At First Glance: Patriots vs. Ravens


John Eisenberg: It's never advisable to get into a shootout with Tom Brady, but the Ravens did so and lived to tell about it. They trailed the Patriots for most of the game as their defense couldn't stop Brady. But Joe Flacco checkmated Brady in the end, leading a pair of late scoring drives to get the win. On a night when the replacement officials seemingly dropped a flag on every other play, the Ravens defense had a brutal night, especially cornerback Cary Williams, but the unit made a crucial late stop to put the ball in Flacco's hands. The Ravens quarterback made play after play, as did Ray Rice, Torrey Smith and others. The day when the offense outshines the defense has arrived.

Ryan Mink:  The offense went toe-to-toe with Tom Brady and the Patriots and won. After falling in the AFC championship, Joe Flacco slayed Brady this time. This isn't a revenge win, but it sure is sweet. Heck of a game by Torrey Smith after finding out his brother died earlier in the day. And Jacoby Jones continues to be a difference-maker. This could have easily been another heartbreaker, but Baltimore pulled it out to stay above .500 and in first place in the AFC North.

Garrett Downing:What an unbelievable comeback. After falling behind the Patriots 10-0 and struggling to do much of anything, the offense flipped the switch. Quarterback Joe Flacco finished the day with 382 passing yards and three touchdowns, and led the Ravens on a game-winning drive in the final two minutes. Rookie kicker Justin Tucker was once again not rattled by the big stage and he drilled a 27-yard field goal to give the Ravens a 31-30 victory as time expired. This is a game that the fans here in Baltimore will remember for a long time to come. There were points of concern, as the defense struggled to stop Tom Brady and the Patriots offense. But when the Ravens needed a stop at the end of the game, the defense got off the field and Flacco set the team up for a game-winning field goal. The Ravens are now 2-1 and things are looking up heading into a short week.

Sarah Ellison:Wow.*What a rematch of the AFC championship game coming down to the wire. Only this time, the Ravens win it with a Justin Tucker field goal. If you weren't sure about the Ravens' decision to keep Tucker over Billy Cundiff, it is now officially official that it was the right call. It doesn't matter who you were rooting for, everybody (except for maybe Bill Belichick) was happy to see Torrey Smith have a big game tonight after his little brother, Tevin, was killed in a motorcycle accident Sunday morning. There were *touching moments seeing Smith tear up before the game and point to the sky after his first score. This one featured an offensive shootout, where Joe Flacco and Tom Brady traded scores. It's great to see a Baltimore offense keep up that type of production, but it's odd to see the defense give up so much. That said, the unit did come up with stops when they absolutely had to. This was one of those nights where you really felt the absence of Terrell Suggs – Brady just had too much time to find receivers most of the night. Expect more of the same outcries from last week about the replacement refs and play calling. The illegal contact penalty on Lardarius Webb was questionable and negated an interception. And the Ravens will be questioned for going for it on fourth-and-1 from the New England 33 when they could have used a field goal to cut the lead to one score. It all worked out in the end. Ravens come back from a rough first quarter to beat the Pats, who go down 1-2.

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