Broncos and Ravens Week 1 Grades
Manning and his platoon of pass catchers looked almost fool proof by the second half (35 points in second half). With Wes Welker (nine receptions,161 yards, and two touchdowns) fitting right into the slot position, tight end Julius Thomas looking like he might breakout this season( five receptions 110 yards, and two touchdowns), and with Demaryius Thomas looking like a star (five receptions, 161 yards, and two touchdowns), this offense is going to put up some numbers in 2013/14.
Also don’t forget about Eric Decker, even though he was quiet Thursday night, he will still be a threat this season. The only knock on offense could go to the running game as the rushers never got going only totaling 67 rushing yards altogether. Still, Monte Ball did have a couple nice runs which is a good sign for the future.
On defense they were a little sluggish bringing the pass rush in the first half. However, that all changed in the second half with Shaun Phillips (2.5 sacks) answering Tony Dungy’s halftime plea for somebody to step up with Von Miller suspended. Overall the defense looked solid in the second half, giving Flacco fits and not giving him much time to find the open man. So far it looks like this defense will be fine while Miller is in time out, especially with Champ Bailey coming back soon.
OVERALL GAME GRADE: A
In the first half, having a lot of time in the pocket, Joe Flacco seemed to be working on all cylinders using seven different targets (18/30, 160 passing yards, one touchdown), which helped give the Ravens a 17-14 halftime lead.
With the heat coming in the second half, Flacco couldn’t keep up with Manning as he was rattled most of the second half (three sacks). Besides a couple nice catches and a short, running touchdown, Ray Rice was relatively quiet.
One thing’s for sure, the team doesn’t need Jacoby Jones and Michael Oher out for a substantial amount of time. Jones was injured by a bone headed move from rookie teammate Brynden Trawick, which is huge as the Ravens were already slim on pass catchers, and it showed against the Broncos.
On the defensive side they looked to be at least putting up a fight against Manning and the Broncos. Then “The Sheriff” went into turbo mode making this defense look horrible, as they allowed the most points (49 points) ever by a Ravens team. The secondary definitely needs to improve their production as Michael Huff, Cary Williams, and Corey Graham all got burned. The team simply looked exhausted and ready to throw in the towel by the fourth quarter as Manning just keeping eating them alive. The change in personal might take time to gel, but you have to wonder how Thursday night would of went if they had their leader Ray Lewis driving them.
OVERALL GAME GRADE: D
More Week 1 Predictions
Patriots at Bills: Patriots
Titans at Steelers: Steelers
Buccaneers at Jets: BUCCANEERS
Chiefs at Jaguars: CHIEFS
Seahawks at Panthers: SEAHAWKS
Bengals at Bears: BENGALS
Dolphins at Browns: DOLPHINS
Vikings at Lions: LIONS
Raiders at Colts: COLTS
Cardinals at Rams: RAMS