Anytime the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens get together, you know it’s more than likely going to be a one-possession game with one or two plays being the deciding factor. From a Patriots perspective, they turned a lot of heads and got back to the style of play that made them successful early on this year. All in all, it was a big-time win for a team that has now won two games in six days to put itself back in the mix inside the AFC playoff race.
Winner: RB Damien Harris
Harris had his best game as a pro Sunday night carrying the ball for 121 yards on 22 carries, while being arguably the Patriots’ most valuable player on the offensive side of the ball. Since Week 7, Harris has totaled 352 yards, averaging well over five yards per carry and has been the catalyst for this offense that desperately needed a playmaker and someone to consistently pick up first downs on the ground. In a game where weather conditions were going to be a factor in the passing game, Harris put the team on his back and picked up several big plays en route to a big Patriots win.
Winner: CB J.C. Jackson
With the Patriots missing Stephon Gilmore the last three weeks and his future in New England past 2020 in the air, Jackson has shown he’s ready for the nod at the team’s No. 1 cornerback. He picked up his sixth interception of the year and fifth in as many games with the Ravens marching to close out the half looking with points to tie the game. Jackson has certainly improved each year as a pro and has been the Patriots’ most consistent performer on the defensive side of the ball.
Winner: S Kyle Dugger
Going into Sunday night’s game, it was looking like we would see a lot of Dugger given his ability to get downhill and disrupt this Ravens’ run game. Dugger led all players with 12 total tackles and made two big stops on third down that led to Ravens punts late in the game. Given the circumstances for this year with Covid-19 and not having a normal offseason in terms of minicamp and preseason — which are both so important for rookies — Dugger has been exceptional stepping right in from Division II ball. This could be a player we look back on in a few years as a true steal in the second round as the Patriots look for their next hybrid linebacker and someone to fill Patrick Chung’s role.
Loser: LB Terez Hall
Hall has been manning the middle ever since Ja’Whaun Bentley has been out because of a groin injury. On Sunday, however, he struggled and missed several big tackles on top of taking a 15-yard helmet-to-helmet penalty that led to the Ravens’ second score. Linebacker has been a huge issue for the Patriots this season so Hall didn’t have big shoes to fill ever since his first elevation from the practice squad. But even after a strong showing Monday night stepping in for Bentley, he took a step back versus Baltimore and was exposed numerous times throughout the game.
Winner: WR/QB Jakobi Meyers
It had been over a month and a half since the Patriots had found the end zone through the air when Jarrett Stidham hit N’Keal Harry early in the fourth quarter in Kansas City. They finally found the end zone through the air again when Jakobi Meyers threw a beautifully placed ball to Rex Burkhead in the corner of the end zone on a double pass from Cam Newton to give the Patriots the lead right before the half. Meyers also continued his dominance in the receiving game picking up a team-high five catches for 59 yards including a huge third down catch with three minutes to go and New England leading 23-17. At a position where the team desperately needs production, Meyers is continuing to put it on his back with three consecutive impressive games.
Loser: K Nick Folk
I hate getting on kickers, especially given the weather conditions on Sunday night and how good and consistent Folk has been all year long. However, his first missed extra point in almost two months could have been a costly one as he failed to give the Patriots a 14-10 lead and eventually leaving only a six-point difference for Baltimore to overcome. They didn’t, but Folk’s missed extra point could have been a key play.
Winner: RB Rex Burkhead
REx Burkhead was awesome once again for the Patriots, chipping in both on the ground with 31 yards and through the air: he picked up two receiving touchdowns on 35 yards, one being the beautiful diving catch from Jakobi Meyers just before the end of the first half. Burkhead has been a crucial piece for a Patriots offense this season that has struggled at times to pick up chunk plays. He has been consistent and a Swiss army knife of sorts for the Patriots’ at-time inconsistent offense in 2020.