The New England Patriots came into their game in Baltimore against the Ravens with one mission already accomplished. Thanks to a gift from the Buffalo Bills, the Patriots clinched the AFC East when the Dolphins laid an egg in the 1:00PM timeslot and were shutout 19-0. With the AFC East wrapped up and the Ravens in position to secure a playoff spot, all signs seemed to point towards a Ravens home win as the pundits had predicted all week.
The Patriots started strong and scored two first quarter touchdowns and added a field goal on the first play of the second quarter to go into the half with a 17-0 lead. With 86 yards rushing in the first half the Patriots controlled the clock and the game early. However, the lead came with a price as the Patriots lost running back Shane Vereen, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, and safety Steve Gregory to injury in the first half. Hightower and Gregory returned, but Vereen did not.
The final score was 41-7, but it was a lot closer than that as the Ravens defense shut down the Patriots offense in the second half. Drive after drive resulted in punts and fortunately the Ravens offense was just anemic enough to stop themselves. The Patriots offense again leaned heavily on their three (four?) headed running back and receiver Julian Edelman. The Patriots offensive line and secondary excelled despite injuries throughout the game and made the plays that allowed New England to pull out the victory on the road in Baltimore.