Last night’s much anticipated rematch between the Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos gave fans their first dose of real football. The game also gave us our fair share of gaffes which defined the whole game. It’s a theme that may play out during many of the season’s opening games. These are the gaffes that determined last night’s game.
The “severe” lightning in the Denver area
The lightning storm that delayed the start of the NFL’s season opener was a safety issue, and I can appreciate that. What I have a problem with is calling it a “severe” lightning storm. By the look of the radar images provided by NBC, it was a light rain shower with some thunder and lightning. Let’s quit calling it a “severe” lightning storm. It was just a bad way to get the season under way.
Joe Flacco gives the Broncos a touchdown
The Ravens threatened to open up a significant first half lead until Joe Flacco handed Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ offense great field position with an ill-positioned pass that was snagged by the Broncos. One play later, the score was evened up at 7 apiece.
Wes Welker’s muffed punt
I’m still not sure why the Broncos felt the need to put Welker back to return a punt deep in his own territory. Personally, I would want a punt returner back returning punts, but hey, putting a sure-handed receiver back is usually not a terrible idea. Still, it handed the Ravens 7 easy points.
John Harbaugh’s sticky red flag
In the third quarter, the Ravens had the Denver Broncos stopped on third down, or at least they would have had Ravens coach John Harbaugh challenged the ruling on the field of a catch. Instead, Wes Welker was given credit for a catch he didn’t make, and a few plays later, the Broncos took the lead for the first time. The play set off a string of Broncos touchdowns that made the Ravens look completely outmatched.
The blocked punt
Following a quick stop by the Broncos, the Ravens were forced to punt from deep in their own territory. A defender split between two blockers and got a big piece of the ball as it came off Sam Koch’s foot. The Broncos got the ball at the 10 yard line, and quickly capitalized with another touchdown.
Danny Trevathan’s pick-almost-six
After intercepting a Joe Flacco pass on 4th and 1, Danny Trevathan could have walked into the endzone. Unfortunately, Trevathan channeled his inner DeSean Jackson, dropping the ball just before crossing the goal line. The ball was eventually batted out of the back of the endzone. The Ravens quickly capitalized on the mistake, driving down the field for a quick touchdown.
Make no mistake about it, these aren’t the only game-changing gaffes we’ll be enduring this week. These types of plays are ugly, for one team anyway, and they change the complexion of the whole game, just as we saw last night.