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Posted Oct 10, 2010

The Broncos allowed 233 rushing yards and gained just 39 on the ground themselves in a 31-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The team was plagued by penalties and Head Coach Josh McDaniels said the squad was 'out-toughed.'

BALTIMORE -- The Broncos didn't exactly provide themselves with an easy formula to win a game against the Baltimore Ravens.

"You can't make 10 or 11 penalties, not be able to run the football, give up 200-some yards rushing on defense and put the defense on the field as much as we did today and expect to come out of the game with a victory," Head Coach Josh McDaniels said. "It's a good team -- they create a lot of those problems for you. We certainly didn't overcome enough of them today."

After surrendering the first 17 points of the game and allowing 233 yards on the ground, the Broncos fell to the Ravens, 31-17, at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday. The loss dropped Denver to 2-3 on the season.

Ravens running back Ray Rice topped the 100-yard mark for the first time this season, finishing with 133 yards and two touchdowns as the game's leading rusher. Willis McGahee chipped in with 67 yards and a touchdown, and Joe Flacco got involved with 20 rushing yards and a score, as well.

In all, the Ravens (4-1) finished the contest with 233 yards on the ground, winning the time-of-possession battle by nearly 13 minutes.

"They obviously did a lot better things than we did, played a lot tougher," Champ Bailey said. "We got our butts kicked pretty good today."

On the other side, the Broncos rushed for 39 yards, averaging 3 yards per carry. The run game ranks last in the league, and while Kyle Orton was sacked just once and wasn't forced into any interceptions, the one-dimensional attack left the team in a tough spot.

"They ended up blitzing us quite a bit there when it got into a passing game," said Orton, who finished with 314 passing yards and two touchdowns -- his fourth straight 300-yard game. "They ended up blitzing us, getting into the pocket and wreaking some havoc. The best way to help the pass protection is to run the football. So we've got to figure out a way to get it done."

The lack of a run game put the team in some long-yardage situations throughout the afternoon -- a problem magnified by the club's penalties.

On the day, the Broncos committed 10 penalties for 90 yards.

"You can't beat a college team in third-and-15, third-and-12, third-and-20," Orton said. "It seemed like 80 percent of the time we were in third downs it was those situations. That is frustrating. You just can't do it."

While the final statistics looked one-sided, the Broncos had their chances to jump back into the game.

After the Ravens grabbed a 17-0 lead on the strength of two rushing touchdowns -- one from Flacco -- and a 37-yard field goal from Billy Cundiff, the defense forced two consecutive three-and-outs. Then the Denver offense came alive with less than two minutes remaining in the first half.

Orton completed three-of-four passes to push the offense to the Baltimore 27-yard line, but two consecutive penalties made it first-and-25 at the 42-yard line. In this case, the infractions didn't hurt the Broncos, as the following play was a 42-yard scoring strike from Orton to Brandon Lloyd, who notched his third straight 100-yard receiving day, finishing with 135 yards and two touchdowns.

The touchdown pulled the Broncos to within two scores, and after receiving the ball to start the second half and driving to the Baltimore 37-yard line, the team had a little momentum.

"We talked about really as poorly as we played in the first half, we scored a touchdown there at the end of the half in two-minute, and then got the ball back and moved it a little bit," Orton said. "Then we had a key third down and didn't convert it. They kind of ran away with it from there."

After Rice's second touchdown of the game, which capped off a 14-play drive that began in the third quarter and ended in the fourth, Matt Prater knocked home a 38-yard field goal to pull to within two scores yet again.

"I never had any doubt that we had an opportunity, but every time they got the ball they started to erase the chance we had to make a comeback or win the game," Mario Haggan said.

The Ravens immediately strung together an 11-play, 90-yard drive, closing with a 30-yard touchdown run by McGahee to extend their lead to 31-10. Denver didn't score again until there were 35 seconds remaining in the game.

"There were a lot of moments in there when we could've swung things, but it just didn't work," Bailey said. "Whether the defense was still giving up big runs or the offense wasn't pushing the ball down the field, we just didn't get it done."

With the New York Jets up next at INVESCO Field at Mile High, the team knows it has to move past the loss quickly.

"The NFL is all about overcoming adversity -- right now this is some adversity for us," Jason Hunter said. "We knew we had a long stretch with Tennessee, Baltimore and the Jets coming up. We've definitely just got to come with a better mindset, come ready to work, everybody put it all out there and let's try to go out there and get a win next Sunday."