The third quarter hasn’t been kind to the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
Peyton Manning has thrown three touchdown passes in just over eight minutes of action in the second half as the Denver Broncos have surged to a commanding 35-17 lead over the Ravens.
On the opening drive of the half, Manning led the Broncos on a lightning quick (no pun intended) scoring drive. The Broncos went 80 yards in six plays with Manning connecting with Andre Caldwell for a 28-yard touchdown to put Denver ahead 21-17.
Shaun Phillips sacked Joe Flacco on third down to force a three-and-out for the Ravens and – as they did in January’s playoff match-up with Baltimore – the Broncos special teams unit came up with a big play. David Bruton blocked a punt from Sam Koch that gave Denver possession at the Ravens 10-yard line.
Two plays later, Manning hit Wes Welker for a 5-yard touchdown to give the Broncos a 28-17 lead. Another three-and-out from Baltimore gave the ball back to Manning and another touchdown soon followed. Denver marched 58 yards in nine plays with Manning and Welker hooking up again on a 2-yard touchdown pass to give the Broncos full control of the league’s season opener.