Thanks to the NFL Network for showing the replay of last season's Monday Night Football game between the undefeated New England Patriots and my hapless Baltimore Ravens yesterday morning.
No matter how many times I watch that last New England drive for the game winning TD pass from Brady to Gafney, it still sticks in my craw. How many fourth downs did they need to convert and how many stupid chances due to penalties and ill-fated timeouts!? Every time I watch it, and it must have been replayed at least a couple of times, I still expect the Ravens to pull it out and stop the Pats on one of those first downs, but dammit, nope it never comes true. Remember, the game ended on a Kyle Boller Hail Mary that Mark Clayton caught and was tackled on the Pats' two yard line, so a couple of more yards,....uh....no!
The entire nation expected another Monday Night blowout of the Ravens, just like the Steelers did earlier in the season, when the game was out of hand by the end of the first quarter. Instead, the Ravens played perhaps their most inspired game of their history in the loss, leading the game for over 59 minutes. Their defensive gameplan was played out to perfection, as their reputation for ferocious and confusing schemes was cemented once again for a national TV audience.
The network got exactly what they wanted from that game. The Ravens made a great game of it, and the Patriots continued their quest for what would end up being a perfect regular season (and we'll leave it at that, right Giants' fans?).
Even with the loss, watching the first 59 minutes of the game have me juiced for the upcoming training camp and regular season. The major position battles will be great to watch and who knows what could happen if the Ravens stay healthy and the QB battle ends up giving us a much better chance at a post season berth.