Pass rush essential for Ravens

Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker

BALTIMORE -- If we learned anything from the Ravens' impressive 30-7 thrashing of the previously undefeated Denver Broncos, it's that a pass rush is key for Baltimore's defense.

After six games of inconsistent play, the Ravens looked great on defense Sunday. Thank the ability to get to the passer, which helped every area of the defense.

Baltimore linebacker Jarret Johnson's sack on the first play from scrimmage set the tone. He pummeled Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton from the blindside, which ignited the Ravens and the home crowd at M&T Bank Stadium.

"It was really big," Ravens defensive end Terrell Suggs said. "I don’t think we’ve ever started a game with a sack like that."

Orton, who threw for 152 yards, never looked comfortable. He was sacked twice and hit five more times on passes.

The Ravens have struggled to disrupt quarterbacks this season. In Baltimore’s three losses, the secondary was ripped by Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and the Cincinnati Bengals' Carson Palmer.

This week Baltimore (4-3) will travel to play Palmer again and the first-place Bengals (5-2). For the Ravens, improved pressure would go a long way to keeping Cincinnati's offense at bay.

"The way things are set up right now, as tough as it is to cover on the back end, you’ve got to get the quarterback," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "If you don’t get to the quarterback, it’s going to be impossible to defend the pass."