In a rematch of the last two AFC Championship Games; the Baltimore Ravens were demolished 41-7 at home against the New England Patriots.
With the loss, the Ravens fall to 8-7 on the year. After winning Monday night in Detroit, Baltimore had the opportunity to control their own Playoff fate with wins today, and next week in Cincinnati. Now the Ravens need to win next week, and will additionally need help to advance to the post-season for the 6th consecutive year.
(Discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
What did we see?
1) This was a frustrating game for the Ravens and their fans. Baltimore had come into today, winners of their last 4 games and 5 of 6 overall (the lone loss being in OT at Chicago). There are times during most seasons where you see games which can just be written off as a clunker. You don’t usually see those outings occur in rivalry games, with something on the line. Any loss today was going to hurt. Getting steam-rolled at home was tough to watch. Certainly a game that reminded of the multitude of flaws this team does have.
1a) All-in-all though, the Ravens have to quickly put this game in their rear-view mirror. The only thing they can control this coming week is their effort in Cincinnati. Find a way to win, and see what happens.
2) At half-time, the Ravens were down 17-0. Offensively, Baltimore had been limited to 71 total yards, and was 1 for 5 on 3rd down. The Ravens had 7 penalties for 65 yards. Defensively, the Ravens allowed NE to gain 13 1st downs in the 1st half. NE had the ball for 18+ minutes in the 1st half.
2a) The Ravens offense moved the ball at times in the 2nd half, and inflated their overall numbers. The main take away though, was that the offense was not able to finish. It sounds ridiculous to say in a 34 point loss, but there were opportunities for the Ravens to get back into the game. Baltimore failing to capitalize on those opportunities was deflating.
2b) Baltimore’s defense had a rough 1st Quarter plus, but had a good game overall. Gronkowski in street clothes makes for a different (limited) Patriots offense, but Brady was limited to under 200 yards. NE was just of 4 of 13 on 3rd down. The primary issue of the Ravens defense today was that they could have been better against the run (NE averaged 4.2 yards per carry on 34 attempts).
2c) Flacco was sacked 4 times.
3) 5 minutes into the game, the Patriots finished their 2nd drive with a TD to take a 7-0 lead. After being called for a personal foul on the punt ending NE’s 1st series, Jimmy Smith was called for pass interference on this 2nd NE series. That penalty put NE into position to score.
4) Following NE’s initial score, Flacco was picked off on the following series. New England would make Flacco, and the Ravens pay for that pick; quickly going 53 yards to take a 14-0 lead. The big play on the drive being a 3rd and 4 pick-up by Amendola for 34 yards.
5) The Ravens 3rd offensive series would end with Flacco falling down, unable to set on his knee. Meaning that in the first 3 Ravens series; Flacco missed a pass down the field, was picked, and went to the turf on his own. At that point I wondered if Flacco needed to be removed. I think the rest of the game showed that while the brace might have been an adjustment for Flacco, his knee is in good enough condition to play on.
6) As the 2nd Quarter began, NE went up 17-0 on Gostkowski’s FG.
7) Trailing 17-0, the Ravens defense came up with a good series; getting a 3rd down sack from both Upshaw, and Daryl Smith.
8) At the half, only Pierce had more than 1 reception for the Ravens. No Baltimore WR had a catch in the 1st half. Pierce and Smith finished with 3 grabs a piece, while Brown, Pitta, and Dickson each had 4.
9) Rice had 5 carries for 22 yards in the 1st half. He finished the game with 11 carries for 40 yards, along with 2 receptions for 23 yards.
10) The 1st Ravens series of the 2nd half reached the Patriots 39. On 4th and 3, Flacco and the Ravens were stopped when Flacco’s pass attempt to Jones went incomplete. Replays showed multiple open Ravens WR’s.
11) On the 2nd Baltimore drive of the 2nd half, Flacco was picked off on 3rd and 2 when Pitta could not corral the pass. Gostkowski would hit from 42 yards out to make it 20-0 NE.
12) Baltimore looked to be in position to score their first points of the game late in the 3rd Quarter. Twice on the drive they picked up 3rd down. The big play on drive was a short pass to T. Smith, which Smith took 42 yards down the sideline. On 1st and 10 from the NE 13, the Ravens gained 2 yards. On 2nd down, Dickson gained 7 yards to set up 3rd and 1 from the Patriots 4 yard line. Flacco’s pass to Pitta on 3rd down went out of the end zone. On 4th down, the Ravens took a TO, and Flacco audibled into a run. Rice was not able to gain the yard needed, and the ball went back to NE.
13) A 22 yard PR from Jones, set-up 1st and from the Patriots 38 with 58 seconds left in the 3rd. After reaching the NE 19, that drive would stall. Tucker was brought out on 4th and 5, with 14:24 left in the game, and missed his first FG in 34 attempts. I’m guessing Tucker was surprised to be called on with the Ravens down 20 points.
14) Baltimore did finally score with 9:21 left in the 4th, when Flacco crossed the goal line. The drive started at their 10, and got going with a 15 yard gain to Pitta. That was followed by back-to-back grabs from Brown for 29 combined yards. On 2nd and 2, Flacco and Pitta again combined for 15 yards. Beautiful throw and catch from the duo. Pass interference set-up 1st and Goal.
15) The Ravens defense answered the offense’s score, by getting the ball back to the offense with 8 minutes left (an extremely good tackle from Webb on 3rd down). The Baltimore offense would get close to mid-field, but would eventually turn the ball back over on downs.
17) New England tacked on three garbage time TD’s. The 2nd score coming when a dropped snap was recovered in the Baltimore end zone, the 3rd coming when Tavon Wilson picked off Taylor for a 74 yard return.
18) T. Smith may have hurt his hamstring late.