Sixteen ideas on the Patriots’ 23-17 win over the Ravens …
1. A few of us (ahem) wanted the lesson greater than others, however make no mistake, the lesson has been discovered. Even when the Patriots’ opponent appears to be like superior on paper and within the standings, even when it feels just like the season has taken an irreparable flip for the more serious and the great occasions can be few, writing off Invoice Belichick’s staff in opposition to any opponent is a proper request to appear like a idiot. The Patriots got here into Sunday’s night time’s matchup with a 3-5 document, one win (in opposition to the Jets, who I consider have been informally relegated from the NFL in 1989) of their final 5 video games, and dealing with a frequent nemesis that that final season had despatched the franchise the type of rut they hadn’t endured in 20 years. It seemed as bleak because the wet, windy Foxborough climate, which seemed like an outtake from “The Excellent Storm.”
2. So what occurred? Simply the type of inspiring team-wide feat we’ve seen so many occasions the previous twenty years, however the type factor that appeared out of attain this season. The Patriots went out and performed harder than the Ravens, operating the ball down their gullets with second-year again (and budding sensation) Damien Harris gaining 121 usually ferocious yards on 22 carries. Cam Newton ran for a landing and threw for one more, and the protection brutally belted the Ravens at any and each alternative. I don’t know if the 4-5 Patriots are a playoff staff. I don’t know if what they did is sustainable. However they have been the higher staff Sunday, and now we all know what all these shut early losses couldn’t affirm: they will beat anybody. They may not at all times do it. However they will. They’ll.
3. By the top of the sport, the NBC broadcast seemed like a combo of the foggy Bears-Eagles playoff recreation in ’87 and “Waterworld.” This confirmed one thing else: The Patriots stay a terrific awful climate staff. They didn’t make the basic errors that the Ravens did within the rain. Baltimore had a minimum of three dangerous snaps, and two – one in a wildcat formation to Mark Ingram that killed a drive, and one other later that bought by Lamar Jackson – have been extraordinarily expensive. The sport ended on a dropped move by the Ravens, which was becoming. In the meantime, Newton and the Patriots didn’t commit a turnover.
4. Harris was the No. 1 star of the sport, setting the tone along with his onerous operating in opposition to a Ravens protection that stacked the field and should or might not have had Ray Lewis on the market in Patrick Queen’s jersey. However there have been loads of unsung heroes that need to be sung. Lots of Harris’s greatest runs appeared to come back behind Isaiah Wynn and Joe Thuney on the left aspect, however all the line set the tone in opposition to a Ravens protection that entered with the league’s No. 1 ranked run protection. Meyers, whom we must always consider in now, had an enormous third-and-Three conversion late and threw a landing move. And Rex Burkhead simply chugs alongside as a gradual contributor, with 66 whole yards and a pair of receiving touchdowns.
5. Defensively, Chase Winovich was out of the doghouse and everywhere in the discipline, with seven tackles and a number of other pressures on Jackson. J.C. Jackson locked down A.J. Brown – there’s a “Say Goodbye To Hollywood” joke right here someplace – and picked off a move for the fifth straight recreation. Rookie Kyle Dugger had 12 tackles and by my accounting pressured a turnover that wasn’t known as (extra on that in a second). And don’t overlook punter Jake Bailey, who punted twice within the ultimate Eight minutes: a 52-yarder to the Ravens 20, and a 40-yarder to their 17 with 65 seconds left.
6. I’m undecided I’ve seen the Patriots offense put collectively a extra spectacular drive than its first of the second half Sunday. The Patriots went 75 yards on 4 performs, on this order: Harris, behind left guard for 16 yards; Harris up the center for 25 yards; Newton to Meyers for 26 yards; Newton behind proper guard and sort out for a 4-yard landing run and a 23-10 lead. Massive performs have been robust to come back by at occasions this season, which is why it was so spectacular to see them blast their approach down the sector.
7. Jackson led the Ravens on a formidable 11-play, 75-yard landing drive to chop the Patriots result in 23-17 within the ultimate minutes of the third quarter … or, I ought to say, it was spectacular in the event you thought it ought to have been allowed to proceed after the seventh play of the drive. That was when, on third-and-9, Jackson discovered Mark Andrews for an 8-yard achieve that upon additional evaluate seemed like Dugger ripped the soccer unfastened. Andrews was dominated down, and NBC officers knowledgeable Gene Steratore agreed with the choice, as former officers are wont to do when one thing isn’t painfully apparent, but it surely certain seemed to those historic eyes just like the ball was hanging off of Andrews’s arm when Dugger took it.
8. I’ve been questioning when Josh McDaniels would possibly take web page out of the Trickeration Handbook and have former school quarterback Meyers unleash a move on an unsuspecting protection. However then, I puzzled when the Patriots’ offensive coordinator was going to let Mohamed Sanu – who has thrown 4 landing passes on eight profession makes an attempt – an opportunity to throw final yr and it by no means occurred, so I can’t say I anticipated Meyers to get his probability Sunday night time.
9. However he did, and did he ever benefit from it, lofting a wonderfully positioned contact move to Rex Burkhead in the long run zone for a 24-yard landing and a 13-10 lead with simply over a minute left within the second quarter. Meyers is the Patriots’ No. 1 receiver proper now, however so far as I’m involved, the throw ought to vault Meyers to No. 2 on the quarterback depth chart.
10. The Jakobi Meyers, School Quarterback stuff did get to be just a little a lot on the NBC broadcast, although I give them credit score for his or her standard glorious preparation in having highschool footage of him throwing the ball on the prepared. After Meyers bought the right spot to catch a Newton dart and convert and vital third down within the fourth quarter, Collinsworth cited that savvy broad receiver play as one thing stemming from his QB days. He was awfully near speaking about Meyers like he was some mixture of Doug Flutie, Cam Newton and Roger Staubach in school.
11. For these of us yelping the previous couple of weeks that hard-running Harris wants extra touches, the Patriots’ first sequence was a welcome appeasement. Harris carried on the primary 5 performs from scrimmage, choosing up 21 yards, because the Patriots charged into Ravens territory with runs on seven of their first eight performs.
12. Harris went over 100 yards early within the third quarter, and now has three 100-yard speeding video games this season. I’m not as anti-Sony Michel as most – these six TDs he scored within the 2018 postseason do depend – however with Harris operating like this and Burkhead doing his factor, it’s onerous to see what his position is when he returns.
13. That first drive really sputtered out when the Patriots bought away from the run. After Newton transformed a fourth-and-1 with a blast into the road, he threw an incompletion on first down, discovered Burkhead for Four yards on second, after which took a expensive sack on third down when Matt Judon blew previous proper tackled Michael Onwenu, taking the Patriots out of discipline objective vary. These type of errors – together with Nick Folks’s missed further level on the second landing – didn’t hang-out on this night time, although. The Patriots wouldn’t allow them to.
14. It took a sequence for Jackson and the Ravens’ offense to activate. However the Ravens got here out full-throttle on their second sequence, breaking off performs of 21, 19 and 13 yards on a 13-play, 94-yard drive that ended with Willie Snead taking a ahead toss from Jackson, prepared himself invisible simply as Jonathan Jones was about to hit him, and scoring from 6 yards out for a 7-0. Regarded prefer it is perhaps an extended night time for the Patriots at that time, however the Ravens couldn’t discover that gear usually within the rain.
15. The Patriots scored a primary quarter landing for the second straight week, and in spectacular trend, with Newton main the Patriots on a 7-play, 75-yard drive on their second possession that culminated with a 4-yard catch-and-run by Burkhead to tie it at 7. Burkhead was freed up by a imply choose behind the road scrimmage set by N’Keal Harry, who is seemingly now the Kendrick Perkins of the Patriots’ offense.
16. I respect the try at shade, however it’s at all times considerably bizarre to me when a staff lets a marginal participant be the coin-toss captain in opposition to the staff he used to play for. The Ravens did this with Jordan Richards, a 2015 second-round choose of the Patriots whose prime contribution in 41 video games over three seasons was reminding us that Invoice Belichick has a awful monitor document of choosing defensive backs within the second spherical. Was Richards presupposed to be vengeful or one thing? Perhaps he simply wished to say hello to Patriots captain Matthew Slater?