7:20 p.m. MDT: First-quarter numbers of note (and they’re not pretty for the Broncos):
- Total Yardage: Baltimore 69, Denver 9.
- First Downs: Baltimore 5, Denver 1.
- Time of Possession: Baltimore 11:42, Denver 3:18.
- Rushing Yards: Baltimore 56, Denver 3.
- Passing Yards: Baltimore 13, Denver 6.
- Turnovers: Denver 2, Baltimore 0.
7:21 p.m. MDT: Jason Brown’s only two career starts have come against Denver, and the young guard from Henderson, N.C. just got his number announced over the public-address system at the stadium — exactly what an O-lineman does not want to hear. His false-start penalty forces the Ravens into a third-and-9, from which Steve McNair throws incomplete.
7:22 p.m. MDT: Sam Koch’s 37-yard punt puts the Broncos back at their 2-yard-line to begin their first second-quarter possession as field position continues to favor the Marylanders.
7:27 p.m. MDT: Give credit to Matt Lepsis on Adalius Thomas and Ben Hamilton just getting in Ray Lewis’ way for Tatum Bell’s 19-yard run to get the Broncos out of near-end-zone purgatory and to the Denver 22. Two more carries for 15 yards get the Broncos to the Baltimore 39, at which point Mike Bell comes in for a play to give the elder Bell a breather.
7:28 p.m. MDT: Jake Plummer looks deep downfield for David Kircus, but Pro Bowler Chris McAlister is there to swat the pass away. Paul Ernster’s punt sails 54 yards; B.J. Sams returns it to the Denver 21 for a net of 40 yards.
7:33 p.m. MDT: There’s some guy from I think Desperate Housewives in the broadcast booth as the Ravens use their first timeout with 8:10 left in the second quarter. Can’t say I know who he is. Just off my radar screen, I suppose.
7:37 p.m. MDT: Todd Heap did have Al Wilson beat on the Ravens’ third-and-1 from the 30, but Wilsom caught up to him when the ball sailed in the raindrops, allowing him just enough time to disrupt what would have been a lengthy reception. A play later, the play proved significant when Darrent Williams got the Broncos’ first big punt return of the year, cutting left, sprinting forward, veering right and running unstopped until he’d advanced 33 yards.
7:38 p.m. MDT: The statistics are starting to come around for the Broncos, and right now, Tatum Bell has the best numbers of all for the blue-on-blue: seven carries for 52 yards.
7:42 p.m. MDT: Denver has its first points of the night on Jason Elam’s field goal, but is still looking for its first home touchdown. In spite of a 2-0 turnover deficit, the game is deadlocked.
7:48 p.m. MDT: Two-minute warning of a game that began just 68 minutes ago. Fortunately for the sellout crowd huddled in ponchos, parkas and multiple layers, this game is flying.
7:53 p.m. MDT: Baltimore has converted 56 percent of its third-down conversions — five of nine — to this point in the game after Steve McNair and Derrick Mason connected on a 26-yard pass that saw Nick Ferguson arrive with a hit worthy of his nickname “Train Wreck” — albeit it came just a half-second too late. Baltimore now has first-and-10 at the Denver 11 with 61 seconds left before halftime.
7:59 p.m. MDT: Champ Bailey has had precious few footballs thrown in his direction this year.
He just showed why.
There was something mystical about the interception that capped the first half, allowed the Broncos to repel a potential Ravens scoring drive and escape to intermission with a 3-3 deadlock. Rain and even some snow were starting to mix in the air. Steam belched from the players’ mouths as they breathed heavily in the refrigerated air. McNair looked for Clarence Moore, and Bailey backpedaled, leapt and then snagged his first interception of the year — at a fortuitious time.
The turnover deficit is now minus-1 for the Broncos. Most importantly, the game is tied.
Tags: Baltimore Ravens