Nine games into the regular season, the New England Patriots have tasted defeat for the first time this year: the team went on the road against a Baltimore Ravens squad that played a physical contest and made the plays it had to make. The Patriots were unable to overcome a slow start and some sloppy play on offense and defense, meanwhile, and will now head into their bye week with an 8-1 record.
With that being said, let’s recap the action.
Patriots (8-1) 20 : 37 Ravens (6-2)
New England won the coin toss and Jake Bailey sent the kickoff into the end zone for a touchback. Baltimore’s opening series subsequently started at the 25-yard line, and the team quickly marched down the field behind a balanced attack that saw some strong running and efficient passing — and that ended with Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson scoring on a 3-yard run. To make matters worse, the team originally settled for a field goal but a neutral zone infraction against Shilique Calhoun gave Baltimore a new set of downs. [Patriots 0 : 7 Ravens]
The Patriots’ offense, meanwhile, also started the game slowly as all three of Tom Brady’s attempts fell incomplete and the team had to settle for a punt. Baltimore, on the other hand, continued to find success especially on the ground: playing a physical game up front, the team drove for another score to extend its lead. This time, however, a Lawrence Guy sack on second down followed by an incomplete pass forced the Ravens to settle for a field goal. [Patriots 0 : 10 Ravens]
New England’s offensive inconsistency continued on the next series. While the drive started well by Sony Michel gaining 10 yards, the Patriots went nowhere with their new set of downs: a stuffed run for no gain on second down was followed by a 9-yard sack on third down and Jake Bailey’s second punt of the night.
The second quarter started just like the first one ended, with the Ravens making big plays. The first was a 53-yard run by Mark Ingram II, followed by a 12-yard touchdown run by Gus Edwards. [Patriots 0 : 17 Ravens]
The visitors, meanwhile, replied with another drive that came to an end after just three plays. However, Baltimore made its first mistake of the night on the kick as ex-Patriot Cyrus Jones muffed the punt and ex-Raven Justin Bethel recovered it to give his new team the football at the opponent’s 20-yard line. One play later, the Patriots found themselves in a goal-to-go situation with Tom Brady and Mohamed Sanu ultimately connecting for the team’s first score. [Patriots 7 : 17 Ravens]
With the Patriots getting some momentum back through the turnover and subsequent score, the team’s defense finally started to show some signs of life as well and forced a three-and-out on the very next drive. New England’s offense continued the solid play, but a series of mistakes — including back-to-back penalties against Tom Brady and Marshall Newhouse — forced the club to send Bailey onto the field yet again to punt the football away.
It did not take long for the Patriots to get the football back, though: on the second play of the Ravens’ next possession, Kyle Van Noy forced a fumble that was recovered by Lawrence Guy:
While the Patriots failed to cash in on the takeaway by scoring a touchdown, the team did turn the game into a one-possession contest again thanks to a 22-yard field goal by recently signed Nick Folk. [Patriots 10 : 17 Ravens]
New England’s defense followed up the scoring drive with another strong series that ended with a Baltimore punt after five plays. The offense, meanwhile, quickly drove into scoring range again thanks to consecutive big receptions by Julian Edelman and James White that put the team in a goal-to-go situation yet again. Again, the Patriots failed to reach the end zone but they still cut into their deficit thanks to a 19-yard field goal. [Patriots 13 : 17 Ravens]
The Patriots started the second half in possession of the football, and again displayed some solid rhythm while running a no-huddle attack. With Brady spreading around the football well, the team quickly marched inside Baltimore territory only to suffer its first turnover of the night: Brady threw a quick pass to Edelman, who was fighting for yardage but lost the football in the process of doing so. The Ravens’ Marlon Humphrey scooped it up and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown. [Patriots 13 : 24 Ravens]
Despite the giveaway, the Patriots’ offense continued its good rhythm on the very next possession: marching 75 yards in 11 plays before James White found the end zone from one yard out, the up-tempo approach started to take its toll on the Baltimore defense and allowed New England to get right back into the game. [Patriots 20 : 24 Ravens]
Baltimore, meanwhile, was able to respond with an impressive series of its own: starting at its own 19-yard line, the team marched into the Patriots’ red zone quickly thanks to some good plays by Lamar Jackson and company — including a fourth down conversion. The team ultimately reached the end zone, but Justin Tucker’s extra point attempt sailed wide to the left. [Patriots 20 : 30 Ravens]
New England responded with another good drive, at least initially. However, Brady threw two incomplete passes to set up a 3rd and 10 in which the veteran quarterback tried to go deep to Mohamed Sanu. The duo could not connect, and instead Ravens safety Earl Thomas III came away with the interception. The Ravens turned the pick into another long scoring drive that took 9:35 off the clock and ended with another touchdown. [Patriots 20 : 37 Ravens]
New England failed to add any more points to the scoreboard, and heads into its bye with an 8-1 record — still the best in the AFC, though.