DENVER – Peyton Manning's record performance as the Denver Broncos scored more points than the Baltimore Ravens have ever given up didn't deter Terrell Suggs from making a bold prediction after Thursday night's 49-27 blowout loss.
"The great thing is it's Week 1," Suggs, the Ravens' 11th-year linebacker, told USA TODAY Sports. "It's one game. But I guarantee they will see us again."
That would be in the playoffs, where the Ravens upset the Broncos in January here at Sports Authority Field at Mile High – avenging another lopsided loss weeks earlier in Baltimore that didn't suggest a group primed to win a Super Bowl.
"We've got some things we've got to fix, tighten up, obviously," Suggs said. "But will we go in the tank? Is the whole season down the drain? No. It's one game. It's one game. All this game tells us – we're not going to go 16-0. And I think the whole world knew that going in."
The Ravens defense that gave up seven touchdown passes to Manning on Thursday – tying an NFL record that hadn't been matched in 44 years – didn't look much like the group that did its part during last season's championship run, though.
The offense and special teams weren't much better as a 17-14 halftime lead turned into a 25-point deficit.
Quarterback Joe Flacco threw two interceptions. Tight end Dallas Clark dropped a sure touchdown. The secondary tackled terribly. Coverage was blown on at least two of Manning's touchdown throws. A punt got blocked to set up another quick score.
"It was just too easy for them," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "The biggest issue that we had tonight was that we gave up too many easy things."
Toss in Ravens' coaches failure to challenge Wes Welker's third-down catch on the go-ahead drive – replays appeared to show it hit the ground – and this was, in Clark's words, "definitely a team loss."
The most points the long-vaunted Ravens defense had ever given up in a game was 46, in a loss to the New England Patriots in 1996. The Broncos' up-tempo offense topped that when Demaryius Thomas caught a quick hit to the left flat and ran 78 yards for the final score with 4 minutes, 30 seconds to go.
On a hot September night with a game-time temperature of 83 degrees, the Ravens offense went three-and-out on its first three possessions of the second half as the game got away.
"We didn't help our defense getting any rest," Clark said. "They were back on the field before they could even get a drink of water."
The Ravens are fitting together a lot of new pieces, especially on defense, where Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Bernard Pollard, Dannell Ellerbe, Paul Kruger and Cary Williams departed via free agency or retirement.
Matt Birk and Anquan Boldin are gone on offense, starting tight end Dennis Pitta is sidelined by a hip injury, and receiver/return man Jacoby Jones (knee) and right tackle Michael Oher (ankle) were hurt in the first half of this one.
Suggs said none of that is an excuse for what happened on the field – even though he believes the oddsmakers were right to make the Broncos heavy favorites Thursday night.
"Who do y'all think we lined up against?" Suggs said. "This team – what'd they go, 13-3 last year? They've got the exact same team, with another weapon (Welker). Come on now. No panic."
Does that mean the Ravens are equipped to overcome a loss like this, embarrassing as it may have been in the nationally televised opener?
"We're a dangerous playoff team," Suggs said. "It's only Week 1. It played out the way everybody expected it. They won the game. They had the opener.
"You take your hats off to them. But it's a long season."