The Broncos' offensive line had its hands full Thursday night.
While the Ravens' new-look defense didn't have a good start overall, Baltimore's fresh pass rush duo of Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil did. Suggs and Dumervil each got a sack in their first regular-season game together.
"I was just trying to make a play for my team, and I had an opportunity and took it," Dumervil said. "It would have been better if we had won, so we just have to move forward to next week and get better."
With two premier pass rushers, the Broncos had to make a choice of who to focus on.
On Thursday night, they were comfortable with three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Ryan Clady mostly blocking Suggs one-on-one. They often chipped or double-teamed their former teammate Dumervil. That left opportunities for Suggs to create pressure.
Suggs' sack came in the second quarter with the Broncos facing third-and-15. He lined up on the right side of the defensive line with his hand on the ground, and got single blocking from Clady. Dumervil, standing on the left, was chipped by a running back. Suggs used his hands well to keep Clady off him, then shed and cut inside to take Manning down.
Besides his sack, Suggs also logged two quarterback hits and two hurries. He led the Ravens with six tackles as well, showing his prowess in the run game.
Suggs logged just two regular-season sacks last year. With a sack in his first game, he's ahead of his career-high pace from 2011, when he had 14 sacks.
Suggs was in no mood to talk about his individual performance after the game, however.
"It was Week 1," Suggs said. "We'll see you all again next week."
Dumervil got his sack on the first play from scrimmage of the second half. The Ravens came out in a base 4-3 alignment and Dumervil once again was standing upright. Dumervil blew by tight end Julius Thomas, and tackle Orlando Franklin couldn't slide quick enough to help. Dumervil split them and pounded on Manning for his first sack as a Raven.
Dumervil heard boos from the Broncos crowd, and put his hand to his helmet almost to welcome them. Suggs was the first man to join him in celebration as the two slapped each other's helmets.
In addition to his sack, Dumervil also had three quarterback hurries. He's coming off a season in which he notched 11 sacks.
The former Bronco was asked about his return to Denver.
"I really wasn't paying much attention to that," he said. "It felt good to come out as a Raven for the first time though, so we just have to make sure we have a good week of preparation. It was a tough loss, but we just need to get better."
Dumervil wasn't the only new addition up front to have a good game. Defensive end Chris Canty also got a lot of pressure on Manning. He finished with one sack, two quarterback hits and one hurry.