Manning Torches Baltimore on NFL Opening Night

BY CORY NIDOH
SC Staff Writer

The NFL regular season commenced Thursday, September 5, with a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship between the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos.

Eight months ago, the Ravens came into Denver and shocked the Broncos.

Jacoby Jones hauled in a 70-yard touchdown pass over Rahim Moore with 31 ticks left on the clock to tie the game in regulation.  The Ravens would eventually go on to win.

The Peyton Manning-led offense is loaded, with the addition of wide receiver Wes Welker, and wanted to make a statement to open the year.

Manning proved why he has already punched his ticket to the Hall of Fame, putting on a passing clinic.

He tossed seven touchdowns without throwing an interception, a feat that neither Tom Brady nor Hall of Fame greats, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Steve Young, or Terry Bradshaw accomplished in their storied careers.

Only Y.A. Tittle has had such a performance in league history.  Manning joins Tittle and five other quarterbacks to throw seven scores in a single game.

Manning and his new-look offense did not find the end zone until the second quarter, when Manning connected with tight end Julius Thomas to tie the game 7-7.  After a Ray Rice touchdown run, giving the Ravens a 14-7 advantage, Manning again connected with Thomas to make it 14-14.  The Ravens kicked a field goal to take a 17-14 lead into halftime.

Then it was the Peyton Manning show in the third quarter.  Manning carved up a Ravens defense that is without the likes of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Paul Kruger, and Bernard Pollard.

Manning got the scoring started with a strike to Andre Caldwell making it 21-17. Two minutes later, Manning hit Welker on a quick five yard pitch and catch to give the Broncos a 28-17 lead.

Later in the quarter, Manning found Welker again on a short dump-off pass giving the Broncos a commanding 35-17 advantage. In the fourth quarter, Manning found his favorite target from a year ago, Demaryius Thomas, for a twenty-six yard score, making it 42-17.

After the Ravens scored ten unanswered points, Manning found Thomas again for the final score of the game. Thomas caught a screen pass, turned on the jets, and ran past Raven defenders.

Manning is now third on the career passing yards list, with 59,487 yards, behind only Dan Marino and Brett Favre. He is second only to Favre for the most touchdowns by a quarterback, with 443.

Eighteen’s performance was a sight to see and something that is not often witnessed.  The NFL season is in full swing, with the first week in the rear view mirror, as the season will continue to progress.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the offensive outbursts, the game-winning field goals and touchdowns, the goal-line stops, the pandemonium after a big win, and the gut wrenching feeling after a tough loss.

Email Cory at:
cnidoh@live.esu.edu

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