Peyton Manning is a fantastic Quarterback. Bernard Pollard called him “a freaking computer” this week. When a fan thinks about his offensive prowess they may become overwhelmed. How can we possibly stop this man?
The answer is simple. Ravens players need not press. Ed Reed cannot be caught out of position. Dannell Ellerbe cannot whiff on a tackle while going for the big hit. The Ravens must only play fundamental football, nothing special. Let’s take a look at some plays where the Ravens succeeded in the earlier matchup.
On Third and 11, the Broncos line up in the shotgun with a tight end split out to the left. The Ravens employ only one down lineman, Haloti Ngata.
As Peyton drops back he sees Man Free coverage. He immediately identifies his tailback Knowshon Moreno as open because he believes that the blitzing Ayanbadejo leaves Moreno enough room to catch and run for a first down.
McPhee and Suggs commanded double teams, allowing Ayanbadejo to bring pressure in Manning’s face. Josh Bynes is the linebacker in man coverage on Moreno and he is forced to come across the formation to chase the back down.
This is a tough play for Bynes to make but he takes a great pursuit angle and takes Moreno down 5 yards short of the marker.
On Third and 10, the Broncos line up with Trips right. Manning hard counts and gets the Ravens Inside backers to show their hand.
Peyton recognizes that he has six blockers for the six potential pass rushers. He trusts his protection to give him enough time to exploit the Ravens man coverage.
Peyton initially has time to set and throw. At the top of his drop he is staring down Ed Reed, hoping to freeze him over top of Cary Williams. Reed has a knack for undercutting dig routes over the middle of the field and Manning wants to make sure that Stokley will be open.
Ihedigbo, however, maintains great coverage forcing Manning to shift his focus. As he steps up into the pocket he is met by Pernell McPhee who promptly drops him for a sack.
On Third and 5, Manning sets up in the shotgun with a tight end split to the right.
The Broncos run a play designed to open up either Thomas or Stokley on crossing patterns over the middle. The Ravens play some form of zone but blow the coverage as the slot corner follows Stokley across the field.
Demaryius Thomas appears wide open in the middle of the field for a sure first down. Ed Reed sees this and bolts up field to make a great tackle.
On First Down, the Broncos line up in a Single Back formation and the Ravens use their base 34 alignment.
Albert McClellan blitzes up the A gap.
Manning play fakes to Ronnie Hillman. Hillman is tasked with blocking McClellan. McClellan brushes Hillman off and makes Manning reset.
Manning wanted to take a shot at Decker deep but found Reed lurking deep in the secondary. Peyton ran out of time as McClellan slammed him to the turf.
If the Ravens wrap up and stay relentless in their pass rush than we will be seeing Manning on the ground again this Saturday. Fundamental football will give the Ravens a fighting chance.