By Samuel Njoku
The Baltimore Ravens had never beaten the New England Patriots in the regular season heading into the Sunday Night. That all changed as the Ravens would win 31-30 in Baltimore. Justin Tucker would hit the game winning field goal as time expired and the Ravens moved to (2-1) on the season.READ MORE: M&T Bank Stadium Opens As COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Site Thursday
Flacco would have a first quarter to forget as he completed three passes for 10 yards and threw an interception. But afterwards, Flacco played an exceptional game. He would finish the game going 28/39 for 382 yards and three touchdowns. Flacco did a good job hitting his receivers in stride throughout this ballgame. His rapport with Jacoby Jones kept the defense on their heels throughout the game.
The entire league knows that Flacco likes to stare down Dennis Pitta before throwing the football. It cost Baltimore a turnover early on. But after the interception, Flacco did a much better job of spreading the ball to his different weapons. When receivers weren’t getting separation, Flacco did a good job of making something happen with his feet. In a game where Brady played very well, it was apparent at the end of the game that Flacco once again outplayed him. Whether or not Flacco can consistently play at this level remains to be seen.
Cam Cameron called a much better game in this matchup. Even if the Ravens had fell short, there was no way the pundits could pin it on Cam. There was a good mix of run and pass throughout the game. This formula made the play-action pass extremely effective against a Patriots defense that played on their heels most of the game. Ray Rice had another big game as he finished with 101 yards rushing on 20 carries and a score. Rice also had five receptions for 49 yards.
Torrey Smith played a phenomenal game. Hours after learning of the passing of his little brother, Smith abused the third ranked defense with six catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Jacoby Jones and Anquan Boldin did a good job getting separation with the New England corners for most of the night. In the end, there were just too many weapons for the Patriots to cover. In a game where the offense had to score points, that’s exactly what they did.
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The Ravens’ defense played poorly for most of the night. The secondary couldn’t cover anyone on the field. Cary Williams played as bad a game as we’ve seen from him all year. At some point, the Ravens are going to have to move Jimmy to the No. 2 spot at corner. Bernard Pollard continues to surprise the coaching staff with his coverage skills, but there were a couple of communication issues between him and the rest of the defense that cost them precious yards. Ed Reed doesn’t hit people the way that he used to, but he definitely knocked some helmets loose in this one. He may get a fine this week for some questionable hits, but those plays really helped swing the momentum.
The Ravens were having a tough time getting pressure on Brady. Dean Pees was forced to bring pressure from the secondary on a few occasions, but that made it easier for Brady to find the open receiver. The Ravens shouldn’t be too concerned as the Patriots O-line played exceptional. Ridley finished with a mere 37 yards on the ground as the team suffocated the run.
Ravens rookie kicker Justin Tucker made his first game winning field goal. It just barely made it over the right crossbar. There will be plenty of talk about this kick as Belichick looked convinced that he missed it, but looking at the replay, it is obvious that the kick was good. Sam Koch played well as usual. And the punt and kick return units once again prevented any long runs from occurring.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.