Ravens vs. Broncos 2013: Denver proves it's a contender, Baltimore still has major questions on defense

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Peyton Manning tied a league record with seven touchdown passes to lead a second-half route of the defending champs, establishing Denver as the early favorites to claim their own championship this season.

The 2013 NFL season opener was a little late getting started on Thursday night, getting delayed 33 minutes due to lightening. The Baltimore Ravens would have preferred the game be cancelled altogether.

The Ravens were steam-rolled by the Denver Broncos, 49-27, as Peyton Manning delivered a performance for the ages and put the rest of the league on notice. Manning threw for seven touchdowns -- the first player to do so since 1969 -- and torched Baltimore's revamped defense for 462 yards. Receivers Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker each grabbed two touchdowns and went over one hundred yards, proving to fantasy pundits everywhere that there are indeed enough balls to go around in Denver.

Kyle Montgomery at Mile High Report was naturally giddy over the beat down of the defending Super Bowl champs, and sees Manning's historic performance as a sign of things to come.

Denver's domination of the Ravens was absolute, and it was absolutely satisfying. The 49 points surrendered by the Ravens was the most in their franchise's history.

That's the first of many records Peyton Manning is looking to break this season. Despite a Hall of Fame career and pages already written in the record books, at 37 years old, the NFL's greatest quarterback composer is poised to make 2013 his magnum opus.

The blowout heightens what were already pressing concerns over the Baltimore defense, which underwent a radical retooling following the departures of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. But as disheartening as the loss was, Ravens fans can take refuge in the fact that, at least for a half, this was a competitive game. In fact, the Ravens actually led 17-14 at the midpoint.

Baltimore Beat Down (which is aptly named within this context) is keeping their finger off the panic button and reminding themselves that the loss is not the end of all hope.

After such a disheartening loss, one might want to panic. And that's understandable. But it's important to remember the Ravens are still Super Bowl champions. Yes, it's obviously not ideal that the Ravens opened the defense of their title on the losing side of a blowout. Yes, the watching the game felt like the Ravens were even worse than the scoreboard indicated. And yes, that beat down hurt. A lot.

But it's only one game. It's a 16 game season, and this is just one loss. The team will have a lot of time to improve, and they most definitely won't be playing a team as good as the Broncos every week. The season is going to have a lot of ups and downs, and not overreacting to every single win and loss is important.

For more on the Denver Broncos, visit Mile High Report.

For everything Baltimore Ravens, make sure to check out Baltimore Beat Down.

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