Monday, November 2, 2009

Bye bye losing streak!

The Ravens got back to their winning ways yesterday in a big way, shutting down the previously undefeated Denver Broncos, 30-7.

The Ravens were coming off a bye week that had followed 3 consecutive losses. A loss to Denver yesterday would have put the Ravens at 3-4 and likely ended their chances for the postseason with the Bengals and Steelers sitting atop the division at 5-2 each.

But the Ravens came out of their bye week a drastically energized team that pretty much fixed all their problems on defense. The first play set the tone -- Jarrett Johnson came in untouched and sacked Broncos QB Kyle Orton for an 8-yard loss. The Broncos went 3-and-out and the Ravens never looked back on their way to the win.

They held the Broncos to 200 total yards of offense. They sacked Orton twice and forced a fumble. Most importantly, the secondary played excellent, and held Broncos start WR Brandon Marshall to 4 catches and 24 receiving yards.

On offense, the Ravens had some trouble getting started. They kicked a couple of field goals to take a 6-0 lead before Ladarius Webb returned the post-halftime kick off 95 yards for a TD to put the Ravens up 13-0.

And after some costly penalties resulted in a prolonged Denver drive that ended with a Broncos TD, the Ravens tightened back up and the offense -- meaning Joe Flacco and Ray Rice -- got going.

Flacco completed his last 14 pass attempts and finished 20 of 25 for 175 yards and a TD. Rice rushed for 84 yards and a game-sealing score late in the 4th quarter. On the receiving end, Kelley Washington hauled in 4 passes for 58 yards, 3 of which came on 3rd down conversions. And Derrick Mason caught 4 passes for 40 yards and a TD.

In the end, it was a huge relief to see the Ravens come out and shut down the Broncos yesterday after 3 consecutive close losses. It also restored the fans hopes that the Ravens can still contend for the division or the wild card.

Next week, the Ravens travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals, who stole a win from the Ravens during their previous meeting in Baltimore.

It's another must-win game for the Ravens, who are pretty much playing "must-win" games for the remainder of the season.

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