Broncos suffer first loss of season after losing Teddy Bridgewater to concussion
The Denver Broncos are undefeated no more, but they may have bigger problems now.
One of the NFL's five undefeated teams entering Sunday fell 23-7 to the Baltimore Ravens, dropping their record to 3-1. Lamar Jackson continued a strong start to the season with a 22-of-37 passing performance for 316 yards and a touchdown, his second career 30-yard passing game.
Adding injury to insult was Broncos starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, one of the bright spots in the NFL to open the season, exiting at halftime with a concussion after taking a hard hit from Ravens rookie Odafe Oweh. No flag was called on the play.
Entering Sunday, Bridgewater looked stellar to open the season with 827 passing yards, a 76.8 completion percentage, 8.7 yards per attempt, four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Rookie cornerback Patrick Surtain II and wide receiver Diontae Spencer were also both ruled out during the game with chest injuries. The Broncos already had two major contributors at wide receiver on injured reserve with Jerry Jeudy (ankle) and KJ Hamler (knee).
Just how real are the Broncos?
Sunday was not a good day for people who believed the Broncos' 3-0 start meant the team was a real playoff contender.
Even when Bridgewater was on the field, the Broncos struggled to move the ball against the Ravens' blitz-heavy defense. When the offense lost its starting quarterback, it ground to a halt. The Broncos finished with 254 yards of total offense, averaging 4.3 yards per play. Broncos fans were heading for the exits midway through the fourth quarter, as the Ravens drove down the field for a Justin Tucker field goal.
Considering the Ravens were by far the Broncos' best-regarded opponent so far this season, that's not a good sign. Sure, the team dominated against the New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets, but so have a lot of teams.
The Broncos did enter the game with a hefty injury report, including two starting offensive lineman and the aforementioned wide receivers, but the Ravens weren't exactly a healthy team either.
The Broncos will get another chance to show they're real with a game against the struggling Pittsburgh Steelers next week, then have tough matchups against the Las Vegas Raiders and Cleveland Browns.