Last year, the Patriots lost to the Ravens twice. Once on a Monday night in Baltimore, and again in the AFC Championship game at Gillette that ended the Patriots season. Every time the Patriots play the Ravens they seem to struggle. Not on Sunday. For the first time all season, the Patriots played good football for a full 60 minutes, and blew out Baltimore 41-7.
Before the game started the Patriots clinched the AFC East title for the fifth straight year when the Miami Dolphins lost to the Buffalo Bills, and they put themselves in position for a first-round bye with the win over the Ravens. All the Patriots need to do is win next week in order to get the first round bye.
After going 3 and out on the first drive of the game, the Patriots forced the Ravens to punt, and on the next drive, the Patriots scored a touchdown on a 1 yard run by LaGarrette Blount, that was set up by a Pass Interference call on the Baltimore defense when Tom Brady tried to go deep down the field to Julian Edelman in the end zone.
Ravens Quarterback Joe Flacco threw a pass intercepted by rookie, Logan Ryan on the next drive, and six plays later, Brady found Shane Vereen for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 14-0. That would be all the scoring the Patriots would need to defeat the Ravens, thanks to the great defense that stepped up for the Patriots.
Down 17-0 early in the 3rd quarter, the Ravens attempted a 4th conversion on 4th and 3 from the Patriots 39, but the Patriots Defense denied the Flacco, and on the next Ravens drive, Logan Ryan again came up with another interception to keep the Ravens off the scoreboard. After another Patriots field goal, the Ravens went for another 4th down conversion and again failed to convert.
On 4th down at the Patriots 19 yard line in the 4th quarter, the Ravens finally decided to try to get on the board with a field goal, but Kicker Justin Tucker, who broke the longest field goal record last week, missed an easy field goal, and the Patriots again got the ball back without the Ravens scoring.
Despite the dominance from the Patriots defense, the team still let the Ravens hang around as it was still just a 3 possession game, and after the Patriots were forced to punt, Flacco rushed for a touchdown after a questionable pass interference penalty was called on the Patriots. That made the game just a 13 point game with still over 9 minutes to play.
The Ravens forced the Patriots 3 and out, but the Ravens couldn’t score on the next drive again failing to convert on 4th down. From there the Patriots finally got into the end zone for the first time since the 1st quarter when Blount rushed for a 7 yard touchdown making the score 27-7 with just 2:05 to play.
On the ensuing kickoff, Jacoby Jones ran the ball out of the end zone and was stopped at the 3. However Baltimore challenged that Jones’ foot was out of bounds when he caught the kickoff, and they won the challenge to get the ball at the 20 yard line. With the Ravens wasting everybody’s time by challenging in a game that was already over, karma came and bit them hard.
On the 1st play, the backup Quarterback Tyrod Taylor fumbled the ball and Chandler Jones fell on the ball in the end zone for another Patriots TD. With the Ravens still throwing the ball on the next drive, Tavon Wilson picked off Taylor and returned it to the end zone to make it 41-7.
It was a sweet tasting victory for the Patriots since they always seem to struggle against the Ravens. The blowout was the biggest Ravens loss at home in franchise history, and put the Ravens playoff chances in jeopardy.
Next week the Patriots need to win to guarantee a first round bye. If they don’t win, and Cincinnati defeats the Ravens, the Patriots will have to play in the wild card game the following week.