BALTIMORE — Baltimore’s offensive line handled Von Miller, Joe Flacco took care of the football, and the Ravens sliced through Denver’s depleted defense in a 27-14 loss.
Penalties caused a major problem for the Broncos. Denver had 13 penalties for 120 yards throughout the game.
“We probably cost ourselves 20 points today on penalties,” coach Vance Joseph said after the game.
The penalties on the road are becoming a trend for the Broncos. In the last nine road games, the Broncos have had 87 penalties and a 1-8 record.
Flacco went 25 for 40 without an interception on a rainy afternoon. He threw 28 passes in the first half alone, when Baltimore took control.
Miller finished with two tackles and no sacks.
Here’s how the game went down in Baltimore.
After struggling to start strong last week, the Broncos came out swinging.
After winning the coin toss, the Broncos elected to defer to make Joe Flacco and the Ravens face the Broncos defense. After a short one-yard run, Bradley Chubb took down Flacco for his first full sack of the season.
The sack set up third and 13 and the Broncos forced a three and out on the Ravens.
— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) September 23, 2018
Joe Jones blocked the Ravens punt to give the Broncos the ball at the six-yard line.
On the next play, Royce Freeman ran it in for a touchdown to give the Broncos the early 7-0 lead.
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) September 23, 2018
After a 38-yard punt return for the Ravens, the Broncos defense gave up several more yards on penalties and struggling to cover tight ends as they gave up a 30-yard pass that took the Ravens down to the 15-yard line.
After another penalty, the Ravens responded with a running touchdown of their own to tie the game at 7.
The back and fourth continued with the Broncos offense second series.
Emmanuel Sanders ran it 35-yards for a touchdown thanks to a great block by Andy Janovich. It was Sanders’ first regular season rushing touchdown of his career.
Broncos WR @ESanders_10's 35-yard TD run is the 3rd-longest rush TD by a Denver WR in team history, trailing only Javon Walker's 72-yd TD run at PIT 11/5/06 & @TheREALrodSmith's 50-yd TD run at SEA 11/26/00.
It's also Sanders' first career rush TD & first rush att. since '16.
— Patrick Smyth (@psmyth12) September 23, 2018
First rushing touchdown of @ESanders_10's career.
35 yards to the 🏡! pic.twitter.com/u1krdofUsl
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) September 23, 2018
The Ravens would respond with a 52-yard field goal by Justin Tucker and cut the Broncos lead. It was 14-10 going into the second quarter.
The second quarter was rough for the Broncos. Tramaine Brock was ruled out with a groin injury at the beginning of the quarter.
The Broncos offense struggled to get things going and the Ravens offense added another touchdown and gained their first lead of the game.
The Broncos tried to shift the momentum as Tucker attempted a 43-yard field goal which was blocked by Justin Simmons.
Chris Harris Jr. returned it for a 58-yard touchdown – but it was called back because of an illegal block in the back by Domata Peko. The Broncos offense got the ball at the 49-yard line.
That’s when things started to get messy for the Broncos.
Keenum was strip-sacked and as players from both teams got into a scuffle fighting over possession of a live ball, flags were thrown and Phillip Lindsay was ejected from the game for throwing a punch.
— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) September 23, 2018
The Broncos recovered the fumble but it set up a 3rd and 28 with two minutes left.
After a terrible punt by Marquette King, it helped set up another field goal attempt for the Ravens to increase their lead 20-14 at halftime and end a brutal second quarter for the Broncos.
The Broncos offense got the ball to start the second half but, once again, could not get anything going. It was the sixth straight drive that resulted in a punt for the offense.
The Ravens offense had a streak of their own going – a scoring streak. Buck Allen punched the ball in to extend the Ravens lead to 13 points at 27-14.
On the next series, Keenum hit Demaryius Thomas over the middle for a huge 39-yard gain into the end zone. But a holding call on Garett Bolles brought it back.
Keenum then found Sanders for a nine-yard gain and the Broncos were in field goal range. A short pass on the next play brought up fourth down, but Ronald Leary was called for a personal foul to push the Broncos out of field goal range.
Denver’s lone turnover was costly. The Broncos were inside the Baltimore 5 with 9 minutes left before Case Keenum was intercepted by Patrick Onwuasor, whose 89-yard return for a touchdown was wiped out by a block in the back.
The defense was able to hold Flacco and the Ravens to prevent more points.
The penalties kept coming for the Broncos with more holding calls. And as the Broncos were going for it on 4th and one, they were flagged for having 12 men in the huddle and failed to convert on 4th and 6.
With about two minutes left in the game, that would give the Ravens the win.
The Broncos return home to face the red-hot Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC West showdown next Monday night.