Once again, somehow, someway, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots found a way to win a football game, this time on Monday Night Football. They held off a second surge from the Baltimore Ravens to hang on to a 30-23 victory.
Tom Brady started out slowly, but still finished the game with some impressive numbers. Brady completed 25 of 38 passes for 406 yards, 3 touchdowns, and was sacked only once while throwing one interception.
New England take commanding lead
The New England Patriots are always dominate in front of their own fans, and on a frigid night in the Northeast, this was the case once again.
New England’s special teams played a key role in the opening two quarters of the game and they helped get their first points on the night. Devin Hester signaled for a fair catch, but did not actually catch the ball, which allowed the Patriots to pin the Ravens on their own 1 yard line. On the ensuing play, the New England defense stopped Kenneth Dixon in the endzone for a safety.
On the next Ravens offensive possession, it looked like they were about to take the lead as Justin Tucker marched onto the field. Shea McClellin got a good read on the snap, jumped over the center and blocked the kick from the usually reliable Tucker.
LeGarrette Blount had his most productive drive of the night after the blocked field goal. Blount racked up 21 yards on the ground and through the air before capping off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown.
It looked like the Patriots were going to kill of the game late in the half as they put up another touchdown to make it 16-0. Baltimore finally got on the scoreboard with 11 seconds remaining after Tucker made amends for his earlier miss.
Baltimore fight back in second half
Before the Ravens trimmed the Patriots lead, Brady took a commanding lead. Julian Edelman nabbed two passes, each for six yards, before finding Chris Hogan for a 26-yard gain. Then, with 19 yards to go before finding the end zone, Brady heaved a pass to Martellus Bennett who made a sensational catch.
The Ravens got a bit of a break on their next offensive drive, having gone three and out, after Cyrus Jones muffed the punt. Chris Moore picked up the ball and raced down to the three yard line. Two plays later, Joe Flacco found Darren Waller for their first touchdown of the night.
For all the good the Patriots’ special teams did in the first half, they were quite poor in the second. Matthew Slater fumbled the kickoff, giving the Ravens favorable field position once more after they recovered the ball on the 22.
This time, it took four plays for Baltimore to score another touchdown. Dixon found the endzone out of the backfield from eight yards away.
Patriots seal win late
With the Ravens within three points, following a field goal from Tucker, Tom Brady went to work. It took one play for the Patriots to go back up by 10 points. Brady found a wide open Hogan down the middle of the field who rounded off a 79-yard touchdown going untouched into endzone.