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The Lane Breakdown: Patriots get a reality check during their 37-20 loss against the Ravens

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Related: Instant analysis from Patriots’ 37-20 loss to Ravens

New England Patriots v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

The New England Patriots got a reality check when they were blown out by the Baltimore Ravens 37-20 last night. There’s no easy way to say it: they got punched square in the mouth, and had no answer for the Ravens. Quarterback Lamar Jackson and the rest of the offense carved up the vaunted Patriots defense so much that they will be having nightmares about their performance, instead of the other way around.

The worst part about this beatdown? The Patriots still had a real chance to win the game.

James White trips over Marcus Cannon’s foot late in the first half, and the Patriots have to settle for a field goal instead of getting a touchdown. Then, with the team driving for a potential lead change on the opening series of the second half, Julian Edelman gets stripped and the Ravens recover to go 70 yards in the other direction for a touchdown. The Patriots would score to cut their deficit back to four, but the momentum had shifted big time once Edelman fumbled that ball.

One other play that killed them was the Ravens’ successful fourth down throw to Willie Snead with the score at 24-20 in the late third quarter. I can’t figure out why Bill Belichick refused to throw the challenge flag on that play. It was a clear pick play, and obvious offensive pass interference. I know that Belichick is the only coach in the league who hasn’t challenged PI yet, but that felt winnable, and a stop there, and the Patriots still have a chance.

When the Ravens picked up that fourth down, the game was essentially over. They would obviously end up scoring on the drive and putting the game away, but, had that call been overturned, the Ravens would have had to have punted, and the Patriots, who had been moving the ball at will, would have gotten the ball back down 10 instead of 17. We’ll never know what would have happened, but I think they might have had a great chance to win the game.

There are also a few positives to come out of this game, though. First, I really didn’t want New England to go undefeated. Now that’s off the table, and I feel better. Second, this is a really tough offense to play against. Seeing it live in the regular really helps plan for a potential playoff matchup, which would more than likely be played in Foxboro. Third, the Patriots will benefit from some humble pie. You think it’s going to be tough for you to make it these next two weeks after that game? Imagine how the players are going to feel.

This was a nice little reality check for them, that they are not yet where they need to be. Lastly, the offense actually looked pretty good. I know the offensive line had its struggles, which will hopefully get better when Isaiah Wynn comes back. Mohamed Sanu looked great on Sunday night, and his rapport with Tom Brady was obvious. The team also didn’t have N’Keal Harry either, and he will add some more to this offense once he’s finally on the game day roster.

All in all, this was a hard game to watch. It looked like it was turning into the Kansas City Chiefs game from 2014, and then good old Cyrus Jones muffed a punt. The Patriots showed some resilience, fighting back from a 17-point deficit, but it wasn’t enough. The Ravens were simply the better team on both sides of the ball, and on the sidelines. That won’t happen a second time this season.

Pat is a host of The Patriot Nation Podcast

Interact with him on Twitter @plane_pats