Patriots KO Ravens with No Moss, No Moss in a 23-20 OT Win
The Baltimore Ravens came into Sunday's afternoon game vs. the New England Patriots knowing that they would be without Randy Moss. Moss in his 13th season has been one of the best wide receivers in NFL history was traded from New England back to the Minnesota Vikings on October 6, 2010.
The Patriots had a bye last week (10/10/10) would be playing its first game since the Moss trade. Coming to town is the Ravens with the 3rd ranked defense in the NFL led by the "Raytorious L52" (new nickname for future Hall-of-Fame player Ray Lewis).
The teams last met last January in a AFC Wildcard playoff game that saw the Ravens hitting New England with a Mike Tyson knockout punch and giving them a devastating 33-14 loss on their own field. The Patriots were looking for revenge and also were hoping to prove that they could win a heavyweight showdown against the Ravens without the services of Moss.
Deion Branch the former Patriot and a member of two New England Super Bowl teams was back with the club. Branch the Super Bowl XXXIX MVP was traded from the Seattle Seahawks was back after 4-years made a huge impact on this game with 9 catches for 98-yards and one touchdown.
Tom Brady was held in check by the Ravens defense for the first three quarters but was able to find a rhythm in the 4th quarter to bring the Pats from a 10 point (20-10) deficit to tie the game at 20 as the game would be decided in overtime. Brady finished the game 27/44 with 292-yards one touchdown and two interceptions.
Branch said after the game, "Tom and I have been away for four years and I don't honestly feel we missed a beat."
Joe Flacco was stellar for the first 3 quarters as he was precise with his throws, but was limited to check down passes for little to no gain and was left in 3rd and long situations that limited the Ravens opportunity to move the ball down the field. Flacco finished with strong numbers 27-35 for 278-yards and two touchdowns. His passer rating was 119.3 compared to Brady's 69.5.
Danny Woodhead was spark for the Ravens adding 115 total yards (63 running, 52 receiving).
Ray Rice wasn't as explosive as he was in the AFC Wildcard game last season running for 88-yards on 28 carries.
The big moment of the game was mid-way in the 4th quarter the Ravens held a 20-17 lead with 3rd and goal near the 50-yard line the team decided to try a quarterback sneak, but was denied by a stingy Patriots defense. Coach John Harbaugh of the Ravens kicked on 4th down instead of risking to-go-for-it, and put New England on its heels.
On the road you want to deliver the KO punch to the home team to let them know that you are here playing to win, not playing not to lose. New England was able to withstand the heavy jabs of the Ravens and delivered the KO punch late in the 15th round to get the win off the foot of Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski.
Gostkowski also made a 65-yard punt in OT from the Patriots 16-yard line in the 4th quarter that put the Ravens at their own 20-yard line instead of around their own 40-yard line.