The Baltimore Ravens went into New England and came away with a 23-30 loss.
Baltimore just couldn’t pull out a win, although it looked like they had no shot earlier on in the game. The Patriots found themselves up earlier on due to the Ravens ineptitude on offense and blundering mistakes by former Ravens return man, Devin Hester. When Hester was released by Baltimore, Ryan Mink of the Ravens official website, took him to task:
“The Ravens have waived veteran special teams returner Devin Hester Sr. after he made another mistake in Monday night’s 30-23 loss to the New England Patriots,” Mink wrote.
“Hester, 34, has not fielded the ball confidently on many occasions this season, and the latest gaffe led to two points for the Patriots.”
Hester was cut on Monday and for good reason. He allowed a punt to roll all of the way down to the Ravens 1-yard line. The offense followed this blunder up by allowing a safety. Michael Campanaro has been called up to the 53-man roster from the practice squad.
It also didn’t help that the Ravens couldn’t score a touchdown for the first 38 minutes of the game. Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco played very conservatively in the first half. He checked the ball down, although many receivers were wide open. To make matters worse, the offensive line looked porous. The running game was virtually non-existent as well. It was a perfect storm of bad play.
That’s horrendous, however, Baltimore stayed in the game with a couple of special teams debacles of the Patriots. Cyrus Jones, who is a Gilman grad and a native Baltimorean, fumbled on a punt return. Flacco converted this turnover into a touchdown pass.
Then, once the Patriots were supposed to receive the ball on the ensuing kickoff, Matthew Slater fumbled. The Ravens recovered the ball and converted on another touchdown pass. Flacco seemed to start cooking in the second half, but then the Ravens destroyed their chance of winning on one of the worst defensive plays of the season.
Unfortunately, this play was allowed by Ravens safety Eric Weddle, who had an outstanding game. He allowed a 79-yard touchdown to Patriots receiver Chris Hogan with 6:18 left in the game.
“I should be there,” said Weddle after the game. The Ravens were without cornerbacks Jerraud Powers and Jimmy Smith, who were injured during the course of the game. “I told everyone that play-action was coming. I move around so much that it hurt me in that play. It’s just unfortunate that you have a chance to win the game and you give them a play like that. It wasn’t so much them. It was us.”
If the Ravens had stopped this play, they would have only been down by three. They would go on to lose the game 23-30. It was definitely a tough pill to swallow from many Ravens.
“I don’t know what a shot in the mouth feels like, but I can almost guarantee you this can be kind of similar,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “We didn’t come here for no moral victory.”
“We just didn’t play at the level we needed to play out,” tight end Dennis Pitta said. “The game was close, but without those two fumbles and touchdowns there to get us back in it, it wasn’t a good performance.”
Flacco finished the game with a 71.2% completion percentage, a 92.1 passer rating, two touchdowns, one interception and 324 yards. It definitely wasn’t his worst game, but of course Tom Brady had a much better game. Brady had a 65.8% completion percentage, a 116.8 passer rating, three touchdowns, one interception and a mind-boggling 406 yards against a Ravens defense that was tied for number one in scoring defense. They were tied with none other than the Patriots.
The Ravens will take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Baltimore on Sunday at 1:00 PM. The game will be broadcast on FOX.