COMMENTARY | For the Baltimore Ravens, Thursday night's season-opening 49-27 loss to the Denver Broncos left few positives, as the Ravens' self destruction in the second half exposed several of their weaknesses.
Despite leading 17-14 at halftime, Baltimore's defense ultimately couldn't keep up with Denver's high-octane offense, and Baltimore's offense couldn't match Denver score for score.
Baltimore's loss wasn't completely short of positives, however, as some key players stood out.
Here are the top performers for the Ravens against the Broncos:
The undrafted rookie wide receiver wasn't expected to have a large role against Denver, however Jacoby Jones' knee injury in the second quarter threw Brown into the fire earlier than expected.
Brown was on the field for the majority of the second half, and capitalized on his opportunities, catching four passes for 65 yards and a touchdown.
With Jones out for several games with a sprained MCL, Brown could be the answer as the starter opposite Torrey Smith.
While Baltimore's secondary got flat out embarrassed by Peyton Manning and the Denver offense, cornerback Lardarius Webb was a lone bright spot.
In his first meaningful game since a season-ending ACL injury last October, Webb looked to be in midseason form. He was the only Baltimore cornerback to play consistent for four quarters, and he may be the single player who holds Baltimore's secondary together this season.
The Ravens struggled mightily to get things going offensively and sustain drives in the second half, and one of the reasons for that was the inconsistent play of the offensive line.
With backup right tackle Ricky Wagner filling in for an injured Michael Oher, the Denver pass rush feasted on the opportunity on the right side. Right guard Marshal Yanda provided a rather clean slate, however, and was Baltimore's most consistent offensive lineman.
Fellow guard Kelechi Osemele struggled again on Thursday night, and Yanda's stellar play will need to be present every week for the Baltimore offense to have success.
Kyle Casey is a sports writer living in Baltimore, Md. He contributes to various football sites, and is the co-editor of Baltimore Ravens Draft.
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