This game had it all. A pick six, a Special Teams Touchdown, a long bomb TD and a lengthy scoring drive. All in the 1st Quarter. A 90 yard Punt Return for a Touchdown by Trindon Holliday started the scoring. Then Joe Flacco connected with Torrey Smith on a 59-yard TD pass. Peyton Manning finally entered the game 5 minutes after the opening kickoff and threw a pick six to Corey Graham, who fielded a tipped ball off the hands of Eric Decker, who was interfered with. The officiating was decidedly one-sided and threatened to get out of hand.
Things settled down after that and Peyton Manning began his methodic dismantling of the RavensDefense, while the Denver "D" tightened the screws. An 11-play drive capped by a Brandon Stokley15 yard catch for a Touchdown and an 8-play drive, finished by a Knowshon Moreno 14 yard grab, put the Broncos ahead 21-14. Denver went to work grinding the Ravens with the Run game, even bringing in Jacob Hester to batter Baltimore into the ground. Again the referees interrupted the game with shenanigans. The Broncos made 10 1st Downs in the 2nd Quarter alone, while the Defense held the Ravens without a 3rd Down conversion in the 1st half.
The Broncos were getting very little pressure on Joe Flacco and the Ravens capitalized on Torrey Smith's speed for a second score just before the half, after Matt Prater duffed a Field Goal Attempt. The half ended with the game tied at 21.
The 2nd half opened with Trindon Holliday running back the opening kickoff 104 yards to put the Broncos ahead 28-21. Denver got the ball back on a bad snap that Joe Flacco couldn't handle and Keith Brooking recovered. Denver couldn't score off the turnover, but left Baltimore to begin from their own 3. After only their 2nd 3rd down conversion, the Ravens were forced to punt.
The rest of the third Quarter was just a mess. This was the absolute worst officiated game I have ever watched. The referees added at least 90 minutes to the length of this game by their ineptness.
The 4th Quarter began like the other 3. All tied at 28. Both sides traded 3 and outs and then Manning took charge. Peyton led the Broncos Offense on an 11-play 88 yard scoring drive, taking 5 minutes off the clock and wearing the Raven Defense down. Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy saved the bubble screen for the right time. On play action, Manning hit Demaryius Thomas, who took it inside out and scampered 17 yards for a Touchdown. The Ravens drove back, but stalled at the Denver 31 yard line and failed on a 4th and five.
The Broncos tried to run out the last 3:30 for the win, but fell short at 1:05. On their last chance play, a 4th down, Joe Flacco lofted a pass to a wide open Jacoby Jones on a blown coverage by Rahim Moore and Jones scored from 70 yards out to send it into Overtime. The Broncos had a chance, but Peyton Manning threw an Interception in the 2nd Overtime and Baltimore took the ball 16 yards and into Field Goal range, where Justin Tucker ended a great Bronco season with a 47 yard conversion.
Not the result we all expected and definitely an upset, but 13-4 is still a good season and a quite a bit more than many expected.
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