Nine months after losing to Baltimore in the AFC playoffs, the
Broncos failed to prove that their New Year's Eve flop was an
aberration, losing to the Ravens 20-13 in the regular-season
The Ravens (2-1), who beat Denver 21-3 on their way to the Super
Bowl title last year, limited Denver to 228 yards in total offense
and forced three turnovers to rebound from a surprising loss the
Cincinnati Bengals last week.
"I guarantee from here on out, if you beat the Ravens, you've
beat a darn good football team," Baltimore tight end Shannon
Sharpe said. "You cannot drive 85 or 90 yards and beat our
defense. You can't do it."
It looked like it the Broncos (2-1) might not have to worry
about long scoring drives as Brian Griese threw a 3-yard TD pass to
Dwayne Carswell 20 seconds into the game. The score came four
seconds after Chester McGlockton's third career interception on
Baltimore's first play.
Denver's only other trip to the end zone came when the players
trotted off the field. After averaging 427 yards in their first two
games, the Broncos never advanced inside the 19 after their quick
What kind of statement did the Ravens make with this win at Mile
This was a huge statement. The Ravens showed they could go on the road, turn
the ball over early, get down 7-0 -- and then come back to win the game.
They also showed something of a running game. And Elvis Grbac stepped up and
played well. Plus, the defense played its usual big game. This was a
tremendous statement for the Ravens on the road, especially with the
schedule they have coming up (next week it's Tennessee at home; the week
after they travel to Green Bay).
ESPN.com NFL analyst Vinny Cerrato has served as director of player
personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.
"I think we talked about it all week, they really don't have
any weaknesses," Denver coach Mike Shanahan said. "They have
great speed, a great pass rush and they play hard too. Not to say
we played our best game, but give them credit."
In typical Ravens fashion, the Baltimore defense put its offense
in position for a second-half comeback.
Trailing 13-6 after Jason Elam's 49-yard field goal, the Ravens
tied the game on Qadry Ismail's 20-yard touchdown catch over Denard Walker with 6:29 left in the third quarter. The score came 10
seconds after Duane Starks intercepted a pass at the Denver 24.
The Broncos drove to the Baltimore 19 on their ensuing
possession before turning the ball over on downs. Their final drive
also fell short when Corey Harris intercepted Griese's pass at the
"It was ugly today," said Grbac, who has won five straight
against Denver. "Some of my stats are pretty ugly, but a win is a
Grbac, forced to throw a team-record 63 times against the
Bengals, completed 17-of-30 passes for 221 yards.
Griese, the NFL's top-rated quarterback entering play, was
17-of-33 for 191 yards and threw his first two interceptions of the
season. Most of his completions went for short yardage, with the
longest being a 31-yard pass to Rod Smith late in the fourth
"I don't think they're unbeatable," Griese said. "It's just
that we have to play close to a perfect game, just like anybody
else. The only way other way to beat them is to get lucky, and I
don't play the game with luck. I play with skill."
Griese, who missed last year's playoff loss with a separated
shoulder, was continually forced out of the pocket as he tried to
compensate for a futile running game that managed only 62 yards.
Baltimore's primary success also came through the air. Taylor
finished with four catches for 90 yards and Sharpe had five catches
for 50 yards in his first game in Denver since leaving the Broncos
after the 1999 season.
"I guess it's our arrogance to spot a team like Denver seven
points," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "The thing that
impresses me the most is coming through the barrage we had all week
long, people writing us off. For this team to fight through that,
that's championship-caliber mentality."
Playing at home for the first time since the terrorist attacks,
the Broncos paid tribute to America by forming a U.S. flag with
T-shirts in the stadium's upper deck. U-S-A was spelled out over
three sections below the flag.
At halftime, the Broncos inducted LB Karl Mecklenburg and S
Dennis Smith as the 17th and 18th members of the team's Ring of
Fame. ... Sharpe moved past Jackie Smith for second place on the
career receiving list for tight ends. With 7,961 yards, he needs 20
yards to overtake Ozzie Newsome for first. ... The Broncos
converted 5-of-16 third downs and are 10-for-39 on the season. ...
Baltimore has not allowed a 100-yard rusher for 40 straight games.
... ... Ravens DT Tony Siragusa played with a concussion after
colliding with teammate Peter Boulware in the third quarter.