The Ravens pulled off the upset, and the Broncos are one and done after a 2OT thriller
The Ravens went into Denver and completely shocked the Broncos and a lot of so-called experts who figured the Broncos would win by double digits.
So where did it go wrong for the Broncos?
Several places, really.
For starters, Peyton Manning went back into Vintage Playoff Manning mode, with two huge interceptions. The first one was returned for a touchdown. The second one was in overtime, and basically closed out the game. It allowed the Ravens to take over at the Denver 45, and they proceeded to gain only 16 yards before Justin Tucker kicked the game-winning field goal.
Another problem was that Broncos head coach John Fox was far too conservative in his play calling.
It's almost like he forgot that Peyton Manning was the one who had gotten them into the playoffs in the first place.
Time after time, the Broncos relied on Ronnie Hillman in third down, instead of their MVP candidate QB.
Also, with 2 time outs and 30 seconds left in regulation, the Broncos were content to kneel out the clock instead of even attempting to get into Matt Prater's field goal range.
The defense was also nothing impressive, as the 3rd best defense in the regular season allowed 132 yards to Ray Rice, and 331 yards and 3 TD to Joe Flacco.
Speaking of Flacco, he was equal parts brilliant and awful.
He forced the Ravens to take a crucial time out in regulation to avoid a delay of game penalty, and later got flagged for it in overtime, backing the Ravens up to the 3 yard line.
However, he was incredible on a 3rd down pass to Dennis Pitta from out of his own end zone, and on several deep balls to Torrey Smith.
In the end, the Ravens defense held strong in overtime, shutting down the Broncos when it mattered, and getting the key interception to allow the offense to get into field goal position easily.
The Ravens are heating up at the right time, and the Broncos were exposed for the frauds that they are.
I guess an 11-game regular season winning streak doesn't mean much when it's against a bunch of tomato cans.