The New England Patriots fell to the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 37-26 Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
Here’s an initial look back on the home opener as Bill Belichick’s side heads toward October with a 1-2 record and an injury under center.
No. 10 turns downfield to No. 1, exits with leg injury
Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers had never been among the inactives due to injury during his tenure. That changed 90 minutes prior to kickoff for the 2019 undrafted arrival, who was sidelined for consecutive practices by a knee issue before being limited and questionable on Friday.
Quarterback Mac Jones had to turn elsewhere before limping off to the locker room late with a left leg injury. Without No. 16, No. 10 finished 22-of-32 passing for 321 yards with three interceptions against Baltimore and rushed for his first career touchdown.
An incompletion was not registered until 10 minutes before halftime. DeVante Parker played no small part in why. The April trade acquisition had a 31-yard gain over the middle on the first offensive snap and broke free on a play-action pickup of 40 yards on the next possession. Parker later shattered the century mark with a go route for 36 yards, a fade for 25 yards and a diving 24 yards over the shoulder.
Fellow starting wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne combined for 99 receiving yards. The latter helped set up a 50-yard field goal by kicker Nick Folk, who earlier set an NFL record with his 57th conversion in a row from under 50 yards. But the former lost a fumble. Linebacker Josh Bynes as well as cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters each gloved picks for the Ravens down the stretch.
Dugger’s absence in focus against All-Pro Andrews
A knee injury would also see Patriots safety Kyle Dugger go from questionable to out on Sunday. And in the absence of the Lenoir-Rhyne product, who tied for second on the defense in tackles and interceptions last year, the task of covering Ravens tight end Mark Andrews grew taller.
The reigning first-team All-Pro caught eight passes for 89 yards versus New England, including a shovel pass for one touchdown and a jump ball for a second. Both trips to the end zone came before intermission. His primary opposition would be a big-nickel secondary that started Jabrill Peppers, Adrian Phillips and Devin McCourty.
Joshuah Bledsoe made his NFL debut for the safety depth chart, as well, after finishing his rookie season on injured reserve. The 2021 sixth-rounder would be called upon in man coverage on third down against Andrews, who was thrown to 13 times altogether.
Jackson revisits New England with five touchdowns
Lamar Jackson eclipsed 300 yards through the air and 100 yards on the ground the week prior against the Miami Dolphins. The 2019 NFL MVP did so while accounting for four touchdowns. And on Sunday, another AFC East team stood on deck. Five touchdowns did, too.
Baltimore’s quarterback began with a three-and-out and a batted pass by defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale. Yet from there, Jackson went 18-of-29 passing for 218 yards with scoring strikes to Andrews, fellow tight end Josh Oliver and wide receiver Devin Duvernay.
He added 107 rushing yards and a touchdown to make it a 37-26 game.
But in the second quarter, Jonathan Jones peeled off zone coverage to jump a crossing route for a Patriots interception. It was intended for Rashod Bateman. The first Ravens wideout to be targeted on the afternoon later fumbled in the fourth quarter courtesy of the cornerback.
Wise records a hat trick before halftime
Patriots outside linebacker Matthew Judon pushed Jackson out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage to begin the first quarter. It would go in the books as his third sack in as many games. A chance at another slipped by moments later for the 2016 Ravens draft choice out of Grand Valley State.
New England sacked Jackson on four occasions.
The following trio arrived via captain Deatrich Wise Jr. against rookie left tackle Daniel Faalele after an injury to starter Patrick Mekari. That matched his total from last season — before the half — and would be the most in a single game by a Patriot since NFL All-Decade selection Chandler Jones in 2015.
Patriots’ offensive line finds power to counter
A penalty for illegal formation against right tackle Isaiah Wynn pushed the Patriots’ opening drive back on second down. And on third down came a stunting sack by linebacker Patrick Queen against rookie left guard Cole Strange. It sent the punt unit on.
New England had conceded three sacks to Baltimore by game’s end.
But the power and counter runs ensued behind the offensive line’s gap schemes and pulling blocks. Starting running back Damien Harris resurfaced after a quiet first half with an RPO touchdown plunge and finished with 41 yards on 11 carries. Rhamondre Stevenson rushed for 73 yards on 12 tries, including an 18-yard long and his first touchdown of the fall. A heads-up lateral for a two-point conversion was ruled down upon review in the fourth quarter.
Back to return
Nickelback Myles Bryant continued to handle the punts for New England. The third-year pro fell on a muffed return in the first quarter and netted 13 yards on his second opportunity.
As for the kickoff returns, those would be in the hands of Patriots rookie cornerback Marcus Jones on Sunday. The All-American and Paul Hornung Award winner by way of Troy and Houston took his first one back 25 yards after being inactive last week. His next went for 26 yards.
That role was previously taken on by the injured Dugger as well as running backs Pierre Strong Jr. and Ty Montgomery.