I have to give credit to Baltimore, their defense was ridiculously nasty and on the ball. Now that my hopes for an undefeated season are now dashed let's take a look of what we have learned from yesterday's game.
1. Our defense is still tough. The defense kept us in the game for 3 quarters and held the Ravens to 9 points going into the 4th quarter. There was a letdown of the defense in the 4th quarter that added two more touchdowns, but even the best conditioned team can fatigue after being on the field for so long.
2. Special Teams kick coverage. I've been on the Prater bandwagon this year but it looks like the problems of last year is happening again. The kick that went back for a touchdown to start off the third quarter was fielded at the 5 yard line. What happened to his booming kicks that generated all those touchbacks back in September? He's had the past two weeks off, so now I'm concerned about our kicker. The only bright spot was the return of Spencer Larsen, his hard hitting tackling assured that another kick would not be returned for another touchdown.
3. How to stop the Broncos offense. In the Cincy game and this one, there was a common denominator in which to stop the Broncos Offense and that was to pressure Kyle Orton. Baltimore completely dominated our supposed offensive line, Orton had no chance whatsoever. The last time I've seen Kyle running for his life like this he was wearing a different kind of Blue and Orange for Chicago. Losing Ryan Harris was big for our run game, Tyler Polumbus did a good job filling in but he's no Ryan Harris.
4. The Offensive o-line. Ben Hamilton, what has happened to you? In the Mike Shanahan years Hamilton was always a reliable anchor in our o-line, but lately he's just been a doormat for incoming defensive lineman. Rick Dennison and Josh McDaniels has to be concerned about the interior of our o-line. Josh McDaniels likes to call runs up the middle in between the tackles but the opponents' line has already penetrated our line. When Josh McDaniels was brought on he knew this line was built for zone-blocking and has been really successful at running ball. Josh worked with Rick Dennison to switch the line from zone blocking to a "Gap and Pull" system similar to the one in New England. It's a tried and true system that is successful if you have the right personel. Asking Ben Hamilton who's at the most 270 pounds to pull a 330lb tackle out of the way for the RB is no easy feat, it's a matter of physics. If Josh McDaniels really wants to establish the run game again we need to go back to Zone blocking, heck Knowshon Moreno is a really great one-cut runner that would thrive in Zone blocking.
Now while this loss stings, I'm just happy that it happened on the road and to a respectable team. Remember last years home loss to the FREAKING RAIDERS?! I hope the team and staff had their humble pie and are ready to beat down on some Steelers!