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The Morning After: Week 5

Posted Oct 11, 2010

Brandon Lloyd had another big game, Justin Bannan played against his old team and an abundance of penalty flags flew in the Broncos' 31-17 loss to the Ravens.


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- In the last minute of both halves at Baltimore, Brandon Lloyd and Kyle Orton provided two almost identical plays of instant offense that beefed up the team's statistics through the air in the 31-17 loss.

With 57 seconds left in the first half, Orton lobbed a 42-yard touchdown pass to Lloyd as he streaked behind the safety's coverage. The clock showed 43 seconds remaining when the duo connected on a 44-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

LLoyd's 86 receiving yards produced from those two plays contributed to a 135-yard day that helped him leapfrog Reggie Wayne as the league leader in receiving yards.

The deep completion in the closing minute came too late to turn the tide of the game, but Lloyd said his second touchdown defined a never-say-die attitude he wanted to send to the team.

"When we can play pitch and catch, we can really make a lot of plays," Lloyd said. "Hopefully, that's motivation to our guys to show them that we can make it happen."

After the game, Orton described what makes Lloyd such an effective deep threat.

"He's a long strider. I think he's deceptively fast," the quarterback said. "Certainly I've got a lot of confidence in him just to throw it up -- he can make plays jumping up for the ball in the air."

In addition to Lloyd, Orton completed passes to six other receivers and threw for more than 300 yards for the fourth straight week. His 1,733 passing yards are the most ever by a Broncos quarterback through five weeks of the season.

Lloyd has accounted for more than a third of those yards, and on Sunday, his two deep completions totaled more than 25 percent of Orton's passing total.

"In the two long plays, we had time to get the ball down the field and he got it done," Orton said.

FIGHTING A HOME DISTRACTION

Nine years of professional football with three different clubs have taken the surprise out of most situations the NFL presents to Justin Bannan.

Bannan started his career with the Bills and spent the past four seasons as a part of the Ravens. Earlier in the week he talked about how returning to Buffalo as a Raven was a difficult process, how he let his mind wander about what used to be a little too much.

Knowledge of your old team's past schemes and tendencies can muddle a player's view of the present.

When the Broncos hit the road for Baltimore last Sunday, Bannan didn't want to repeat that mistake.

"It can be a disadvantage because you end up thinking too much," he said. "You think you know what they're doing, but they're not. I knew my goal was to just come out here and play football and play the man in front of me."

There's more to the situation than Xs and Os. In the week leading up to the game, Bannan talked about friends in Baltimore he would have for the rest of his life. The defensive lineman talked about how he used to sit next to Haloti Ngata in the locker room, and how they became close friends.

In a conference call, Ravens Head Coach Jim Harbaugh spoke for the team when he said, "We love him."

Bannan acknowledged that he had always been treated well in Baltimore, but his largest priority was finding a way to win. When the first whistle blew, Bannan tried his best to ignore his emotions and just play ball.

"I just wanted to approach it as another game," he said. "I didn't want to get wrapped up in all the emotion of it."

He started his fifth consecutive game for the Broncos and finished the day with season-high five tackles, but ultimately watched his new team fall to a familiar foe in front of a tough home crowd.

"When ... you come to this stadium and you're playing in their house, they can jump on you quick," Bannan said. "It's hard to overcome that."

TOO MANY FLAGS

In Tennessee, the Broncos saw how a huge penalty can swing the outcome of a game when Jabar Gaffney drew a pass interference call that put them on the 1-yard line for the go-ahead score.

Last Sunday in Baltimore, the Broncos found themselves on the opposite side of the equation in the second quarter when they committed a pass interference that put the Ravens 1 yard away from the end zone. Ray Rice ran in a touchdown that put his team ahead 14-0.

The pass interference penalty counted for one of 10 yellow flags that would fly against the Broncos on Sunday afternoon.

"You can't beat a team like that," Champ Bailey said. "If you beat yourself like that -- and you've got a good team in front of you -- you're not going to win."

Seven of the team's penalties came in the first half, including holding calls that negated a 33-yard end-around and a 17-yard reception by Eddie Royal and led to punts on both drives.

"If you keep digging yourself into a hole against a good defensive football team with an explosive offense, it's never going to be a good thing," Royal said.

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