6:34 p.m. MDT: OK, I like ya, Tony Kornheiser. I was a regular reader of the PTI forerunner, the Chat House, back on Washingtonpost.com. But in your attempt to praise the Broncos, you took it a little too far. “Other than that (the Broncos), what’s out here, besides sheep?” he asked on the opening to the Monday Night Football telecast. What do you think this place is, New Zealand?
6:35 p.m. MDT: DenverBroncos.com staffer Don Schwartz, upon hearing of Kornheiser’s remarks: “That’s too bad. Obviously he’s never been to Casa Bonita.”
6:36 p.m. MDT: I hope I didn’t insult New Zealand with that remark. I mean, I did love the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
6:39 p.m. MDT: Kickoff. Paul Ernster set to boom it away, kicking south to north.
6:40 p.m. MDT: Ernster’s kickoff to the goal line, and B.J. Sams returns it to the 20-yard-line. As good as a touchback for the Broncos to open the game. Denver opens in its base defensive package; no unexpected changes.
6:43 p.m. MDT: Elvis Dumervil is active for the first time in his career, and saw action on the Ravens’ first third down of the game.
6:45 p.m. MDT: Ebenezer Ekuban, absolutely unblocked, clobbers McNair in the backfield from the left side; he slipped past Jonathan Ogden and had an open highway to the quarterback. The sack put Baltimore in third-and-20 — which became third-and-25 after a delay-of-game penalty.
6:46 p.m. MDT: Why is it that whenever I hear Walt Coleman’s voice over the public-address system, I feel like I’m sitting at Neyland Stadium?
6:48 p.m. MDT: Standard starting offense for the Broncos — base unit, with Kyle Johnson at fullback, Stephen Alexander at tight end and Tatum Bell at tailback.
6:49 p.m. MDT Jake Plummer introduces the Broncos offense on ESPN, referring to Matt Lepsis as “Big Fizzle.” Kenard Lang, the loquacious defensive end, drew defensive honors moments ago.
6:51 p.m. MDT Disaster strikes on the Broncos’ second offensive play when Terrell Suggs jars the football loose from Tatum Bell, giving Chris McAllister the opportunity to recover the football — which he does, remarkably, with an adroit tip-toe balancing act near the west sideline. This brings the recurrence of a running thread for the Broncos this year — a field-position disadvantage, as Baltimore takes over at the Denver 40.
7:01 p.m. MDT: Huge early tackles on back-to-back completions to force Baltimore to settle for a 25-yard field goal. The first saw Al Wilson stop Jamal Lewis for one yard; the second saw Domonique Foxworth force Michael Clayton out of bounds for six yards, two yards shy of the yardline to gain. Matt Stover send the football through the raindrops and the uprights.
7:03 p.m. MDT: “Again with the shields!” says William Shatner on an in-game commercial, reprising his Capt. Kirk role for a DirecTV ad. Anyone realize how similar that is to a Star Trek parody from The Simpsons where the Shatner clone says, “Again with the Klingons!” in a trailer for Star Trek XII: So Very Tired? Am I the only one who thinks about this stuff?
7:06 p.m. MDT: Broncos back on offense, and they’re not timid about giving Bell the football after his fumble; he runs for three yards before Haloti Ngata tackles him.
7:07 p.m. MDT: Kornheiser would get booted for cheering in the press box after his diatribe about his fantasy-football team where he spoke of needing a big game from Jake Plummer. “Go, baby!” Kornheiser exclaims after Plummer finds Javon Walker for the Broncos’ initial first down of the night.
7:08 p.m. MDT: Facing second-and-16 from their 34 after a Walker false-start infraction, the Broncos use their second timeout with 2:28 still left to play in the opening quarter.
7:11 p.m. MDT: Jake Plummer’s fifth interception of the season comes on a throw up the right sideline for Walker that simply sails too far, about four yards ahead of the wideout. Samari Rolle’s interception gives the Ravens possession at their 34-yard-line. An ominous sign against the Ravens to be minus-2 in the turnover margin before the end of the first quarter.
7:13 p.m. MDT: Another ominous sign — the Ravens have converted three of five third downs this quarter. Two of the three conversions have come on McNair runs; he has 15 ground yards this quarter.
7:16 p.m. MDT: Nick Ferguson pops Mike Anderson in a hit reminiscent of a helmet-removing shot he laid upon the running back during a 2003 training-camp practice. The only problem? It comes after a 9-yard gain that moves Baltimore to the Denver 40 as the quarter ends.
Tags: Baltimore Ravens