Playing with third-string quarterback Danny Kanell made the task
virtually impossible, especially on a day in which the Lewis &
Lewis Show put on a stellar performance before a record crowd.
Question on the Broncos: Will Plummer be able to turn things around when he returns?
He'll be able to turn things around because the offensive sets are geared to his style of play. The past few weeks have proven how important he is to this team.
Question on the Ravens: Can the Ravens count on Boller playing it safe the rest of the way?
As long as Jamal Lewis is healthy and able to rush as effectively as he has the past few weeks, Boller will be OK. As I've said before, Boller is in a good situation because of the presence of a great defense and a great running back.
Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.
Matt Stover kicked four field goals for the Ravens (4-3), who
maintained their hold on first place in the AFC North by beating
Denver (5-3) for a fourth straight season, including the 2000
"Sometimes, it's just one of those things," Ray Lewis said.
"We match up very well against Denver."
Starting for the first time since 2000, Kanell went 16-for-31
for 114 yards and two interceptions.
"Obviously, it was not the kind of comeback I wanted," Kanell
said. "Bottom line, it's a loss. I'm bummed about it right now."
The Broncos hoped that running back Clinton Portis could carry
the offense, but he was limited to 86 yards on 22 carries.
"It's hard to win football games on the road if you can't run
the ball," Denver coach Mike Shanahan said. "We were kind of
limited in some of the things we could do, but that's no excuse. We
just didn't execute very well.
"Can we get better than we were today? I hope we can."
The game drew 69,721 fans, the largest crowd ever to see a pro
football game in Baltimore.
Baltimore was nursing a 9-6 lead when Ray Lewis picked off
Kanell's pass intended for Rod Smith. Lewis brought the ball to the
Denver 20, and Kyle Boller capped the four-play drive with a 5-yard
pass to Terry Jones with 7:35 left.
"I just broke on it. It's a good thing it was there," Lewis
Stover kicked a field goal after the Broncos turned the ball
over on downs at their 14. Jamal Lewis added a 28-yard touchdown
run with 1:56 to go after Gary Baxter returned an interception 34
yards to the Denver 28.
Jamal Lewis ran a career-high 32 times for 134 yards and caught
three passes for 28 yards. He is the first back to run for 100
yards against Denver this season.
"We keep pounding them, and they just wear down over time,"
said Lewis, who leads the NFL with 977 yards rushing.
Held to 58 yards in the first half, the Broncos matched that
total on their opening possession of the third quarter before
closing to 9-6 on a 22-yard field goal by Jason Elam.
It turned out to be Denver's most effective drive of the day.
The Broncos' defense wasn't much better.
"When you get beat 26-6, when in my eyes that team definitely
isn't better than us, we didn't come to play," Denver linebacker
Al Wilson said.
Kanell went 3-for-8 for 21 yards in the first half, and Portis
was limited to just 31 yards rushing on 10 carriers.
The Ravens' first possession started with four straight runs by
Jamal Lewis and ended with Stover missing a 45-yard field goal.
Denver then mounted a similar drive, giving Portis the ball for
six straight runs before Elam kicked a field goal.
The Broncos' next possession ended with a failed gamble that led
to a 25-yard field goal by Stover. After Kanell was stuffed on a
fourth-and-1 at the Denver 48, the Ravens settled for three points
following a replay review that overturned an apparent touchdown
catch by Todd Heap.
Stover made it 6-3 midway through the second quarter with his
300th career field goal, a 39-yarder after Bart Scott tipped Micah
Knorr's punt from the end zone.
Stover added a 22-yarder on the half's final play to cap a
Denver linebacker John Mobley was carted off with a bruised
spinal chord late in the half. All of his feeling eventually
returned to normal, and X-rays were negative.
^Notes:@ Broncos' starting RT Matt Lepsis was ejected with 10:02
left in the first half after bumping an official. ... Smith
extended his consecutive games with a reception to 69, surpassing
the franchise mark set by Ed McCaffrey. ... Ravens WR Frank Sanders
made his 500th career catch in the third quarter. ... Baltimore CB
Corey Fuller left in the fourth quarter with a hamstring strain.
Drew Brees smacks a couple of softball home runs during his teammate Tim Lelito's charity softball game.
The NFL says it is close but still has yet to interview the four players named along with Peyton Manning in a report five months ago that linked them to PEDs.
ESPNDallas columnist Jean-Jacques Taylor and NFL Nation reporter Todd Archer discuss what Randy Gregory needs to do to have a long future with the Cowboys, plus a Dez Bryant-Russell Westbrook comparison.
ESPN Bears reporter Jeff Dickerson discusses how Kevin White looked in Chicago's OTA on Wednesday.
ESPN Redskins reporter John Keim says Preston Smith and the defense, including safety DeAngelo Hall, had a big day against the offense Wednesday.
ESPN Browns reporter Pat McManamon explains that perennial Pro Bowl tackle knows the wear and tear on his body; if he needs a day off in OTAs and during the season, Cleveland Browns are wise to give it to him.