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The Patriots dropped their second straight game due to a last second field goal. The Ravens won 31-30 when the kick apparently just went over the right upright.
The Patriots struck first, opening up a 13-0 lead in the first quarter. Stephen Gostkowski kicked two field goals, one from 37 yards and one from 49. Undrafted rookie running back Brandon Bolden scored his first rushing touchdown of his career. The Patriots’ offense moved the ball decently but had trouble as they approached the endzone, resulting in the two field goals.
The Ravens refused to go quietly as they scored 14 points in the second quarter, proving their Super Bowl odds should be pretty high. Joe Flacco threw the first Ravens touchdown of the game to Torrey Smith, who played last night despite his brother passing away due to a motorcycle accident earlier in the day.The score stemmed from a questionable pass interference call on Jerod Mayo on a third down play. The flag came in late and the contact was questionable at best, but the penalty was called, the drive continued, and the Ravens cashed in on the opportunity.
Later in the quarter Flacco struck again, this time to tight end Dennis Pitta. Flacco hit Pitta with the pass at about the 10 yard line. Pitta then passed through two Patriot tackle attempts on his way to the endzone. The Ravens took the lead 14-13 with just under two minutes to go before the half.
Tom Brady took over the offense and did what used to be automatic with him. Brady led the team 80 yards in 1:47. The drive was capped off with a seven yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman, who appears to have carved out a niche in the offense this year. That was the last we saw of Edelman as he didn’t return to the game with what was called a hand injury. For the second week in a row the Patriots lost a member of their offense mid game, and had trouble recovering.
The Ravens came out strong in the third quarter as they marched 80 yards down the field and scored on a Ray Rice run, to once again take the lead 21-20.
The two teams continued their back and forth style game, as the Patriots returned the score with a rushing touchdown of their own. Tom Brady once again led the offense to an 80 yard drive, utilizing the no huddle offense which they did frequently in the game. The drive ended when Danny Woodhead ran the ball across the goal line from three yards out. The Patriots once again took the lead 27-21. Stephen Gostkowski added one more field goal to their score to give them the two possession lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Ravens were helped once again by a questionable call by the seemingly unreliable replacement officials. On a 2nd and 14 play from their own 16 yard line, Devin McCourty was called for a defensive holding penalty. After viewing the replay it his almost impossible to pinpoint any semblance of holding. But nonetheless the call was made and it gave the Ravens the momentum they needed to move down the field. The drive was capped off with another Torrey Smith touchdown reception, making the score 30-28.
The Patriots’ offense stalled around the 50 yard line in their attempt to score one last touchdown to ice the game. The Ravens received the ball back with just under two minutes to play. The Ravens offense moved into Patriots territory with ease, and were helped by another pass interference call on Devin McCourty which placed the ball at the seven yard line. The Ravens lined up for the game winning kick and Justin Tucker sent the ball over the right upright. The kick has garnered some debate already if it was good or no good, but the refs called it good, giving the Ravens the one point victory.
- The defense has played well this season. This game is not going to relay that message to the casual fan, but they are playing aggressive and trying to make plays. They were hurt by some questionable calls by the replacement officials, who are a topic of debate league wide. The game could have easily gone the other way as McCourty lost the grip of two would-be interceptions, but the fact is they are getting in position to make plays. The defense is still young and coming together but the early signs are that they are going to improve as the season goes on.
- The one thing to be worried about is the offense. Similar to the Super Bowl and the AFC Championship, Tom Brady had the ball and a chance to put the game away, but they were too conservative and couldn’t ice a victory. Brady did a good job of spreading the ball around to his receivers as Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, and Edelman all saw significant looks. Once Edelman went down it seemed that they never fully got back into the swing of things, which was the same situation as last week when Hernandez went down.
- The running game continues to impress me. Last night Woodhead and Stevan Ridley split time as the feature back both having just over 30 yards of rushing. Bolden received a couple touches, one resulting in a touchdown. The Patriots haven’t had a feature running back since Corey Dillon, and I don’t see them changing that philosophy anytime soon. They will continue to mix and match their running backs, which is alright as long as they are producing.
- Everyone is thinking it: the replacement officials are awful. It has the “you don’t know what you got until it’s gone.” feeling in regards to the real NFL Officials. Sure we all complained about bad calls before, but at least when those refs made the bad calls they were professional bad calls. These division three bad calls are really starting to take their toll on the game. It wasn’t just a problem in the Patriots and Ravens game, it has been a problem in every single game since the season started. Goodell needs to do whatever is necessary to end this official lockout because they game needs those refs back. Someone is going to get seriously injured due to the players trying to get away with chippy play because these officials don’t know what to look for and haven’t been calling penalties. In the Raiders/Steelers game, a chop block that went uncalled injured Steelers defensive lineman Ziggy Hood. Not only was Hood injured but if the penalty was called like it should have been, it would have bumped the Raiders out of field goal range. Instead there was no call, the Raiders then kicked the game winning field goal. Wake up Goodell.