The last time the Patriots and the Ravens met was during the playoffs. The Ravens went up by 14 points twice in the game, and the Patriots still managed to clutch out a win featuring one of the greatest trick plays in franchise history. The Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl that year.
The Ravens didn’t forget about that game one bit.
Monday Night’s premiere matchup was a hard-hitting game that was exciting right until the very last play. The Ravens defense wanted to make a point from the get-go that they haven’t forgotten about such a tough loss as they came out of the gate chippy and aggressive. The Patriots offense again found a way to seem through the defense beautifully as they chipped away and managed to score a touchdown every quarter of the game.
The Ravens really played us well, this game was revealing of a lot of our holes on defense. What I enjoyed most here is that some of our biggest liabilities came back and became big playmakers as well. Take Shea McClellin for example; a linebacker splitting snaps on defense and primarily playing special teams. Shea had a bad accident on a punt return, accidentally batting the ball into the end-zone so the Ravens could start from the 25 yard-line field position. From my seat I groaned and asked why we had him around in the first place, as it always seems like he’s making bone-head plays. Shea came back big the next special teams play, as the Ravens set up to kick a field goal from the exact same drive that started with the batted ball. He managed to leap over the line and block the field goal with his body, eliminating points on the board. Shortly after, linebacker Kyle Van Noy leapt up to swat a ball on defense after missing a few crucial tackles. If players screwed up big time, they found a way to get back some respect.
Pressure was on Brady all game, causing a couple questionable throws and one interception in the end-zone. Still, he threw for 3 touchdowns and posted his 9th 400 yard game in his career. Did I mention the Ravens are statistically considered the best defense in the league? No problem for Tom.
In the past few weeks, other MVP candidates Derek Carr and Matt Ryan had some wash games that arguably eliminate them from contention. Carr choked in one of his first primetime games as he was unable to surpass the 200 yard mark on Thursday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs for the division. Matt Ryan threw a pick 6 and a pick 2-point conversion, both of which got returned by Eric Berry, against the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks back. This means one of two things. One, Brady is most definitely the frontrunner for the MVP spot now as he has yet to play a bag game this season. For two, the Kansas City Chiefs are having a way of eliminating people from the MVP race so it’s probably good we don’t play them during the regular season.
If the Patriots can win next week they clinch a playoff spot. There’s no better play to do that then in Denver against the Broncos.