By all accounts, no shortchanging Ravens
BALTIMORE - The Denver Broncos went from unbeaten to overmatched during a 60-minute beatdown by the Ravens.
Rookie Lardarius Webb returned the second-half kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, and Baltimore ended a three-game losing streak with a surprisingly easy 30-7 victory yesterday.
It was Denver’s first loss under rookie coach Josh McDaniels. The Broncos (6-1) came in with the NFL’s top-ranked defense, a plus-7 turnover differential, and one of the league’s best kick returners in Eddie Royal. Denver had also outscored the opposition, 76-10, after halftime.
The Ravens, however, dominated every facet of the game.
“We didn’t play our best ball, but they’re a pretty good team and they beat us pretty good today on all sides of the ball,’’ Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton said. “We didn’t really do a whole lot.’’
Baltimore (4-3) limited Denver to 200 yards, scored off the game’s lone turnover, won the special teams fight, and outscored the Broncos, 24-7, in the second half.
Denver started the day as one of three unbeaten teams in the NFL and was trying to go 7-0 for the first time since 1998. Baltimore needed a win to avoid falling under .500 and dropping two games behind Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in the AFC North.
In a duel between an undefeated team and a desperate one, the Ravens prevailed.
“They just did a better job of executing. Desperation had nothing to do with it,’’ Broncos safety Brian Dawkins said.
Baltimore held Royal in check, bottled up Orton, and became the first team this season to rush for more than 100 yards against Denver. Given two weeks to think about a three-game skid in which they lost by a combined 11 points, the Ravens started fast and never relented.
“We know we’re capable of doing this kind of thing,’’ said Joe Flacco, who went 20 of 25 for 175 yards and a touchdown. “We had a chance in the other games. Today we finished. That’s why we won.’’