I rewatched the game and I've come to the conclusion that my brain has melted. It's gone. I can't function because of this game. Consider me Tom Brady during the opening two drives: off target.
I couldn't sleep, I couldn't relax even after the Patriots broke down the tape and moved on to the AFC Championship Game. This was a game for the ages and my mind just didn't want to let go.
So as a result, here are ten plays that are part of GIF of the Week. For the sake of your computers, I've split these into two separate posts. This is part one and it consists of all of the great plays that made you stand up out of your seat. Part two is made of plays that made you scream at the top of your lungs.
Full Moon of Gronk
You can't really see it in the GIF, but this is the Full Gronky that everyone was talking about.
The Patriots were in a major hole early on in the game, and this is the play that jump started the entire offense. #38 of the Ravens can only shake his head after the tackle since he's realized that he can't man up on Rob Gronkowski. No one can. Tom Brady did an outstanding job of maneuvering in the pocket and delivering his first really perfect throw of the game.
My favorite part isn't that the ref fell. It's that Owen Daniels has no idea what to do. He's searching for help and no one is there to answer. He wants the ref to help him out, but he's not even acknowledging the professional football player waving a ball in his face. He just wants to tie his shoe in peace.
So Owen just looks around and leaves it.
Tavon Wilson Lowers the Boom
Has anyone else noticed that all of the Patriots safeties are getting involved over the course of the game? It's been happening over the past few weeks and I'm really enjoying it. Devin McCourty gets every snap, Pat Chung gets most, except for obvious passing plays, Duron Harmon plays deep safety when McCourty covers in the slot, and then Tavon Wilson has emerged as the dime back. And he's bringing the pain on third down, when the team needs a huge stop.
Folks, I'm appalled by this play. The Patriots need to apologize to the league and the world and the children who were forced to watch such a horrifying display. How dare they try and play by the rules.
Great part of the play? Ravens linebacker #51 Daryl Smith telling everyone after the gain that they need to, you know, cover the tight end.
Greatest part of the play? Shane Vereen is technically still a potential ball carrier, if he drops his depth behind Brady. That would make it a lateral and that would be a-okay according the rules (I'm like 99.9% sure). So while the defense is caught off guard, the Ravens still need to keep an eye on Vereen.
Devin McCourty Breaks the Route
This is the free safety play that McCourty's needed since the Patriots drafted him. Can the Patriots just clone him?
Look at how he diagnoses the route progression, where Joe Flacco was going to place the ball, and how his sheer athleticism allows him to cut into the route and pluck the first interception off of Flacco since Brandon Spikes figured out how in the 2011 playoffs.