Flacco shines as Ravens deal Broncos first loss, 27-14
(AP Photo/Nick Wass)
By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
Flacco found the time to throw for 277 yards and a touchdown, and the Ravens pushed aside the previously undefeated Broncos 27-14 Sunday.
Baltimore (2-1) got 68 yards rushing from Alex Collins, but the line's most ample contribution was giving Flacco time to pass against a defense led by Miller, who came in with an NFL-leading four sacks.
"That's a stout run defense. We kept hammering in there and bled some yards," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "But our pass protection really stepped up and did a great job."
Flacco went 25 for 40 without an interception on a rainy afternoon. He threw 28 passes in the first half alone, when Baltimore took control.
Miller finished with two tackles and no sacks.
"He's able to get in there and make a ton of plays and change a game when you look at him on film," Flacco said. "That was the biggest thing, just not letting him be a factor."
Flacco's success came against a Denver backfield that began the day without injured cornerback Adam Jones (thigh) and lost cornerback Tramaine Brock (groin) in the first quarter. As a result, rookie Isaac Yiadom saw significant playing time at right cornerback.
"I think we kind of made it easy for them," Broncos safety Darian Stewart said. "We gave them a lot of stuff."
Javorious Allen caught a 12-yard touchdown pass and ran for a score for the Ravens.
Baltimore made 20 first downs, totaled 342 yards and converted half its third-down attempts.
"That wasn't the game we had intended for," Miller said. "At times, we couldn't get off the field as a defense."
Denver (2-1) was coming off two home wins, both by virtue of fourth-quarter comebacks. This time, the Broncos could not rally after Allen's 1-yard TD run made it 27-14 midway through the third quarter.
The Broncos were flagged 13 times for 120 yards.
"We probably cost ourselves 20 points today on penalties," coach Vance Joseph said.
Denver's lone turnover was just as costly. The Broncos were inside the Baltimore 5 with 9 minutes left before Case Keenum was intercepted by Patrick Onwuasor, whose 89-yard return for a touchdown was wiped out by a block in the back.
The Ravens took consolation in preventing Denver from getting within a touchdown.
"That was a huge stop," said Harbaugh, who celebrated his 56th birthday in style.
The Broncos' next drive ended at the Baltimore 11, and the Ravens ran out the clock over the final three minutes.
Keenum completed 22 of 34 passes for 192 yards.
Denver got a touchdown after blocking a punt and also swatted away a field goal try. Chris Harris Jr. took the second blocked kick 58 yards for a touchdown, but an illegal block nullified the second-quarter score.
On the ensuing series, Broncos rookie running back Phillip Lindsay was ejected for throwing a punch during the scramble for a fumble by Keenum.
"He's obviously a big part of what we do offensively," Joseph said. "Losing him, that's a big deal."
A wild first half ended with Baltimore up 20-14.
Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders made it 14-7 with a 35-yard end around, his first career rushing touchdown.
Justin Tucker sandwiched a pair of 52-yard field goals around a 12-yard touchdown throw by Flacco.
Tucker now has six career games with multiple field goals of 50 yards or more, an NFL record. He has also connected on his last eight attempts from at least 50 yards.
The Ravens welcomed back linebacker Ray Lewis, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August following a 17-year career with Baltimore.
After the players were introduced, the song "Hot in Herre" by Nelly boomed over the PA.
Lewis emerged from the tunnel wearing his yellow Hall of Fame jacket and performed his trademark dance while the soggy crowd cheered.
Lewis was presented with his Hall of Fame ring during a ceremony at halftime. He was joined by Jonathan Ogden, the Ravens' other HOF member.
Broncos: Stewart left in the second quarter with a shoulder injury but returned.
Ravens: MLB C.J. Mosley was inactive with a bruised knee.
Broncos: host Kansas City in an AFC West showdown Monday night, Oct. 1.
Ravens: travel to Pittsburgh for a Sunday night matchup between AFC North teams.
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Updated September 23, 2018