BALTIMORE (AP) – The Baltimore Ravens have been perfect inside the opponent’s 20-yard line this season, scoring 12 touchdowns on a dozen trips in the red zone.
Denver still hasn’t quite got the hang of it yet.
Baltimore (2-1) went 3 for 3 in the red zone Sunday and came away with a 27-14 victory. Joe Flacco threw a 12-yard touchdown pass, Alex Collins scored on a 6-yard run and Javorius Allen pounded in from the 1.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, center, throws a pass as he is pressured by Denver Broncos defensive tackle Domata Peko Sr. (94) and linebacker Bradley Chubb (55) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
“You have to give the players credit,” coach John Harbaugh said. “Joe has done a great job. We’ve run the ball down there very well. It doesn’t always show up on the stats, but you have to be able to run the ball in the red zone.”
Denver (2-1) got inside the Baltimore 20 twice in the fourth quarter, looking to cut the deficit under a touchdown. On each occasion, the Broncos came away with nothing.
Coach Vance Joseph lamented his team’s mistakes and penalties, but acknowledged that the Ravens have what it takes to score when close to the goal line.
“We gave them a couple of short fields and they punched it in on us,” Joseph said. “They’ve been great in the red zone. So, it’s what we expected.”
Some things we learned from the Broncos-Ravens game:
HAPPY TO SHARE
Collins and Allen are developing into a potent 1-2 punch.
Collins rushed 18 times for 68 yards, and Allen scored twice. Allen’s 12-yard TD catch in the second quarter gave a Ravens a 17-14 lead and they never looked back.
Allen said he’s delighted with the team’s two-pronged approach.
“You see what it can do,” he said. “You never know who’s getting the ball, where it’s going. Run, pass, we can do it all. As long as they keep drawing up plays for us to make, we’re going to make them.”
The Broncos didn’t establish the run, despite totaling 120 yards on the ground and averaging 5.0 yards a carry.
One reason is that Phillip Lindsay was ejected just before halftime for throwing a punch in a scrum after a fumble.
Lindsay became the first undrafted rookie to total 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his first two games.
The streak ended with a thud Sunday. He ran for 20 yards and didn’t catch a pass.
“He’s obviously a big part of what we do offensively,” Joseph said. “Losing him, that’s a big deal.”
SELF-INFLICTED WOUNDS: The fact that the Broncos were assessed 120 yards on 13 penalties was a huge factor in the defeat.
Not only did Lindsay get 15 yards for throwing a punch, but rookie Isaac Yiadom got 15 yards for delivering a push – while standing on the sideline during a kickoff return.
“We can’t do that. It probably cost us 20 points today,” Joseph said of the infractions. “A lot of the penalties really were guys losing their composure.”
TO THE HOUSE, AND BACK
Ravens inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor effectively ended the Broncos’ fourth-quarter comeback attempt with his first career interception.
With the Broncos at the Ravens’ 15-yard-line, Onwuasor picked off a Case Keenum pass and sprinted for an apparent touchdown, stumbling into the end zone while getting swarmed by his teammates.
The play, however was called back when linebacker Matthew Judon was called for an illegal block.
“I broke on the ball and I saw the play in front of me,” Onwuasor said. “I saw Judon put a great block out there in front of me on the return, but it got called back. Judon may owe me some food or something.”
NOT MILLER TIME: Baltimore’s shaky offensive line should have been an opportunity for Broncos linebacker Von Miller to enhance his sack total, which stood at an NFL-best four before the game.
Instead, Miller was largely quiet. He had two tackles and no sack.
He was also upset about being called offside twice.
“I don’t understand it,” he said. “When we practice, we don’t have all those penalties. We have to clean that up.”
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Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph yells from the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
Denver Broncos quarterback Case Keenum, center, looks for a receiver as he is pressured by Baltimore Ravens linebackers Za’Darius Smith (90) and Matt Judon (99) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
Baltimore Ravens running back Javorius Allen, right, celebrates his touchdown with teammate Alex Collins in the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Michael Crabtree, left, catches a pass in front of Denver Broncos defensive back Bradley Roby in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey, right, tries to tackle Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman as Freeman rushes the ball in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)