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Offenses fizzle in Ravens-Broncos matchup


Offenses fizzle in Ravens-Broncos matchup

Two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks squared off on Sunday in Denver, and the result was an absolute dud offensively.

How bad was it? The only touchdown passes thrown by Denver's Peyton Manning and the Ravens' Joe Flacco went to the wrong team, and both teams had serious offensive shortcomings exposed in the Ravens' 19-13, season-opening loss.

Manning finished 24-of-40 for 175 yards, and he looked every bit of his 39 years. Manning was sacked four times, and his arm strength looked suspect. He rarely took a shot downfield, and when he did, he was badly off the mark more than once. For the first time since 2003, Manning did not throw a touchdown in the season-opener -- except for the 24-yard interception return by Jimmy Smith.

That proved to be the Ravens' only touchdown, because Flacco proved to be less effective than Manning. Flacco finished 18-for-32 for 117 yards, the fifth-lowest total of his 113 regular-season games. His rating of 38.2 was his lowest since 2011.

"It was an ugly one. It wasn't too fun to be a part of," Flacco said. 

"We got a lot to work on obviously... We're a lot better than that."

Without injured rookie Breshad Perriman, the Ravens had no deep threat, and receivers struggled all day to get separation, which was a concern throughout training camp. 

Steve Smith caught two passes on the team's opening possession but did not have another catch all day. A potential go-ahead touchdown bounced off his fingertips in the final minute. Marlon Brown finished as the team's top receiver -- with 25 yards on two catches. 

Flacco was sacked twice, hit nine times and harassed throughout by the Broncos pass rush led by DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller. The Ravens lost starting left tackle Eugene Monroe to an early concussion, and the fact that the Ravens couldn't get much going on the ground (23 carries, 73 yards overall, 11-for-28 in the first half) compounded the problem.

"We got to be able to spread them out a little more, and just not let them pin their ears back and come after us," Flacco said. 

Denver coach Gary Kubiak said, "It might have been the greatest defensive football game I've ever been a part of as a coach, on both sides of the ball."

That's one way to look at it. The other is that just one week into the season, both of these teams are staring at major offensive issues. 

MORE RAVENS: Sudden injury forces Ravens to look at life beyond Suggs

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Ravens safety DeShon Elliott likely out for the season with knee injury

Ravens safety DeShon Elliott likely out for the season with knee injury

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Just one game after losing a starting safety for the season with a knee injury, the Ravens lost another key contributor in the secondary. 

DeShon Elliott suffered a knee injury Sunday against the Bengals and will likely be out for the remainder of the season, coach John Harbaugh said. 

“I do have bad news with DeShon Elliott, it looks like he’s going to be out for the year, unfortunately,” Harbaugh said. “Just way worse than we thought it was going to be, doctors thought after the game. That’s preliminary, but it sounded like they were pretty confident that it wasn’t good.”

Elliott, a second-year pro out of Texas, was a sixth round pick in 2018, but missed the season with a broken forearm. 

He played in six games this season and registered six total tackles.

Elliott’s injury is the second season-ending injury to a safety in back-to-back weeks, as Tony Jefferson is out with a knee injury as well. 

Harbaugh said it was “very possible” the team could explore adding a player outside the organization to fill Elliott and Jefferson’s spot in the secondary.

Through the season, the Ravens have now lost Tavon Young, Jefferson and Elliott to season-ending injuries and are still without Jimmy Smith, who is out with an MCL sprain.


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Anquan Boldin retires as a Raven, the organization he always wanted to be with

Anquan Boldin retires as a Raven, the organization he always wanted to be with

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Anquan Boldin wanted to be a Raven just over a year before he actually became one. 

After Boldin and the Cardinals fell in the 2009 Super Bowl to the Steelers, Boldin and Ray Lewis sat at the Pro Bowl and talked about what they could do to get Boldin to Baltimore. 

“Me and Ray had a conversation poolside trying to figure out how I was going to get here and how we were going to make it happen,” Boldin recalled. “The only thing on his mind was, ‘We’ve got to beat Pittsburgh. Can you help us do that?’ I told him, ‘Get me there, I’ll take care of it.’” 

About 13 months after that conversation, Boldin was traded to the Ravens for third and fourth-round picks. He played three seasons in Baltimore from 2010 through 2012, where he won a Super Bowl with the team in the 2012 season. 

He registered 837, 887 and 921 yards, respectively, in his three seasons in Baltimore for 2,645 yards total. He also had 14 touchdowns, including one in Super Bowl XLVII. 

In the 2012 playoffs, Boldin had 380 yards on 22 receptions with four touchdowns as the Ravens' offense carried the team to a Super Bowl win. 

“This is the sixth guy that has retired a Raven, and five of them played for other teams,” former Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said. “This organization does a very good job and it begins at the top with Steve.”

Over his 14-year NFL career, Boldin was a three-time Pro Bowler, 2003 Offensive Rookie of The Year and 2015 Walter Payton Man of The Year. He had 91 total touchdowns (including playoffs) and nearly 14,000 yards receiving —which places him 14th all-time. 

Boldin began his career in Arizona with the Cardinals before his three-year run in Baltimore. He was traded in 2013 to the 49ers and spent three years there before capping his career in 2016 with the Lions. 

“It’s definitely an honor to retire a Raven,” Boldin said. “I played for four different organizations, but there’s no other organization, I would say, that had an impact on myself and my family like this organization...I can truly say this organization, this community embraced us fully from the first day we got here.”

While everyone lauded his abilities in the locker room, coach John Harbaugh also praised his ability to make contested catches. In just three years, Boldin make a significant impact on the Ravens receiving corps.

“The fact that you want to retire a Raven is probably one of the biggest honors we’ve had around here,” Harbaugh said to Boldin. 

Boldin said an organization never embraced him like the Ravens did for his three years in the purple and black.

“We truly feel like we are Ravens for life,” Boldin said. “We appreciate you guys for accepting us.”