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(Sunday, November 1st)
Final Score: Baltimore 30, Denver 7
Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) -- Joe Flacco threw for 175 yards and a touchdown, and the Baltimore Ravens used a stifling display on defense to hand the previously unbeaten Denver Broncos a 30-7 loss at M&T Bank Stadium.
Flacco connected on 20-of-25 passes -- including his final 14 of the game -- to tie a franchise record for completion percentage, while Ray Rice rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown to help Baltimore (4-3) halt a frustrating three-game losing streak and deal the AFC West-leading Broncos (6-1) their first defeat after six straight wins under first-year head coach Josh McDaniels. Rookie Lardarius Webb added a 95-yard kick return touchdown in the convincing victory.
The story of the afternoon, however, was the performance of the Baltimore defense. The Ravens limited Denver to 200 total yards -- including a mere 134 net yards through the air, with Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton managing only 152 yards on 23-of-37 passing. He was also sacked twice.
"Today we all stepped up," said Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth. "One of the things that [head] coach [John] Harbaugh is saying is that we're the same team if we were 6-0, but we're 3-3. It's just we didn't get some breaks, and today I think we created our own breaks. We still had some plays that didn't go our way, (but) we fought through and kept playing and played well the entire game."
Flacco's 80-percent completion rate matched a Ravens single-game mark most recently set by Elvis Grbac, who went 16-for-20 in a 24-14 loss at Cleveland on October 21, 2001.
Baltimore outscored Denver by a 24-7 margin after intermission. The Broncos had yielded only 10 points in the second half and overtime during their six wins.
"We were outcoached, outplayed, basically in every phase," said McDaniels. "Anytime you go on the road against a good football team and you don't bring your 'A' game, this is what can happen to you."
The Broncos entered the contest ranked atop the NFL in scoring defense and second overall in total yards allowed, but it was Baltimore's 19th-rated stop unit that dictated play from the onset. Orton was leveled for a sack by linebacker Jarret Johnson on the game's first play and Denver went three-and- out on its initial two possessions.
The defense also had a direct hand in Baltimore's first points, as safety Ed Reed put a vicious hit on Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno late in the first quarter to force a fumble that was recovered by Terrell Suggs on the Denver 23-yard line. The turnover set up Steven Hauschka's 43-yard field goal that gave Baltimore a 3-0 edge with under one minute remaining in the opening period.
The Ravens extended the margin to 6-0 with an 11-play, 46-yard drive capped by Hauschka's 35-yard field goal with 4:58 left in the first half. Webb made the lead double digits when he took the second-half kickoff at his own five-yard line and burst through a wedge in the middle of the field before outracing the Broncos' coverage team to the end zone for his first career touchdown.
"Everybody just got their man," said Webb in reference to his blockers. "I just saw a hole and ran as fast as I can."
Denver, which has overcome a second-half deficit four times during its season- opening win streak, responded with its best drive of the day, a 10-play, 86- yard march culminating in Moreno's one-yard touchdown run with just over five minutes elapsed in the third quarter. A 39-yard pass interference penalty on Foxworth put the Broncos into Baltimore territory, while Reed committed a costly offsides infraction in a 4th-and-1 situation to keep the series alive. Orton also delivered a 14-yard strike to Jabar Gaffney on 3rd-and-9 which placed the ball at the Ravens' 15.
Baltimore answered by moving inside the Denver 15-yard line and went ahead by a 16-7 count when Hauschka split the uprights from 31 yards away with 4:55 to go in the third quarter. Flacco went 4-for-4 for 33 yards on the 10-play possession.
After the Ravens forced another three-and-out, Flacco engineered another long drive in which the strong-armed signal-caller had three key third-down completions. He hooked up with Kelley Washington for gains of 18 and 22 yards to move the chains, then later fired a 20-yard strike to Derrick Mason with 13:07 remaining that gave Baltimore a comfortable 23-7 lead.
"Flacco really did a nice job," McDaniels remarked. "[He] did a nice job of hitting some things, and then he bought himself some time. There were chances where we had an opportunity to get him in the pocket and just didn't get it done. Again, they executed better than we did, and they deserved to win because of it."
Prior to the game, Opponents had converted a paltry 2-of-35 third-down opportunities on the Denver defense in the second-half over the course of this season.
Rice concluded the scoring with a seven-yard touchdown burst just after the two-minute warning. The touchdown finished off a nine-play, 53-yard possession in which the Ravens ran the ball exclusively.
Webb's kick return touchdown was the first by a Ravens player since Yamon Figurs had a 95-yard runback against Indianapolis on December 9, 2007...Hauschka's three field goals were a career high...The Broncos are now 0-4 all-time at M&T Bank Stadium, including a 21-3 loss in an AFC Wild Card Playoff in 2000...Ravens tight end Todd Heap had his 400th career reception when he hauled in a seven-yard pass from Flacco in the first quarter...Broncos offensive tackle Ryan Harris left the contest early in the second quarter with an injured toe and did not return...Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata was taken out in the third quarter with an ankle injury.
11/01 17:47:52 ET
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