Jan 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell (19) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
The New England Patriots emerged from a heavyweight battle against the Baltimore Ravens bloodied and bruised. Starting center Bryan Stork and cornerback Brandon Browner both left the game with knee injuries and the Patriots were forced to test their depth on both sides of the ball. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco led his team to two separate 14-point leads in the game with four touchdown passes and the Ravens played a complete game on both sides of the ball. Despite the Ravens effort, the Patriots held on for a 35-31 win to escape a tough match-up.
Full credit to the Ravens coaching staff and players who deserved more than a plane ride home. The offense played well enough to win and the defense made a number of key stops against the New England defense despite a patchwork secondary. The Ravens led for three plus quarters but somehow the Patriots behind quarterback Tom Brady, wide receiver Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, and tight end Rob Gronkowski scored five touchdowns to come back and win.
Jan 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola (80) carries the ball as Baltimore Ravens cornerback Anthony Levine (41) and Baltimore Ravens defensive back Rashaan Melvin (38) defend in the fourth quarter during the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
The Patriots offense worked the short passing game spreading out the Ravens and abandoning the running game completely. Brady made one key mistake before halftime, but the Patriots shook that off with a few key drives and a few key stops on defense. Not to be overlooked was the Patriots special teams controlling the dangerous return game of the Ravens and keeping the Ravens offense honest and forcing them to drive down the field multiple times.
The Patriots passed for over 400 yards with Edelman hitting a key touchdown pass on a wide receiver screen to Amendola and adding eight receptions for 74 yards. Rob Gronkowski hauled in seven passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. Amendola caught two touchdowns and had five receptions for 81 yards. Brandon LaFell caught the go-ahead touchdown while Michael Hoomanawanui and Shane Vereen both contributed with four catches.
Despite just 14 yards rushing for the Patriots while the Ravens rushed for 146 yards, but the Patriots somehow escaped with the dramatic 35-31 win.
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