Game Recap: New England Patriots Beat Baltimore Ravens

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Dec 22, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) gives a stiff arm to New England Patriots safety Steve Gregory (28) at M

The injuries continued to pile up in the second half as safety Devin McCourty knocked himself silly early tackling tight end Ed Dickson. Fortunately for New England, Gregory was back on the field so there was some depth at the position to fill in for McCourty who appeared to be dazed and confused as he suffered a concussion and was done for the game. Dont’a Hightower was back on the field as well. On that play, the Ravens drove into New England territory for the first time.

 

On third-and-three the Patriots defense finally got it together. Good coverage downfield led to pressure on Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco as Chandler Jones looped around and forced a throwaway.  The Ravens went for it on fourth-and-three at the 39 yard line of New England and rookie cornerback Logan Ryan made an athletic play to knock down the pass.

 

The Patriots offense came out and went three-and-out on three straight incompletions to give the ball right back to Baltimore. Quarterback Tom Brady had a great play-action fake to get the ball to rookie Aaron Dobson deep down the field. The pass was there, but Dobson was unable to get more than one hand on it.

 

On the ensuing drive, Baltimore faced a third-and-two after a nice stop by defensive end Rob Ninkovich on a short pass to running back Bernard Pierce on second down.  It was a big play as the third down pass to tight end Dennis Pitta bounced off his hand and was intercepted for the second time in the game by rookie cornerback Logan Ryan.

 

The Patriots almost took over inside the ten, but review led to Ryan being marked down by contact at the 43 yard line of Baltimore.  On a huge third-and-four, quarterback Tom Brady found Julian Edelman for seven yards and a huge first down moving the ball into field goal range and extending the drive.  On third-and seven from the 27 the Patriots could not convert and forced a long field goal attempt. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski pounded it through from 42 yards away to make it 20-0 New England on top of Baltimore.

 

The Ravens took over and converted a third-and-six as wide receiver Marlon Brown made a nice catch.  WIth just over five minutes to play in the third quarter it was the rookies second catch of the game. On another third down, Flacco finally made a big play on a catch and run to Torrey Smith who was wide open and then got away from Steve Gregory for 42 yards.  In the red zone at last, the Ravens moved down to the four with a third-and-one. The Ravens spread the Patriots out with an empty backfield rather than pound it inside. Now with a fourth-and-one at the four, the Ravens spread out with four wide with Ray Rice behind him. A handoff brought the chains out and the Ravens were inches short and New England took over after another huge defensive stop.

 

Unfortunately, the Patriots could not get a first down as Brady was sacked on third-and-two and forced a punt.  Yet another terrible job by Brady avoiding pressure as he was lightly brushed by Baltimore outside linebacker Terrell Suggs for the sack. Receiver Jacoby Jones returned the punt 22 yards to get Baltimore back in New England territory to start the final drive of the third quarter with great field position at the 38 yard line.

 

After a first down, the Patriots stopped the Ravens short of a first down as a run up the middle and a bad pass by Flacco led to a fourth-and-five from the nineteen yard line.  Despite being down 20-0 and needing to score touchdowns the Ravens attempted a 37-yard field goal. A field goal still meant Baltimore needed three scores to take the lead, and it seemed to be an odd call.  Kicker Justin Tucker missed the kick wide left after not missing in 34 straight attempts.

 

Now, the Patriots brought some attacking offense at Baltimore. A quick out to Edelman netted fifteen yards on a nice catch and move to get free. Rookie Aaron Dobson went deep middle for 21 yards and the Patriots were moving closer to field goal range at the Baltimore 37 yard line.  On a big third-and-seven, the Patriots threw incomplete to Brandon Bolden coming out of the backfield who was in the game for an injured Shane Vereen.  Forced to punt, the Patriots pinned the Ravens at the ten yard line with just over twelve minutes to play and ahead 20-0.

 

The Ravens had to fight for every yard as the Patriots stayed tight on the Ravens receivers. The Ravens converted on multiple first downs picking on the Patriots week spots in the defense as backup safety Tavon WIlson and rookie linebacker Jamie Collins were exploited in coverage.  The Patriots also had cornerback Kyle Arrington banged up forcing injured Alfonzo Dennard on the field in reserve.

 

Two quick plays went Baltimore’s way as a catch out-of-bounds by tight end Dennis Pitta was overruled as complete. Then, a terrible pass interference penalty at the two yard line on safety Steve Gregory basically gave the Ravens a touchdown.  A quarterback sneak made it official and the shutout was over with just over nine minutes to play in the game as the score was now New England 20-7 ahead of Baltimore.

 

The Patriots again went three-and-out immediately.  A third-and-five pass to running back Brandon Bolden gave the ball right back to Baltimore. A bad punt by Ryan Allen took a fortuitous hop but gave the Ravens the ball at their 31 with just under eight minutes to play. Torrey Smith got seventeen with cornerback Aqib Talib giving too much room to get near midfield.

 

A couple of strong stops by the Patriots secondary led to a fourth-and-ten where linebacker Dont’a Hightower forced Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco out of the pocket and rookie linebacker Jamie Collins was able to swat away the high, long pass to tight end Dennis Pitta.

 

Three three-and-outs and four punts in the second half by the Patriots on their first five drives showed why the Ravens were able to make it closer than it should have been. This time the Patriots went big and ran right behind left tackle Logan Mankins with Stevan Ridley and picked up a huge first down on consecutive carries. LeGarrette Blount came in and made a nice eight yard run to make a huge third-and-one from the 28 yard line of Baltimore.  Blount pushed the pile ahead to get the first down and let the clock tick under four minutes to play in the game.

 

After Blount’s first down rush, Stevan Ridley was back in at running back and pushing the left side of the line forward for two yards on first down. Again, in a repeat of the start of the drive, running back Stevan Ridley pushed and carried Baltimore defenders as he powered forward with two hands on the ball to get another crucial first down.

 

Baltimore continued their descent as cornerback Lardarius Webb was called for a personal foul after the game to move the Patriots inside the ten. On the next play it was LeGarrette Blount from seven yards to make it 27-7 with just over two minutes to play and effectively ending the game.

 

Just for good measure, the Patriots defense piled on Baltimore backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor as he lost a shotgun snap that was recovered by Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones for a touchdown. On the ensuing drive, Taylor was intercepted by safety Tavon Wilson and returned it 74 yards for a final touchdown to make it 41-7 and establish the celebration in Baltimore and turn a close game into a laugher at the end.

 

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