Peyton Manning is a beast.
One of the greatest of all-time.
Thursday night, Manning flexed his muscle – his right arm – time and time again vs. a tired, under-performing and relatively new Baltimore Ravens defense.
The end result was Manning placing himself in the NFL history books, and the Broncos cruising to a victory.
For Denver, the game meant a lot more. Last year, Baltimore stunned them and knocked the “Orange Crush” out of the playoffs in thrilling, come-from-behind fashion.
Due to the Orioles playing the role of the devil and not moving the start of their baseball game or place of it to allow the Ravens to open at home, as Super Bowl champions do, they were forced to head west and play in the high-altitude of Mile High City.
Now, these are not those Super Bowl-winning Ravens. There’s no Ray Lewis. No Ed Reed. No a lot of players, to be quite honest.
Instead, this is a team in transition, and games like this are bound to happen when you are in transition in the National Football League.
John Harbaugh is one of the greatest coaches going today and he will have this unit shaped up and in tip-top-form by next week, I promise you that.
On Thursday night, everything clicked for Peyton and his posse.
Nothing did for Joe Flacco and his.
Flacco had a rough preseason, over-throwing receivers and piling up interceptions like he did dollar signs during the offseason. He seemed off, and maybe that had to do with the loss of Anquan Boldin.
Torrey Smith appeared to be ready to ascend to the role of No. 1 receiver, but he was blanketed by the Bronco secondary and virtually non-existent; that cannot continue if Flacco wants to prove his contract and be an elite QB, as he needs that No. 1 receiver to come forward.
Dallas Clark dropped passes, including touchdowns, and that is something very uncharacteristic of the former Colt standout who was Manning’s security blanket for years.
Ray Rice was unable to get on track, but that came mostly due to the Broncos piling up 21 quick third-quarter points and forcing Baltimore to play catch-up the rest of the way.
When Jacoby Jones went down on a weird punt return in which his own player ran into him, that left the Ravens weak at wide receiver. They tried to go no-huddle like Denver and push the tempo, but all you saw was tired players dragging their butts back to the sidelines after three-and-outs.
What does all this mean? Well, it just means the Ravens are 0-1, a first for Harbaugh, but not the worst thing that could happen.
Coming off a Super Bowl win, you could see some hints of arrogance from Baltimore. Jones did “Dancing with the Stars.” Flacco was everywhere.
The preseason was rough, and the regular season started rougher.
But, with leaders like Harbaugh and Ozzie Newcome in command, the Ravens will rise once again.