The Denver Broncos (2-1) were harassed by the referees all game long and were unable to keep pace with the negative calls as the Baltimore Ravens (2-1) ran up the score capitalizing on the poor calls the other side were getting winning 27-14.
That said, the Broncos had more than their fair share of opportunities, but when the refs were not screwing them they were screwing themselves. The mistakes were compounded by more mistakes. They may have lost this game even without the really bad calls they got.
The loss will sting badly as now they will host the red hot Kansas City Chiefs (3-0) on Monday Night Football next week.
Winning the coin toss, the Broncos elect to defer to put their defense on the field first to face off against Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense. Joe Jones came free to stuff the Ravens return man at the Ravens 16 yard line.
After a short one-yard run from Alex Collins, Bradley Chubb exploded off the line to hammer Flacco for a painful looking sack on Flacco.
Derek Wolfe was in on that sack too. On third and 13, Flacco went deep to John Brown who caught the ball out of bounds to force the three and out.
Joe Jones is a name we are hearing a lot here early as he blocked the punt to give the Broncos the ball at the Ravens six yard line.
Royce Freeman immediately ran the ball in from six yards out for the touchdown.
Broncos 7, Ravens 0.
After a 38-yard return by Tim White, Isaac Yiadom gifted them another 15-yards with a silly personal foul that may have been a ticky tack call giving the Ravens the ball at the Broncos 48-yard line.
The Broncos continue to struggle to cover tight ends, giving up a 30 yard pass play on second down to the Broncos 15-yard line. Another penalty one the Broncos, set the Ravens up at the Broncos six-yard line. A short pass to another tight end down the one was negated by a false start penalty one play later.
Alex Collins would run it right in on a six yard run for the touchdown.
Broncos 7, Ravens 7.
From their own 30 yard line, Case Keenum would keep things on the ground with Freeman who was stuffed at the line for a two-yard loss. On second down, Phillip Lindsay got a yard back on an inside handoff.
On third and 11, Keenum hit Courtland Sutton at the sticks who weaved his way for a 16-yard gain and a first down.
Keenum was pressured on a delayed screen that was blown up for an incomplete pass. Lindsay took the next handoff for a four-yard gain. On third and six, Keenum floated a pass out to Devontae Booker who caught it and dragged a defender for the first down.
Booker took the next handoff for a quick four-yard gain. Keenum, in hurry up, ran for no gain on the next play. A defensive holding call gave the Broncos an automatic first down into Ravens territory.
Emmanuel Sanders took an end around 35-yards for the touchdown on the next play led by Andy Janovich with a filthy block down field.
Broncos 14, Ravens 7.
The Ravens next drive went into Broncos territory, but stalled out just beyond the 30-yard line where Justin Tucker booted a 52-yard field goal in the rain to answer the Broncos touchdown drive.
Broncos 14, Ravens 10.
Freeman took the first down carry for 16-yards to start the next Broncos drive, but was stuffed for a loss on his very next carry. Demaryius Thomas got his first reception of the day with a 10-yard reception to setup a third and a short two.
Keenum, from the shotgun, was sacked by the Ravens to force the Broncos first punt of the game.
The Ravens ended the quarter with a deep out reception bu John Brown with Chris Harris Jr. trailing in coverage.
The Ravens start the second quarter at their own 41-yard line. Tramaine Brock was ruled out with a groin injury, which means Isaac Yiadom could be a big factor in this game moving forward.
Chris Harris Jr. broke up a deep pass down the sideline, while Todd Davis stuffed an inside slant on third down to force another Ravens punt.
Pinned deep, the Broncos tried to get the running game going, but were stuffed on first down. Keenum looked hesitant on his next throw, which was low and away from the receiver for the incompletion.
On third and 10, Keenum threw it short to Jeff Heuerman for two-yards to force another punt from Marquette King whose poor punt barely rolled into Ravens territory to give Baltimore great field position down 14-10 at home.
A short pass over the middle was stopped immediately by Todd Davis for a half-yard gain. On second down, Collins was stood up for no gain to put the Ravens into a third and long situation. Flacco, from the shotgun, hit Michael Crabtree down the sideline for a 19-yard gain with Bradley Roby not looking for the ball.
Broncos struggling in the secondary. Don’t remember the last time I could say that. #4Broncos— Justin Adams (@justinadamsKOA) September 23, 2018
Flacco, pressured by Von Miller, threw to the sideline to Crabtree who made a diving reception. Vance Joseph challenged the call, but it was clearly a catch. Not a great challenge by Joseph there.
Two plays later, the Ravens were faced with a third and two inside the Broncos red zone. Flacco hit Buck Allen in the flat with Von Miller in coverage who took it all the way down to the two-yard line. The Ravens challenged the call.
The call was overturned to give the Ravens their first lead of the game.
Ravens 17, Broncos 14.
Joe Flacco: 13-of-18 passing, 134 yards and 1 TD— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) September 23, 2018
BAL 17, DEN 14, 8:24 2Q
Needing to regain some momentum, the Broncos start their next drive from their own 25-yard line. After a three-yard run by Sanders, Keenum’s next pass to Lindsay was tipped at the line of scrimmage. On third and seven, Keenum rolled out to fire a pass to Thomas who was tripped up just short of the first down marker to force another punt.
Flacco continued to look to pick on rookie Isaac Yiadom going deep to John Brown for a 44-yard gain on their first play of the drive. Yiadom was on Crabtree on the next play, but Flacco’s throw sailed out of bounds.
On second down, Adam Gotsis stuffed the run for a short loss. After a false start penalty, Flacco was from the gun on third and 16. With an empty backfield, he looked to short to Brown to get some yards back to get them back into field goal range.
Tucker’s 43-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Justin Simmons and Chris Harris scooped it up for a 58-yard touchdown return. Domata Peko was called for a block in the back, which you can see from this video that it was the worst call of the game.
The refs blew this badly!!!!— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) September 23, 2018
What block in the back???
From the Ravens 49-yard line, Phillip Lindsay ran on first down for an eight-yard gain on first down. Lindsay took another handoff inside for eight yards and a first down. Sanders caught an slant for another nine yards as the Broncos offense was clicking on this drive.
A cutesy play nearly ruined the Broncos drive as Keenum was blindsided by Terrell Suggs who forced the fumble.
The Broncos recovered the fumble, but Phillip Lindsay threw a punch and was ejected from the game. The sequence of events pinned the Broncos back at a 3rd and 28 with two minutes left in the first half.
With less than two minutes to play, the Ravens tried to get things going before the end of the half. Shane Ray ended that drive with a strip/sack on Flacco, but the Ravens recovered.
DaeSean Hamilton was hammered with a helmet to helmet tackle on the punt return, but no penalty was called for some reason. From there, the Broncos promptly sack themselves into halftime.
King had himself another terrible punt to give the Ravens the ball at midfield with half a minute left in the half to give the Ravens a chance to get into field goal range to increase their lead.
Ravens 20, Broncos 14.
The Broncos will get the ball first to start the second half.
Starting from their own 23-yard line, the Broncos got back to the ground on first down who ripped off a 10-yard gain. From an empty backfield, Keenum had yet another pass deflected at the line of scrimmage.
On second down, Keenum’s throw was off target and short as Emmanuel Sanders slipped trying to dive back to make the catch. On third and 10, Keenum again from the shotgun and scrambled around for a while before getting hit in the back as he threw for another punt from the Broncos.
Case Keenum has been hit nine times so far today.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) September 23, 2018
King finally had a good punt in this game, booming a 55-yard kick that pinned the Ravens at their own 18-yard line on their next drive.
The Ravens got their biggest run of the game on first down from a 13-yard gain from Alex Collins. Collins got the next carry too for a five-yard gain. Flacco was pressured on the next play and was forced to throw it away.
On third and five, Flacco was pressured again and missed a throw deep to a wide open receiver. Derek Wolfe lined up offsides to give the Ravens a first down. On first down, Collins tried to bounce it outside and was chased down for a loss by Josey Jewell.
From the shotgun, Flacco was nearly picked by Bradley Roby but the ball got through to John Brown for a first down reception.
Two plays later, the Ravens near the Broncos 40-yard line were faced with another third down. This time needing six yards. Willie Snead pushed off from Chris Harris to get open for the first down reception.
The Ravens drive kept chugging on down the field, with another big completion to tight end Mark Andrews down the seam for a first and goal. After a short run from Buck Allen, Yiadom made the touchdown saving tackle at the one inch line for a third and goal.
Buck Allen punched it in from one-yard out from there.
Ravens 27, Broncos 14.
It's unfortunate how one very bad call by the referees can completely change the game and kill a teams mojo. How different things would be if they had made the correct call on that blocked field goal.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) September 23, 2018
Again on first down, Freeman took the ball nearly 10 yards. On second and a short one, Freeman powered his way through for a first down with a three yard gain.
On the next play, Keenum went with the play-action to Freeman and hit Sanders outside who turned it up field for an eight yard gain. Needing two yards, Keenum had all day to throw and hit Freeman on a short jump throw that was somehow caught for the first down.
Keenum, hit Demaryius Thomas over the middle for a huge 39-yard gain down into the red zone. However, a holding call on Garett Bolles who tackled Terrell Suggs who was probably going to sack Keenum anyway.
On first and 20, Keenum hands off to Booker who runs into the back of his own offensive lineman and then somehow still gained a few yards on the play. Keenum, from the shotgun, went deep to again to Thomas who caught it for a 22-yard gain and a first down.
Keenum threw a swing pass out to Booker for a four-yard pass on the next play. Booker took the next handoff for no gain, but another holding call on the Broncos set them back again. On second and 16, Keenum hit Sanders right in the numbers and Sanders dropped the pass.
However, an offsides penalty gave the Broncos five-yards and another second down try needing 11 yards for the first down.
From the shotgun, Keenum hit Sanders low for a nine yard gain. Sanders came up limping with a tweaked ankle, but remained in the game.
Keenum’s pass was behind Sanders on the next play to force a fourth down. Ronald Leary was called for a personal foul to push the Broncos out of field goal range. King pinned the Ravens inside the five yard line with a solid punt.
Needing a big stop on defense, they gained nine and a half yards on their first two plays. On third and inches, they would get four yards on the ground from Collins to end the third quarter.
Unfortunately, the Broncos need two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to come back in this game.
Collins opened up with a quick four yards on first down, but then Wolfe batted down Flacco’s second down throw to force a third and long. The Ravens were 7/12 on third downs up this point. Darian Stewart came off the edge to force Flacco to throw it up deep where it was almost intercepted by Roby.
Hamilton was able to return the punt to the Broncos 45-yard line to give Keenum and the offense a chance to make it a one-score game early in the fourth quarter with a touchdown on this drive.
Freeman took the first down carry for three yards. On second down, Keenum hit Jake Butt on a short pass for another three yards. Keenum, from the shotgun, hit Sanders for the first down on a ten yard gain.
Booker took the first down carry no where, running it into the back of his offensive lineman. Keenum was nearly sacked, but spun out of it to hit Booker outside who powered his way for a first down.
After a short run by Booker, who ran into his offensive lineman again, and a no gain from Freeman, Keenum looked Courtland Sutton’s way. Keenum went deep down the sideline to Sutton who caught it and was brought down at the Ravens eight yard line.
On first and goal, Keenum hit Heuerman for a short gain to the five yard line. On second down, the Broncos offensive line was called for yet another holding call. This one on Bolles.
Keenum with weak throw over the middle was pick sixed by the Ravens in a game-killing mistake.
Even though nine minutes remain, this one feels like a “game over” situation.
#Broncos last eight drives— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) September 23, 2018
The Ravens first two runs went from negative three yards, Flacco went with an empty set and drew Von Miller offsides. On third and eight, Flacco looked for Crabtree where Roby was able to break up the pass for a three and out.
Hamilton had a nice return to the Broncos 30-yard line with just over 7 minutes left in the game with the Broncos down by 13 points.
Freeman bulldozed his way for a 12-yard gain on first down. Keenum’s next pass was off target to Thomas, but a pass interference call gave the Broncos an easy 17 yards to the Ravens 41-yard line.
Keenum fired another pass to Thomas for a nine yard gain with time down to the six and a half minute mark. From the Ravens 31-yard line, Keenum threw it away as every receiver was well covered for quite a long time as protection actually held up that time.
On third and one, an inside handoff to Andy Janovich gained the first down yardage. From the shotgun, Keenum had no where to go with the ball but another offensive holding call was called on the Broncos. Both Connor McGovern and Garett Bolles have multiple holding calls in this game.
On first and 20, Keenum hit Booker short for five yards as the time ticked under five minutes in this game. Keenum then hit Butt outside for another five yards. Needing ten yards, Thomas caught a pass over the middle for 15, but came up limping after the play.
Demaryius Thomas is 5-of-5 for a team-high 63 receiving yards.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 23, 2018
From the Ravens 15-yard line, Keenum went to Booker short who turned it up field fighting for a 9-yard gain with 4:10 left in the game. Freeman was stuffed at the line on the next play as the clock continued to run. On third and one, Keenum went to the shotgun, but the handoff to Freeman was stuffed again.
With any hope of coming back late, the Broncos needed a fourth down conversion with three minutes to go. A twelve-man in the huddle penalty set the Broncos back with yet another penalty.
On fourth and six, Keenum threw to Jake Butt who was being tackled and no penalty called.
Neat, in Baltimore you can tackle wide receivers before the ball gets there while holding his arm. Good stuff.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) September 23, 2018
That truly is the game. Tough all around.
The Broncos inactives will be cornerback Adam Jones, safety Dymonte Thomas, quarterback Kevin Hogan, defensive lineman DeMarcus Walker, linebacker Alexander Johnson, guard Sam Jones, and offensive tackle Elijah Wilkinson.
Jones is the big name on this list, which means the Broncos have activated rookie Isaac Yiadom for the first time this season. It’ll also be interesting to see who takes over punt return duties.
For the Ravens, they will be without linebacker C.J. Mosley, quarterback Robert Griffin III, wide receiver Jordan Lasley, cornerback Anthony Averett, defensive tackle Willie Henry, tight end Hayden Hurst, and defensive tackle Michael Pierce.
With a banged up defense, Case Keenum and the Broncos offense should be able to run the ball in the heavy rains expected during the game.
The Denver Broncos (2-0) are coming off another close home win, sporting just a plus-4 in the point column. The Baltimore Ravens (1-1) won their first game by forty plus and lost the second game by two scores.
Both teams have questions they will be looking to answering. Case Keenum and the Broncos lead the league in big plays, but have not converted that statistic into the kind of points you are seeing from other teams making those big plays. Meanwhile, the Ravens are feast or famine on offense it seems.
Defensively, Von Miller loves going up against quarterbacks like Joe Flacco who will hold the ball a second longer in hopes of making a home run play down the field, while Chris Harris Jr. has enjoyed his fair share of interceptions on Flacco in his career. It figures to be a good chess match on the road for Denver.
Here is how to watch.
When: Sunday, September 23, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. Mile High time
Where: M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland
Announcers: Andrew Catalon (play-by-play), James Lofton (analyst), Jane Slater (sideline reporting)
Radio: KOA - 850 AM | 94.1 FM & The Fox - 103.5 FM | Spanish Radio KNVR 1150 AM
After opening 3.5-point underdogs, the Broncos poor play against the Oakland Raiders helped the line grow to a 5-point spread early this week despite the Ravens being blown out on the road by the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Broncos own a 6-5 regular season all-time record against the Ravens, including a 1-4 mark on the road. That one win was a Peyton Manning-led 34-17 romp in 2012. In fact, the Broncos are 4-1 against the Ravens when Peyton Manning or John Elway was quarterback and just 2-6 otherwise.
In the playoffs, however, the Ravens are an easy 2-0. Both times, the Ravens went on to win the Super Bowl that season.
Ian St. Clair and Adam Malnati previewed the Broncos Week 3 matchup against the Ravens in their latest podcast here.
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Broncos Regular Season Schedule 2018
|1||Sep 9||vs Seattle Seahawks||W 27-24||FOX|
|2||Sep 16||vs Oakland Raiders||W 20-19||CBS|
|3||Sep 23||at Baltimore Ravens||L 27-14||CBS|
|4||Oct 1||vs Kansas City Chiefs (MNF)||L 27-23||ESPN|
|5||Oct. 7||at New York Jets||L 34-16||CBS|
|6||Oct 14||vs Los Angeles Rams||L 23-20||FOX|
|7||Oct 18||at Arizona Cardinals (TNF)||W 45-10||FOX|
|8||Oct 28||at Kansas City Chiefs||L 30-23||CBS|
|9||Nov 4||vs Houston Texans||L 19-17||CBS|
|11||Nov 18||at Los Angeles Chargers||W 23-22||CBS|
|12||Nov 25||vs Pittsburgh Steelers||W 24-17||CBS|
|13||Dec 2||at Cincinnati Bengals||W 24-10||CBS|
|14||Dec 9||at San Francisco 49ers||L 20-14||CBS|
|15||Dec 15||vs Cleveland Browns||L 17-16||NFLN|
|16||Dec 24||at Oakland Raiders (MNF)||L 27-14||ESPN|
|17||Dec 30||vs Los Angeles Chargers||2:25 PM||CBS|