An 8:20 p.m. ET visit to M&T Bank Stadium separated the New England Patriots from the bye week.
A chance to begin 9-0 for the third time in franchise history under head coach Bill Belichick did, too.
But quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens were there to meet New England as the clocks turned back. And the Patriots couldn’t turn back the clock on a deficit that once stood as large as 17 points and later returned to 17 points, falling 37-20 on Sunday night.
Here’s a touchdown’s worth of observations from it.
By ground and by air, Jackson’s Ravens start fast
Baltimore’s dual-threat quarterback had rushed for 576 yards entering Sunday. Jackson broke the century mark on three occasions over that span. And he did so at a rate of nearly seven yards per carry with a trio of ground touchdowns.
“I’ve never seen a player like this at the quarterback position,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty said midweek.
New England’s defense did see Jackson. Both the running and the passing. Jackson was frequently met by zones, spies and a single-high McCourty. But Baltimore’s pistol formation and play-fake option concepts worked fast. The Patriots saw the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner out of Louisville zig and zag for 63 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 14 attempts. Jackson went 17-of-23 passing for an additional 163 yards, while the backfield alongside him powered for a combined 150 yards and another TD.
New England’s offense sidelined early, stifled late
Tom Brady threw three passes through Sunday night’s first quarter. During which, New England held possession for two minutes while the quarterback was sacked once and hit twice on Baltimore’s overload blitzes.
The Patriots ran seven plays over the opening frame. Four yards were gained. The Ravens, in contrast, ran 22 plays over those 15 minutes. There’d be 11 first downs through that stretch for Baltimore, including a pair of neutral-zone infractions called on opposing defensive linemen Shilique Calhoun and Adam Butler that kept drives alive for points.
The 10-0 deficit stood as the largest of the campaign for New England. It’d grow larger on a scamper by Ravens running back Gus Edwards in the second quarter. And it’d work back that direction as the third quarter got underway, when Ravens linebacker Patrick Onwuasor jarred the football out wideout Julian Edelman’s hands. A 70-yard touchdown by cornerback Marlon Humphrey would be the byproduct. Brady would be intercepted by perennial All-Pro safety Earl Thomas on a deep heave midway through the final push.
Patriots begin third phase at kicker
The ninth game of the season would bring the third kicker for New England.
Nick Folk signed following Mike Nugent’s release to begin the week, and went 2-of-2 on field goals and 2-of-2 on extra points versus Baltimore.
Folk converted a 22-yarder to go with a 19-yarder after not appearing in an NFL game since facing the Patriots as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer in October 2017. A career 80.3 percent on his attempts, the 34-year-old was most recently a member of the Alliance of American Football’s Arizona Hotshots.
Punt changes hands from an ex-Patriot to an ex-Raven
Patriots gunner Justin Bethel tackled Ravens returner Cyrus Jones on the game’s initial punt.
And Bethel, who’d been released by the Ravens two weeks prior in a move attributed to the compensatory formula, would proceed to recover a muffed punt by Jones in the second quarter.
The turnover by the 2016 Patriots second-round pick out of Alabama allowed his former team to take the ball 20 yards from the end zone. Jones entered averaging 10.6 yards per return for the Ravens this season.
Mohamed Sanu investment bringing returns for New England
New England got on the board courtesy of Baltimore’s muffed punt. Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu was turned to for it.
Brady hit the recent trade acquisition on a pick play, with Sanu breaking into the flat with the help of 38-year-old tight end Ben Watson’s disruption of traffic.
Sanu’s first touchdown in a Patriots uniform came on third-and-goal. It wouldn’t be the last third-down play he’d make. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound target concluded the contest with a total of 10 receptions for 81 yards while doubling as the team’s primary punt returner. New England sent a 2020 second-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for Sanu. The deal has brought applicable use.
Patriots rookie N’Keal Harry will wait to get the green light
The Patriots activated Harry to the 53-man roster on Saturday afternoon, but the rookie wideout went to the inactives list before kickoff against Baltimore. New England had until this coming Tuesday to green-light Harry from his 21-day designation window.
The debut of the war room’s top draft choice will have to wait until after the bye. That makes the Philadelphia Eagles the next potential matchup circled for Harry. The 21-year-old Arizona State product had two catches for 36 yards in his lone preseason appearance, and finds himself reacclimating on a depth chart that includes Sanu, Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski as well as a captain on special teams in Matthew Slater.
Joining Harry in the scratches Sunday was Olszewski, New England’s primary punt returner as an undrafted rookie this fall, who checked in as questionable with hamstring and ankle injuries.
Pats Pulpit Live: Week 9 at the Baltimore Ravens
Welcome to another edition of Pats Pulpit Live! The Patriots lost on the road in Baltimore to fall to 8-1 on the season. Host Brian Phillips has the instant reaction as the Patriots head into the bye.Posted by Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News on Sunday, November 3, 2019