The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens kicked off the season with a trip to Sports Authority Field at Mile High against the Denver Broncos in a rematch of last season’s AFC divisional playoff round match up, and the Broncos came away with the sweet taste of redemption.
Denver was able to come away with the 49-27 win thanks to seven touchdowns from Peyton Manning, but there was much more to be learned from today’s match up.
What did we learn during the Broncos dominating win? Here are the five key takeaways:
1. Peyton Manning still has it
In last year’s playoffs, it looked like Peyton Manning had nothing left in his arm. He was throwing ducks down the field and looked exhausted at times, but he came back this season to show that he was fully healthy and just as good as ever. His seven touchdown passes tied an NFL record and he joins Y.A. Tittle as the only quarterbacks in league history to throw seven touchdowns without an interception. It was a first time since 1969 that a quarterback tossed seven scores.
2. The Broncos pass rush is just fine without Von Miller
Shaun Phillips stepped up in a big way and recorded 2.5 sacks on the night, while Robert Ayers added one and Wesley Woodyard added half a sack. There were some concerns about the team’s defense without star Von Miller, but they rose to the occasion and showed they still have it.
3. Baltimore’s defense needs to step it up
The Ravens defense showed that they lost all of their leadership and star players on Thursday night, as they continuously got gashed by Peyton Manning and company. It is hard to fault the unit because of how great Manning looked, but they failed to get off the field early and often and allowed the Broncos offense to pull away.
4. Fantasy owners love Julias Thomas
With 110 yards receiving and two touchdowns, fantasy owners found their favorite Week One waiver wire claim. Thomas looked like a match up nightmare and he showed physicality after the catch. Manning enjoys throwing to his tight ends and Thomas could be the beneficiary. If you are able to get the top claim on Thomas in your fantasy league, enjoy the fun.
5. This is going to be a great season
It is rare that a hyped up NFL game lives up to all of the talk, but the Ravens and Broncos did just that. It was a historic night and a perfect way to kick off the season. Denver looks like the real deal.