We had the opportunity to watch the Baltimore Ravens end New England’s undefeated start to the 2019 – 2020 NFL Championship and were able to reach a few conclusions.
1. Denver Broncos general manager John Elway once again had the sheep’s clothing pulled over his eyes, as he did Baltimore the favour of taking veteran quarterback Joe Flacco off the Ravens’ hands.
2. New England are not invincible.
The arrival of Lamar Jackson and his elevation to starter made Flacco expendable and as a former quarterback, Elway is a sucker for quarterbacks that remind him of himself.
His tactic of bringing in a discarded veteran paid a dividend when he persuaded Peyton Manning to join the Broncos in 2012 that eventually produced a Super Bowl championship in 2015.
By the time Manning finished, he was in obvious pain and he could be seen cringing on every pass as Denver’s porous offensive line did everything short of helping opposition pass rushers sack Manning.
Flacco was Elway’s second attempt and ahead of the season, the move seemed sound. At the halfway point, however, Flacco seemed a mere shadow of his former self. A neck injury forced him off, initially for 5 – 6 weeks, eventually finding him on season-ending injured reserve and it is conceivable that Flacco has played his last down in the NFL.
As for conclusion two, Baltimore freed of the Flacco anchor around their Raven necks, showed what a young quarterback with goo health can do, as he had his way with the No. 1 ranked defense in the league.
New England have been holding opponents to an average of eight points per game. Baltimore moved the ball almost at will and put up 37 points to the Patriots’ 20, holding the lead for the entire game.
The San Francisco 49ers are the last remaining unbeaten team, but their NFC Conference is loaded with strong teams, including the Seattle Seahawks of the same NFC Western Division (7 – 2), the Green Bay Packers (7 – 2) and the New Orleans Saints (7 – 1).