I'm speechless! I don't know where to begin... I don't know how the Broncos (and the replacement refs) gave the Ravens so many freebies... I... just... don't... know! I want to be so mad right now, I want to lay blame at Manning's feet, I want to lay blame at John Fox's feet for being so conservative and trusting in a ground attack that just wasn't there with our top two backs out. I want to lay blame, and I want an instant fix. You know what though? It isn't wise and there's a lot to be proud of right now... even though we handed the Ravens some freebies, we fought right down to the last call. We at least proved that the finesse, weak teams of old are gone!
Before I go on... shame on you if you start hollering about Tim Tebow! You know what I'm talking about... "Tebow won one playoff game, therefor Manning is < Tim Tebow. I'm going to call you out before you even start, get a hold of yourself, and realize that we had this game in our grasp about 3 or 4 different times.
I'll focus on what went right later, but right now, I want to get off my chest what went wrong....
Chris Kuper did not play well today, and I'm not so sure Man Ram wouldn't have done a better job.
Somehow, the Ravens can shut DT down! I kept saying it all game long... we better start taking some shots deep and get that cursed Ravens front 7 up off of us! The lack of a deep game absolutely killed us today folks. I'm sure some of this is on Manning... it was retardedly cold, he's 36, and I'm sure that had something to do with it. What happened to you today DT? I loved the TD run, but where were you down the field? I love you bro, but this is the second game the Ravens have bullied you! You're not gonna let that happen again, are you!
Penalties.... penalties.... penalties.... killed us as well!
No pass rush today! I thought we did a damn fine job of stymying the run, but too many times did Joe Flacco have all day and then some to survey the field, and it allowed those deep routes to open up. I counted numerous times that Dumervil was held, but that's happened all year long... can't hang our hat on that. Also... our interior pass rush was non existent, as it has been for most of the season. We have to spend more draft picks to upgrade the middle of the D-Line! I love their run stuffing ability, but we must start generating more consistent heat up the gut! Flacco got way too comfortable!
Champ "freakin'" Bailey should have NEVER opened his big mouth before the game about shutting Smith down at the line of scrimmage. You failed big time today Champ... you let your defense down! I still love ya, and want to see you retire a Bronco, but you failed in an epic way today Champ!
Rahim Moore??? WTF bro??? I love your tackling skills, which seemingly came out of nowhere, but where in the hell did your ball skills go son? You used to be THE best ball hawking, intercepting Safety in college football bro! I love you, you have a bright future, but you better straighten that part of your game up or you'll end up a reserve on another team!
Willis McGahee... Knowshon Moreno... you were SEVERELY missed!!! If either one of you play the entire game for us, we stay in our element and win this game! RB.... a starting, 3 down RB, is a must for us this offseason! I don't want a retread who's going to break down in the playoffs either... I want a young stud!!!
John Fox has to be the most predictable, conservative coach in the playoffs! You don't take the ball out of Peyton Manning's hands when your top 2 backs are on the bench!!! You don't put that much faith in your defense when they've been getting bullied all day!!!
Peyton Manning got cutesy and cocky and thought he was John Elway for a minute! "This one's for Ray Lewis!!!" That was a rookie, boneheaded decision by one of the smartest players to ever play!!! Peyton proved his accuracy was just fine, but that last throw should haunt him for eternity! He got too conservative as well, and could have vetoed out of some of those pointless runs!
3rd down defense was reminiscent of the beginning of the year.... we have to upgrade at MLB, and get a guy who is rangy and can cover TE's down the field!!!
The pass protection was shady at best today guys... I'm really pissed at them for proving they're not a complete/elite unit! They're good, but I'm sick of having two 295 lb. Guards!!! Chris Kuper should be cut loose or traded... we need some more Grade A beef in the line there! Don't even try to argue... "those types of guys can't keep up in the altitude!" That's been proven wrong many times... Haloti Ngata, Bryant McKinney, Michael Oher, and Marshal Yanda proved how much of a farce that is! I want to see a man mountain formed on the right side of our line, and a guy like Larry Warford (OG - KEN) take over beside Franklin!!! Chris Kuper was slammed around like a little Raggedy Anne doll today, and I'm sick of seeing it. The jury is still out on Beadles, but I like him, and I like at least one of my Guards to be an athletic, pulling Guard.
Matt Prater is quickly becoming another classic case of a kicker with the head funk. He needs to, at the very least, be challenged in camp!
The refs did everything in their power to hand the Ravens the game! It wouldn't shock me if some Vegas sleazeball paid them off to break our backs whenever they could! The Manning fumble??? INCOMPLETE PASS!!!!! Several instances of non existent pass interference on us - several instances of no calls against the Ravens! The phantom Bolden catch! I'm completely disgusted in the officiating crew from this game... BUT, it should have never even got to that point.... we had the game in hand several times and gave it away!!!!
I'm sure we will all remember more that went wrong in the comments.
Our boys fought.... they didn't lay down, but Baltimore proved too much for us with no deep ball and no Moreno (we missed him in pass pro as well). Also, hats off to Trindon Holiday (you were the best player on our team by FAR today you little dynamo you) and the run stuffers today! Hats off to Mike Adams for making a big boy play at the end there.
I'm hurting bad guys... my heart literally aches for this team! This was our year, but I think we proved today that we have a ways to go.... we're a team that's really been together for only a year! With an improved run game and continuity in DelRio's system, I stil believe this team CAN and WILL win a Superbowl! Our roster isn't finished being constructed. When Foxy and Studesville get their Cadillac in the backfield.... look out. We have a situational Ferrari in Hillman... Knowshon is a great 1B / 1A-in-a-pinch back... but we need our true 1A! I doubt Willis is that guy going forward.