The reason that the Baltimore Ravens beat the Denver Broncos in Denver and the New England Patriots in Foxborough, is that they were the better team. Some fans are quick to point out the mistakes both the Broncos and Patriots made that doomed them to failure. For whatever, reason, they want to say those teams lost the game rather than give credit to the Ravens for winning the games.
The Patriots offense was averaging 35 points a game and had gone over the 40-mark last week against the Houston Texans as well as when they blasted them a few weeks before that. So why were they unable to put so few points up on the Ravens, including zilch in the second half?
It was because of the Ravens defense's adjustments and almost perfect execution. The offense did their job by holding the ball for long, time-consuming drives in the third and fourth quarters. However, it was the defense that constantly played their brand of bend-but-don't-break football, allowing New England to move the ball in the middle of the field but gave up no big plays other than one Tom Brady-to-Wes Welker long pass after the outcome of the game was no longer in doubt.
The pure brunt of the physical beating the Ravens brought to Gillette Stadium resulted in a few ill-timed, questionable penalties, but as the game progressed the hits began to to take their toll in both causing turnovers as well as forcing the Pats receivers to hear footsteps and dropping normally catchable balls more than once.
The Ravens play a brand of football that the NFL now frowns upon in their misguided attempt to tone down the level of violence in what is a full-contact sport. Baltimore makes no apologies about the way they play and just will not compromise the hard-hitting reputation that precedes them.
In the short run, that can hurt them, but over the course of the game, it resonates loud and clear with the opposition as they begin to shy away from the contact. Sure Tom Brady and his teammates did not make the plays they should have, but give the Ravens defense credit for getting into their heads earlier in the game and giving them cause for concern that ended up translating into a shut-down defense.