Baltimore Ravens defense exposed Broncos offense in dominant performance

The Baltimore Ravens defense stymied the Denver Broncos offense, forcing them to have to pass to win -- the Broncos' biggest offensive flaw.

The Denver Broncos were hardly world-beaters despite standing at 3-0 entering Week 4. Facing their stiffest opponent thus far, the Baltimore Ravens defense simply exposed the biggest flaw in Denver’s offense. Baltimore dominated, including a ridiculous third quarter, in which they allowed just 35 yards to the Broncos’ offense.

Baltimore Ravens defense starting to dominate

They may not be the defense that won a Super Bowl, but they’re damn difficult to figure out. In fact, they’re still figuring themselves out. In four consecutive weeks, Baltimore has continued to improve their total net yardage allowed.

Since an overtime loss to Las Vegas on Monday Night Football to start the year, the Ravens have rallied off three straight wins. They’ve also lowered their opponent’s net yardage in each outing.

Week 1 vs. Las Vegas: 491 (409 passing, 82 rushing)
Week 2 vs. Kansas City: 409 (343 passing, 62 rushing)
Week 3 vs. Detroit: 285 (192 passing, 93 rushing)
Week 4 vs. Denver: 254 (148 passing, 106 rushing)

Ravens’ run defense ransacking opponents

One thing that is important to note about a team’s run defense is how they’re stopping opponents and how well those opponents are running the ball against other teams. Save for the Raiders, each of the Ravens’ opponents has had success on the ground in 2021. Outside of Las Vegas, each of Baltimore’s opponents are averaging more than 100 yards on the ground per game against other opponents.

Las Vegas vs. other opponents: 52 vs. Pittsburgh, 140 vs. Miami, plays MNF vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Kansas City vs. other opponents: 73 vs. Cleveland, 186 vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 200 vs. Philadelphia
Detroit vs. other opponents: 116 vs. San Francisco, 108 vs. Green Bay, 90 vs. Chicago
Denver vs. other opponents: 165 vs. New York Giants, 96 vs. Jacksonville, 120 vs. New York Jets

Led by linebacker Patrick Queen, the Ravens’ defense is allowing just 85.7 rushing yards per game. With their third straight win coming on the heels of a strong defensive performance, it may be time to start discussing just how good this unit is overall.

Just how good is this Ravens defense?

The proverbial saying is “the sky is the limit,” but that is often not actually the case. Not in professional sports, at least. The Ravens’ defense is good, but as mentioned above, it’s not Super Bowl-winning good.

There are still troubles with this defense, most notably in coverage. While their run defense is terrific, they’ve been exposed against the pass multiple times this year. It hasn’t been an issue over the last three games, however, as they’ve done the exact same to their opponents.

Somehow, Baltimore has been able to expose their opponent’s biggest weakness as a defense. By stopping the Broncos’ rushing attack, they found a way to stop both Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock, forcing Denver to beat them through the air.

Baltimore forces Denver to pass to win

The only reason Denver reached 100 yards rushing was a couple of garbage-time carries from Javonte Williams. By limiting their rushing attack for the majority of the game, Baltimore made Bridgewater and Lock (who entered for a concussed Bridgewater) beat them through the air. And that’s not something Broncos fans wanted to see.

The Ravens’ defense limited Denver to 19-of-37 passing for just 148 yards. They allowed an early touchdown pass but stymied the aerial assault all game long after that. Anthony Averett ended the contest with an interception against Lock, but Baltimore’s defenders were ballhawks all game long.

In total, the Ravens broke up 4 passes and recorded a handful of forced incompletions. That’s the reason for hope for Baltimore and a major cause for concern in Denver if Bridgewater can’t return soon.

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here. Follow him on Twitter: @CamMellor.