Ryan L. Fox
With the season at the halfway point, the window for the playoffs is starting to close for the New England Patriots. Sitting at 3-5 after playing 8 games, the team is looking for any means necessary to keep their postseason hopes alive.
On a rainy and windy Sunday evening at Foxborough, the Patriots welcomed in the Baltimore Ravens, a team that historically has given the Patriots fits in the past. The two teams did battle for 60 minutes in a grueling tempest that drenched everyone at Gillette Stadium. But in the end, one team came out on top to begin their 2nd half of the season with a much needed win while the other was sent reeling into some muddy waters.
After punting on their first possession of the game, the Ravens got the ball back on their own 6. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson orchestrated a drive that was run-heavy with a few short passes with big yard-after-catch gains (3 pass plays that went for a total of 53 yards). They got down to the New England 6 where on 1st and goal from there, WR Willie Snead IV took a small pitch pass from Jackson, outrunning the defense and got the ball on the pylon for the touchdown.
K Justin Tucker booted the PAT through the uprights as the Ravens got the game’s first lead, 7-0, with 14:54 left in the 2nd quarter. That touchdown capped a 13 play, 94 yards that took 8:04 off the clock (7:58 in the 1st quarter and 6 seconds in the 2nd quarter).
The Patriots got the ball back as they. On the first play of the drive, QB Cam Newton found WR Jakobi Meyers over the right side for a 16-yard pass. Ravens FS DeShon Elliot was flagged for a ‘Lowering the Helmet to Initiate Contact’ penalty, tacking on an additional 15 yards to make it 1st and 10 from the Baltimore 41. From there, Newton got the offense down the field, including hitting TE Ryan Izzo for a 20-yard catch-and-run down to the Baltimore 7. From there, Newton found RB Rex Burkhead for the 7-yard touchdown pass. K Nick Folk booted the PAT through the upright to help the Patriots tie the game at 7-7 with 11:46 left in the 2nd quarter.
The Ravens responded that with a 24-yard field goal by Tucker to regain the lead at 10-7 with 5:32 left in the quarter.
With time winding down in the 1st half, the Patriots drove almost the length of the field. They got down to the Baltimore 24 where on 2nd and 6, the Patriots resorted to some trickery. Newton took the snap but then flipped it to Meyers, who then hit Burkhead for a 24-yard touchdown bomb over the right side. Folk ended up pushing the PAT attempt wide left as the Patriots led 13-10 with 1:02 left before halftime.
The Ravens tried to muster up one last drive before the end of the half. But Patriots CB J.C. Jackson intercepted a Jackson pass intended for WR Marquise Brown at the New England 6 with 7 seconds left before halftime. Newton simply kneeled the ball down as both teams went into halftime with the Patriots ready to receive the 2nd half kickoff.
The Patriots opened up the 2nd half with getting the ball and starting at their own 25. Patriots rookie RB Damien Harris got 41 yards on two consecutive carries. After a short pass (plus another unnecessary roughness on the Ravens), the Patriots had 1st and goal from the Baltimore 4. Newton rolled to the right side and into the endzone for the touchdown. Folk booted the PAT through to make it 20-10 with a little under 13:20 left in the 3rd quarter.
After forcing the Ravens to turn the ball over on downs, the Patriots got the ball back on the Baltimore 37. They ended up settling for a 20-yard field goal by Folk to make it 23-10 with 6:24 left in the quarter.
Down by 2 scores, the Ravens had to respond. Jackson drove the offense down the field, including converting a crucial 4th and 1 at the New England 48 to keep the drive alive. The Ravens got the ball down to the New England 18 where in the waning seconds of the 3rd quarter, Jackson found Snead over the middle in the endzone for the touchdown. Tucker booted the PAT through to make it 23-17 with 8 seconds left in the 3rd quarter.
But that was the only chance that the Ravens had.
The Patriots simply grinded the ball on the ground every time they got the ball. Although a majority of their drives resulted in punts, they ate up precious time off the clock. On the flipside, the Patriots defense were able to contain Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense, forcing them to punt each time.
The Ravens had one last gasp for a chance for victory. They got the ball back on their own 17 with 1:05 left in the 4th quarter. However Jackson’s last gasp pass to RB J.K. Dobbins fell incomplete with 2 seconds left in the game.
Newton came in to kneel the ball once in Victory formation as the Patriots came away with a hard-earned 23-17 victory.
With their win over the Ravens, the Patriots have now won 2 games in a row to push their record to a more respectable 4-5. It also helped keep the postseason dream alive as they are mathematically still in the running for a wildcard sport with 7 games left in the season.
Notable Patriots Players Statistical Standouts
QB Cam Newton – 13 for 17 for 119 yards and 1 TD for a QB rating of 114.6, 10 carries for 22 yards (1.9 yards per carry) and 1 TD
RB Damien Harris – 22 carries for 121 yards (5.5 yards per carry)
RB Rex Burkhead – 6 carries for 31 yards (5.2 yards per carry, 4 catches (on 5 targets) for 35 yards and 2 TDs
WR Jakobi Meyers – 1-for-1 for 24 yards and 1 TD, 5 catches (on 7 targets) for 60 yards
DE John Simon – 6 tackles (5 solo, 1 assist), 1.0 sacks, 1 pass defended
DE Chase Winovich – 8 tackles (7 solo, 1 assist)
LB Terez Hall – 10 tackles (8 solo, 2 assists)
CB J.C. Jackson - 1 INT
S Kyler Bugger – 12 tackles (8 solo, 4 assists)
Numbers! Numbers! Numbers!
41 – The number of career games that Patriots QB Cam Newton has both a rushing TD and a passing TD, extending his current NFL record in that category
.818 – The winning percentage of Bill Belichick against the Baltimore Ravens in the regular season during his coaching tenure with the Patriots (9-2)
.857 – The winning percentage of Bill Belichick against the Baltimore Ravens in the regular season at Gillette Stadium during his coaching tenure with the Patriots (6-1)
3 – The number of 100+ rushing yards games Patriots RB Damien Harris has this year
7 – The number of games this season where the Patriots have rushed for 100 or more yards (4-3 during that span)
136 – The total number of net passing yards by the New England Patriots for the game, making it the 7th time this year where the team has had less than 200 net passing yards in a single game (3-4 during that span)
.945 – The winning percentage of the New England Patriots when they have a player who has rushed for 100+ yards since 2000 (52-3)
14 – The number of passing touchdowns the Patriots defense has given up this year (after allowing 13 all of last year)
114.6 – The QB Rating for Patriots QB Cam Newton, the a new season high and the first time he’s broken the 100.0 QB Rating mark since Week 1 at home against the Miami Dolphins
5 – The number of consecutive games Patriots CB J.C. Jackson has had 1 interception, breaking the franchise record (D. McCourty & Haynes, 4).
This was the talk that started to buzz around the Patriots after they went on their 4-game losing streak. It was really surprising to see half the Patriots fan base chat ‘Tank for Trevor’ with those fans believing that the 2020 season was lost.
Prior to their game with the Jets, the Patriots were in fact in line to have a top 10 pick (#10 slot overall at the time). But after their Monday night 30-27 comeback victory against the Jets, the Patriots ended up moving out of the top 10.
Prior to the Sunday night game against the Ravens, the Patriots were sitting at the 13th spot overall at 3-5.
After the team’s victory over the Baltimore Ravens, the Patriots moved up 2 spots to the 15th draft spot. Pretty much the middle of the pack.
Well it looks like the 'Tanking Parade' has been put off for now but it’ll be interesting to keep an eye on where the Patriots will be drafting come 2021.
Fox Fist Bump
I gotta give the Fox Fist Bump to RB Damien Harris. This kid is becoming nails for the Patriots this year.
In last week’s game against the Jets, Harris took a hard hit in the chest in the second half of the game. He ended up getting taken out of the game and pretty much stayed on the injury report with a chest injury. So it was up in the air whether or not the 2nd year back out of Alabama would take the field.
But on a wet, windy, and just a horrible night of weather Harris suited up and just ran.
He ran hard. He ran fast. He ran with purpose and like he was a mission.
Harris ended up finishing the game with 22 carries for 121 yards rushing. More importantly, he held onto a soaking wet and slick football and didn’t allow the Ravens defenders to punch the ball out from his possession.
As I said before, there should be no reason why the Patriots should not ride this kid for the remainder of the 2020 season and going forward.
The Meatball of the Game
The only meatball that should be given is the weather.
It was just ugly. It was wet. It was miserable.
I saw a lot of botched center/quarterback exchanges where the ball slipped out and just squirted like a wet duck on the turf. Players were slipping and sliding, dropping balls that would have normally been caught in a dryer setting.
Like It said, it was ugly, it was wet, it was miserable.
Play of the Game
A Little Patriot Magic
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