If you blinked, then you might have just missed the first quarter of the NFL 2021 season. Sure, we have 17 games now but let me be loose with my math. This is the first corner we turn on seeing if a team is legit or just pretending to contend. In what arguably is the toughest division (certainly in the AFC), the Denver Broncos entered 2021 with a stacked defense, hope, and well “Teddy Two Gloves.” Sadly to say, you can’t play the Jets every week to look like Elway’s glory days. In week four, we saw the Broncos line up against an opponent that actually can bring a game plan. The Ravens took it to Denver all game and sent them back to reality.
I am sorry for your loss, Denver Broncos, but your season is over!
Being undefeated after three weeks is certainly a great way to open up the season, but let’s be clear about their opponents. The Broncos beat the Giants, Jaguars, and Jets… so they basically opened with three Homecoming games, with week four as their first actual test. The Ravens are a legit contender and the Broncos would have to put up or shut up to prove they belonged at the big boy’s table.
Lamar Jackson ripped the Fangio defense through the air with 316 passing yards on twenty-two completions, the third-highest mark of his career. Hollywood Brown took it to pay dirt for the only passing TD on the day. Lamar’s rapport with TE Mark Andrews continues to solidify as a go-to guy as he led the team with eight targets for 67 yards. That’s what happens when you have one solid WR and only practice squad RB’s to dump off a check down. Long live the Tight End!
Sure, the Broncos kept Lamar under thirty yards rushing but the Ravens ground game would not be stopped. You may have heard, the Ravens have rushed for 100+ yards a game for 43 consecutive games. Sure that doesn’t mean anything to anyone outside the Ravens or those with gambling problems, but Coach Harbaugh let it be a sticking point. Their defense picked off Lock with three seconds left… IN THE ENDZONE, and rather than take a knee, he ran the ball once more to eclipse the 100-yard mark.
The Ravens defense knocked the air and hope for that matter, out of the Broncos on Sunday. Even with Bridgewater in the first half, the Broncos punted 10 of 12 drives. That had to make the Mile High faithful put their Trevor Semien jerseys back on. Sadly, Bridgewater was knocked out with a concussion on his final pass of the half. The Broncos retreated to the locker room down ten but on life support.
Once Drew Lock came in, he did what he was drafted to do. Throw over 100 yards in the half and at least one interception. Done and done! The receiving core and running backs had no stand-out play as they all put up pedestrian numbers.
The Broncos walked into 2021 looking for a seat at the adult table only to spill their plate on the floor while they tried to move the chair out. Good thing it was a home game so the walk of shame wasn’t so long. See you in 2022, with another new QB! (wink wink, Aaron Rodgers)