The script couldn't have been any more ideal for the Ravens. The Patriots were a perfect 11-0, throttling most of their opponents and being touted by some pundits as the best team ever. The game was on Baltimore's turf, in front of a raucous crowd at M&T Bank Stadium. On Monday night. On ESPN. Despite the difficult season Baltimore was in the middle of, there was high optimism this team could knock off New England and put a blemish on their record.
The Ravens had fallen on hard times leading up to their Week 13 matchup. After finishing 13-3 in 2006 and starting the 2007 campaign 4-2, Baltimore had stumbled to 4-7 and were in the midst of a nine-game losing streak. Quarterback Steve McNair, a Pro Bowler the year before, would miss nine games and was never able to get into the same rhythm under center.
The Patriots boasted one of the most explosive offenses in NFL history, with All-Pro quarterback Tom Brady and offseason acquisition Randy Moss leading the way. Brady would go on to win the NFL's Most Valuable Player Award, while Moss would break an NFL record with 23 receiving touchdowns.
The game was played on a chilly Baltimore night in front of a sellout crowd on December 3rd, and turned out to be a game that would long be remembered by Ravens fans. With the Ravens clinging to a 4-point lead late in the game, the Patriots' final drive was marred by controversial calls and timeouts. Baltimore fell in the end, 27-24, but the intensity and compelling play would not soon be forgotten.
Stat of the game
Brady finished the game 18 of 38 for 257 yards and a quarterback rating of 76.3. The Ravens did a number on Brady throughout the evening, hitting him six times, sacking him three and intercepting him once.
Player of the game
Ravens running back Willis McGahee set the tone for the game and helped execute Baltimore's game plan: keep Tom Brady off the field. McGahee carried the ball 30 times, racking up 138 yards and scoring once. The Ravens won the time-of-possession battle due in large part to McGahee's play.
Play of the game
The play of the game came very late in the ball game. New England faced a 4th-and-5 at the Ravens' 13-yard line with a minute left and trailing 27-24. Brady threw over the middle for his intended receiver, which was batted away for what appeared to be the clinching play. Or so everybody thought. A late flag came flying in and pass interference was called against Baltimore, keeping the drive – and New England's perfect season – alive.
Quote of the Week
Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle after the game talking about what the team showed with their effort: "We're just tired of people talking about our offense and about how Coach [Brian] Billick's not going to be here anymore and how they're going to break the team up. It's stupid. Every year you're not going to go 13-3. We've had injuries and we've had our struggles this year. Tonight we showed everybody that in the future, we're still the Ravens."
What it meant
There are no moral victories in the NFL, and this was no different. The Ravens would only win one more game the rest of the year, finishing 5-11. Brian Billick was relieved of his head coaching duties and replaced by John Harbaugh during the offseason. New England would complete their perfect regular season and reach the Super Bowl before falling to the New York Giants.