Jacoby Jones blurred down the sideline like a superhero with a cape flapping behind him. Alas it was a Broncos cornerback holding on for dear life. Jones' quarterback Joe Flacco had enough time to pose for a banner photo before firing a pass. In the first half the joke was that the Broncos' front four was looking soft.

Soon it was the front 11.

Things were getting so bad for the defense maybe Broncos fans actually (finally!) got mad at Von Miller for getting suspended six games.

But it's a four-quarter game last we checked and Jack Del Rio's defense rediscovered its snarl in the second quarter. A combination of adjustments swagger and the Ravens dropping passes like a team of Eric Deckers and sure enough Denver's defense was making the difference.

"We adjusted well to what they were doing" said Broncos' linebacker Danny Trevathan. "They did some stuff we hadn't seen and you're going to have that in the first game. But we adjusted and executed well."

The story of Thursday night's opener was Peyton Manning carving up the vaunted Ravens defense for seven touchdown passes.

But the stars on defense for Denver were many. First there was Chris Harris the cornerback cape suddenly diving like a soccer goalie to intercept a Flacco pass in the middle of the field landing on the Baltimore 24.

One play later — a 24-yard Julius Thomas touchdown catch tied the game 7-7 in the second quarter.

It was Harris last season according to Pro Football Focus who was third in the NFL by surrendering just 0.83 yards/cover snap in the slot. Thursday night he was starting in place of veteran Champ Bailey out with a left foot injury. And Flacco had completed 210 passes including the playoffs since being intercepted last ... sure enough also by Harris last Dec. 16.

Soon the Broncos started creating cracks in Baltimore's foundation. Robert Ayers is an edge-setter but seldom a sacker and his name has been associated with underachievement because of that. This had to be his season this must be his season. Well he had a second-quarter sack.

And then there was Shaun Phillips who's like one of those aging baseball sluggers signed late in his career as a team tries to squeeze a few more longballs out of him glimpses of the glory days. Well in the third quarter with Denver up 21-17 and Flacco facing third-and-12 Phillips was San Diego's Phillips again slithering past rookie left tackle Rick Wagner who had a great view of a cool play — a gnarly snarling Flacco sack. This set up a punt which Denver's David Bruton blocked.