FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots came away with an upset victory Sunday night against the AFC rival Baltimore Ravens. The Patriots came into the primetime matchup as heavy underdogs but thanks to a quality game plan and a little help from Mother Nature they shocked Baltimore 23-17.
On a wet and windy night New England needed to play a perfect game against the 6-3 Ravens. The Patriots’ offense has continued to adapt and has now appeared to have found its rhythm. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels featured the run game early and often. Utilizing two-back sets the Patriots were able to win the battle at the line of scrimmage against a smaller Ravens defense.
New England finished with 173 yards on the ground. Damien Harris continued to win the hearts of Patriots fans with 121 yards on a career-high 22 carries. In his postgame press conference Harris explained how the game plan coming in was to win the physical battle in the run game.
The Patriots surrendered an early 7-0 lead but bounced back with a Cam Newton pass to running back Rex Burkhead for a touchdown to start the second quarter.
After a Ravens field goal, the Patriots took the lead before the half with a 10-play 75-yard touchdown drive. Harris ran the ball six times on the drive for 39 yards. The highlight of the night came on a Newton pass to wideout Jakobi Meyers behind the line of scrimmage; Meyers, who played quarterback in high school lobbed a perfect deep pass to Burkhead for a 24-yard score.
When asked about the play Meyers said he was surprised it was called in such a rainy game, but he was confident in Burkhead making the catch.
“I just put it up there and he [Burkhead] did the rest.”
A missed Nick Folk extra point gave the pats a 13-10 lead with 1:02 to play in the first half. A late second quarter interception of Lamar Jackson by JC Jackson held the New England lead until the end the half.
Bill Belichick’s team exploded out of the gate to open the second half. Newton along with some more help from Harris took the Patriots into the end zone in less than two minutes. Newton rushed for his ninth touchdown on the season to take a 20-10 lead.
A field goal from Folk extended the Patriots lead to 23-10 with 6:24 to play in the third quarter.
Jackson got the Baltimore offense going on the ensuing Ravens possession. The reigning MVP took his team 75 yards and cut New England’s lead to 23-17 with an 18-yard touchdown pass.
Both offenses began to struggle more in the fourth quarter as the weather worsened. While the Patriots were happy to run the ball and chew clock, the Ravens were plagued by bad snaps and dropped passes. The rain had a clear impact on Baltimore’s ability to handle the football.
As time ran down the Patriots offense did what it needed to do and was able to run the clock down to a just over a minute and forced Ravens head coach John Harbaugh to use all three timeouts.
Jackson attempted to string together some plays in the final moments but failed to gain any traction. New England finished off the Ravens by a final of 23-17 on Sunday Night Football.
The Patriots will make a trip to visit the 2-7 Houston Texans for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff on Sunday.
Photo Courtesy of Charles Krupa