The sour, disappointed look on Terrell Suggs’ face covered it.
This was not the start the Ravens were hoping for in today’s divisional playoff at Denver. After Baltimore was forced to punt on its first possession, Broncos returner Trindon Holliday found a lane on the right side and ran it back 90 yards for a touchdown.
It was the longest punt return for a touchdown in NFL playoff history.
So less than three minutes into the contest, Denver is already out to a 7-0 lead and quarterback Peyton Manning has yet to take a snap.
Update: The Ravens couldn’t have come up with a much better answer to the Broncos’ big play.
Smith beat Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey on the play, burning right past him. That capped a quick-strike, four-play, 94-yard drive that didn’t seem too promising when Jacoby Jones fumbled and recovered the kickoff immediately prior.
Update II: The Ravens just made it two touchdowns in 42 seconds. A Manning pass was tipped by wideout Eric Decker, intercepted by cornerback Corey Graham and returned 39 yards for a touchdown.
All of a sudden, Baltimore is on top 14-7 after what appeared to be a disastrous start. Now it’s the Broncos playing in front of a stunned home crowd, and for good reason. This is the first time they’ve fallen behind since Week 13.
Update III: Now it was Manning’s turn to atone for his early mistake.
The veteran quarterback led the Broncos on an 11-play, 74-yard drive one possession after his pick-six, capping it with a game-tying 15-yard touchdown pass to former Ravens wideout Brandon Stokely. That makes it 14-14 in the late stages of the first quarter.
Manning abused Baltimore cornerback Cary Williams, repeatedly passing to Williams’ side of the field. Manning went 5-for-7 for 69 yards and a score on the drive.