AFC North: Ravens Send Manning, Broncos to another Early Playoff Exit

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The Broncos were not able to capitalize, however, and ended up losing the ball on what many thought was a Tuck Rule fumble by Manning. The Ravens got the ball back and marched down the field employing solely the Ray Rice, all behind power-blocking trap plays behind the left guard and a pulling Marshall Yanda.

A 32 yard burst up the middle by Rice led to a first-and-goal at the four yard line, and the Ravens continued to feed Rice until he punched it in from one yard out on another trap play to the left. The Ravens simply mauled the smaller Broncos linemen, who are more suited to the pass rush, on the drive.

With the score tied up 28-28 at the end of three quarters, the Broncos finally found their gear in the fourth quarter. After a big pass interference penalty, Manning found Decker on a crossing route to convert third down in Baltimore territory. He then finally found Demarius Thomas on a bubble screen, a large part of the Broncos’ playbook that went largely overlooked, and Thomas found a few blocks and scored the go-ahead touchdown.

But, with 31 seconds left and the game all but conceded to the Broncos, Flacco marched the Ravens down the field to find Jacoby Jones down the sideline on a stop and go route that found the soft spot in the Broncos’ Cover 2 zone and got behind Denver’s Rahim Moore.

In the overtime that ensued, the Broncos’ pass rush saw some life, with Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller finally taking Flacco down for the first time all game. That did not matter after Baltimore’s Graham took another interception away from Manning, this time on yet another underthrown ball, this time to Stokely up the seam.

The Ravens turned to Rice to seal the game, and he burst up the middle into field goal range to end the season for the Broncos’ while the sun continues to set on Peyton Manning’s career.

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Tags: Baltimore Ravens Denver Broncos Joe Flacco Peyton Manning

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