Finally after seven long painstaking months, the NFL season started back up on Thursday evening in a game that certainly did not disappoint. After a short delay due to lightening, the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens went into the mile-high city to take on Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. What was a close first half quickly turned into a blow out in the second in which Manning threw for seven total touchdowns. In case you missed the game, here’s a quick recap of how things went down.
What was originally supposed to be a 6:30 PM kickoff in Denver, thunderstorms and lightening made for a nearly 40 minute delay before the game kicked off. This was quite anticlimactic, especially considering there was a great montage of NFL greats counting down to the start of the game (never mind the fact that Ray Lewis was #1 and Bronco’s legend Shannon Sharpe was #2. They were in Denver, for Pete’s sake!). Nonetheless, the electricity in Denver was something you would expect to see from 76,000 fans who know their team has a great chance of making the Super Bowl this year.
Ravens came out on fire and struck first with a touchdown pass from Flacco to Vonte Leach for a 2-yard touchdown pass. However in the second quarter, Julius Thomas caught his first of two huge touchdowns for the Bronco’s, tying the game at 7. The Ravens would score another touchdown midway through the second and a field goal at the end of the half. And with another touchdown pass from Manning to Thomas, the game went into halftime at 17-14. Unfortunately for the defending champs, that was as close as it would be for the remainder of the game.
The Broncos came out in the third quarter and lit up the scoreboard. Just two minutes into the half, Manning hit Andre Caldwell for his third passing touchdown of the game. Manning then hit newly added Wes Welker twice, for touchdowns number four and five. Two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter would account for a final total of seven for the evening. With seven touchdowns, manning joins an elite class of only five other quarterbacks who have thrown for the same amount in one game (Joe Kapp, Y.A. Tittle, George Blanda, Adrian Burk and Sid Luckman).
But what’s more important than the number of touchdowns is the statement this win sent to the rest of the league. The Baltimore Ravens are the defending Super Bowl champions mind you. Furthermore, the Bronco’s defense looked absolutely stellar against Joe Flacco and company, and Von Miller and Champ Bailey weren’t even playing for the orange and blue.
Sure, the Broncos are presumably still angry about losing to the Ravens last year in the playoffs; a loss that eventually sent the Ravens to the Super Bowl where they defeated the 49ers. But they came out and didn’t just play angry, they played hungry. Like a violent carnivore daring anyone to get in the way of its meal. And the meal for the Broncos is surely a Super Bowl win this season.
And as for the Ravens, they made some huge moves this offseason, resigning Joe Flacco to a deal so big that it made it impossible to keep around veteran suds like Anquan Bolden and Ed Reed. These departures sure were noticeable on Thursday evening as the Broncos exploited every part of Baltimore’s defense, and the offense couldn’t get things going against the Broncos D.
It’s quite amazing what just one game can do; especially when its only the first game of the season. For the Ravens, many people are now saying that they will be lucky if they win more than 8 games this year. That would surely be a disappointment for Baltimore fans coming off a Super Bowl winning season, especially considering their QB is among the top-paid in the league. As for the Broncos, whatever talk of them going to the Super Bowl was being said before the game has heated up more after their shalacking of the Ravens. What might be most scary is that once Champ Baily and Von Miller get back, the Broncos will have a legitimate defense to match the offense led by their hall-of-fame quarterback.
But above all else; thank goodness football is back!