team today, but that doesn't mean they're the better team for the entire season and it doesn't mean the Broncos couldn't compete in the AFC North – they're a respectable 2-1 going into next week (and, please, let's agree not to argue about the Broncos needing a “lucky” play to beat the Bengals – their QB was playing with a plastic brace on his hand too, I'd be happy to have them replay that game without those two factors and be confident the Broncos still win). I agree with the analysts who said the bye week came at a bad time for the Broncos, when the offense was just starting to hit its stride.

    I take nothing away from the Ravens – they're a tremendous team that deserves a better record that they have, and will definitely be in the playoff chase at the end. They did a great job of putting pressure on a Denver O-line that was impenetrable through the first few weeks, and I'll be interested in breaking down some tape to see HOW they did it with a 4 man rush most of the time (and hopefully the coaches can figure out how to stop other teams from duplicating it!).

    I would not be surprised to see these 2 teams meet again in January, in Denver this time!

  • milehighs

    Well, I do admit my spelling is not that good when I’m in a hurry and some of my sentences are not full.I’m not writing this for a grade just to get my point across.If I was tring for a grade I get the dictionary out.Also i would read over my coments and correct my own grammer.SO I don’t really care as much as you fellers.So I’ll bash Kyel Orton the right way then becuase ethier way I spell it it still tast the same.

  • milehighs

    Quit crying already,I rewatch the game.After I rewatched the game.All the bad calls from the reffs and the dropped interseptions the broncos should of lost 42-0.Yup the only touchdown was on a bad call by the reffs on pass interfernce.I’m writing this as a worried fan not to piss people off.But if you dont like my spelling or my words DONT READ it’s not for the faint hearted or cry babbys.

  • milehighs

    what the hack

  • Anonymous

    To those who credit Kyle Orten with taking us to 6-1, please stand corrected. The Broncos defense took us to 6-1. Today the defense couldn’t score or get key turnovers and the weakness of Kyle Orten was exposed and exploited. And I’m not just jumping off the bandwagon because of a loss, I’ve posted in the past that Kyle Orten IS NOT an NFL starting QB. He’s a great journeyman backup QB.

    No, I don’t long for a return of crybaby Cutler, Chicago is already finding out that he can’t read defenses. But, we have two QBs on the bench who certainly have a lot more physical talent than Orten. Remember to that the Ravens made it deep in the playoffs last year by taking a chance on rookie QB, Flacco.

    BTW, Orten looked totally befuddled the first half of the game. Maybe he 1got rattled by the first play sack that was his fault.

  • mikebirty

    The offense sucked, I'll give you that. They fell behind the down and distance count too many times.

    But the defense gets its share of blame. Maybe I'm just setting high standards for them but there were too many times that they had a shot at a tackle on Flacco or a back and they missed. I can't think of a single Ravens missed tackle.

    Reminded me a lot of the Carolina game from last year when the Broncos looked like they were competing in the game until you looked at the scoreboard and realised they were two plus scores down.

  • Josh Temple

    Not to be nit picky, but actually the last time we played the Steelers was 2007 at home in which the Broncos played well and won on a Jason Elam Field goal to end it.

    All in all, I agree with just about everything you summed up. There were a lot of bad no calls on Doom. If we could've had any kind of pass rush from the other DE/OLB it wouldn't have mattered and Flacco would've been sandwiched.

  • MiamiMike

    Fans need to calm down: We got beat by a team who had to win and who was pissed off. They played at home and the energy was off the charts. We will go home and now be pissed at the beat down we got and we will come out with that same energy. I felt we would get beat by the Ravens who had to have this win. Sometimes it is hard to match a teams energy. We got out of there basically healthy which is far more important. Now we will play the Steelers at home and we will have time to work on flaws. Every team gets beat. Steelers Patriots both playing very well now and both have been beat. better to see the issues now and learn from them than later.
    Do not try and over think this and point fingers. It is the NFL and ALL teams get beat. How you react after a loss will determine how we do in the long run.

  • Darwin

    Everyone has a down game at some time during the season. We will see how the Broncs do against a similar team like Pittsburgh at home. Flaaco and Rothlesbergher are very similar along with their defenses. Should be a good test but I think the McBroncs bounce back and win on a Monday night!!

  • Anonymous

    For all those hoping and wishing Kern comes back, forget it. The Titans picked him up last week. I’m one of the fans that wished we had kept him. Is it just me or is Berger really really really slow in getting the ball off?

  • Gary_in_SD

    Well congrats SS… But if your Ravens have to come to Invesco for the playoffs, I would hope you'll be as equally eagar to come back here afterwards and eat some crow since you're obviously so talented at offering it up.

  • Ugg