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Patriots-Ravens 30-23 final score: Patriots hold on after major special teams mistakes

The Patriots are now 11-2.

The New England Patriots immediately expanded their 16-3 halftime lead over the Baltimore Ravens with a gorgeous touchdown pass to TE Martellus Bennett and a 23-3 lead.

Then rookie CB Cyrus Jones tried to give the game away to the Ravens.

The Ravens had to punt the ball, but Jones made the worst possible decision when fielding the return. Instead of letting the ball bounce clear of traffic, Jones decided to hover over the football as it was rolling towards the Patriots goal line. The ball bounced into Jones’ foot and the Ravens were able to recover on the 3 yard line and punched it in for a score to make the game 23-10.

Jones was benched on the ensuing kick return, leaving Matthew Slater to return the kick- and he promptly fumbled the ball right back to the Ravens at the 22-yard line. Baltimore quickly converted that into a touchdown and a 23-17 deficit. In 93 seconds, the Ravens scored two touchdowns and made it a one score game.

The Patriots offense stalled and Ravens WR Breshad Perriman for a 47-yard reception over, guess who, Cyrus Jones. Luckily the Patriots defense held on and forced the Ravens to kick a field goal to hold on to a 23-20 lead.

New England needed a major play and they received it on their next play as QB Tom Brady found WR Chris Hogan for an incredible 79-yard touchdown score. The Patriots regained a 30-20 lead with 6:18 left in the game. Hogan finished with 5 receptions, 129 yards, and 1 touchdown.

The Patriots defense needed a big drive against the Ravens and they forced a 4-minute, clock killing drive that resulted in only a field goal. The Ravens were down 30-23 and attempted an onside kick, but the Patriots recovered and handed the keys to RB LeGarrette Blount to run out the clock.

Brady finished the game 25 of 38 for 406 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 ugly interception in the first half for a passer rating of 116.8. Five players on the Patriots recorded 70+ yards, led by Hogan. RB James White (84 yards), RB LeGarrette Blount (79 yards), WR Julian Edelman (73 yards), and TE Martellus Bennett (70 yards) were all major contributors, while rookie WR Malcolm Mitchell chipped in 41 yards and a touchdown.

All things considered, the Patriots defense did an excellent job with the terrible field position granted by the special teams miscues. New England finishes the game in sole possession of 2nd in points allowed per game, behind only the Minnesota Vikings.

The Patriots have moved on to 11-2 and have a solid lead in the AFC. The Broncos are up next.