Ravens vs Patriots Review
Ravens 31 – Patriots 30
Sunday night’s match-up between the Ravens and Patriots sure didn’t disappoint. It was a battle from the opening kickoff all the way to the final buzzer that left the Ravens sitting stop the AFC North at 2-1 and the Patriots boasting a losing record (1-2) for the first time since 2003.
But before we dig any deeper into this game, my hat goes off to Torrey Smith. Less than 24 hours after receiving a phone call that his brother had passed away from a motorcycle accident, Smith suited up and played an outstanding contest and aided his team to a huge victory. Torrey Smith, you were Sunday’s hero.
Baltimore fell into an early 13-0 hole, but rebounded and played like a team with real Super Bowl aspirations. After the first quarter was in the books the Ravens started to catch fire. The Ravens outscored the Pats 31-17 after that woeful first quarter. Baltimore threw a balanced attack at the Pats most of the game and the 503 yards the Baltimore offense collected showed just that.
Now let’s see if the keys to the game aided in Baltimore’s victory:
Did the Keys Get the Car Rolling?
1) Let Ray Rice be Ray Rice
Baltimore was giving Ray Rice the ball early and often on Sunday night. After only giving Rice 26 combined rushes through the first two games, the Ravens let Rice have 20 rushes last night. Those 20 rushes resulted in 101 yards and a rushing TD. Rice also converted on all 5 passes thrown his way en route to 49 receiving yards. Baltimore didn’t have any problem leaning a little more on Ray Rice Sunday night, and he sure helped fight and claw the Ravens to a one point victory over the reigning AFC Champs.
2) Contain Tom Brady
Ray Lewis and the defense had a tough time containing Tom Brady throughout most of the game, but they did come up with some big stops on defense and contained him when they needed to the most, the fourth quarter. Brady threw for 335 yards but was only able to muster one passing touchdown. Even though Tom Brady continued to move the sticks, the Ravens should give themselves a pat on their backs after only allowing Brady to throw for one touchdown.
3) Keep an Eye on the Gronk
Baltimore did a great job of keeping an eye on and containing the man known as “The Gronk”. The Ravens D held Gronkowski to only 2 catches for 21 yards. This was a big concern I had coming into the week after Baltimore let Brent Celek run wild the previous week, but they kept Gronkowski in check and it certainly helped in aiding to their victory.
1) Start Fast
The Patriots definitely got off to the fast start they wanted, opening up an early 13-0 lead, but the final three quarters proved too much for New England. Even though the Patriots put up 28 points, their defense faltered and gave up 31. It’s always going to be tough to win a game in the NFL when you give up 31 points and the Patriots found that out Sunday against the Ravens.
2) Find Hernandez’s Replacement
New England had no problem in finding someone to make up for Hernandez’s production. They resurrected Wes Welker and he had a huge game. Welker racked up 142 yards on 8 catches but was held out of the end-zone. The Pats did a good job of washing out the loss of Hernandez but it still wasn’t enough to claim victory against the Ravens.
3) Keep Brady on the Field and Flacco on the Sidelines
Tom Brady won the battle of the clock, but it was only by a total of two minutes. Bill Belichick knew this Ravens offense could put up points and that his defense was going to have a hard time stopping them, but he couldn’t keep them off the field long enough to get a win. Flacco was very efficient and outplayed Brady, and the final score reflected that.
Match-Up to Keep an Eye On
Sunday night’s Ravens-Patriots match-up sure didn’t leave us bored and neither did the key match-up the game. Ray Lewis and Tom Brady, two sure fire Hall of Famers, were going back and forth at each other all game and showed why they are some of the best to play the game of football. Ray Lewis consistently got the defense where they needed to be and came up with some huge second half stops that helped the Ravens walk away from Sunday night with a 2-1 record.
Joe Flacco took another step closer in proving that he is one of the game’s elite quarterbacks. He led the Ravens on a late game winning drive and was making plays and moving the sticks all game long. He has to be getting closer to convincing the Ravens of giving him the contract extension that he wants and deserves. This game also displayed a very emotional side-story. Torrey Smith found out his brother had died from a motorcycle accident at 2:00am Sunday morning. The man went to his family and made the trip back to Baltimore to record 2 touchdowns and 127 yards. This is by far the most heartwarming story from the NFL this year. If you have a brother or sister, be sure to tell them that you love them. Torrey Smith, you are the man.
Baltimore has a short week in Week 4 of the NFL season. Cleveland travels to Baltimore to take on the Ravens in just four days on Thursday Night Football. Baltimore is 2-0 this year in prime time games and they look to make that 3-0 this week against divisional rival Cleveland.