The 5-2 Baltimore Ravens returned from their bye week to face the undefeated New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football in one of the biggest matchups of the season. The Ravens entered the game with a chance to end the Patriots dreams of going undefeated while also continuing to distance their lead in the AFC North.
Baltimore received the ball to start the game. It was apparent early that the Ravens would be able to move the ball successfully against New England’s vaunted top-ranked defense. The rushing attack was firing on all cylinders to open the game, but the biggest play of the drive came from quarterback Lamar Jackson connecting with wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown for a 26-yard pick up. The drive appeared to stall when running back Gus Edwards failed to convert on 3rd & 2 at the five-yard line, but a neutral zone infraction penalty against the Patriots led to a new set of downs. Jackson took advantage by waltzing into the end zone for the first touchdown of the day.
Baltimore’s defense started the game just as impressive as they forced a three-and-out on New England’s first drive of the game. The Ravens were able to pressure quarterback Tom Brady on the first drive, forcing three incomplete passes in a row.
The Ravens offense extended the lead to 10-0 on their next drive. The drive started with a 14-yard run from running back Mark Ingram, although the highlight of the drive was an 18-yard run by Jackson. Justin Tucker drilled the 39-yard field goal to give Baltimore the early 10-0 lead.
The defense forced another quick punt after giving up only one first down. Inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor made his return immediately felt with a sack on Brady on 3rd & 7. It only took a handful of plays before the Ravens found the end zone again on offense. Following a 53-yard run by Ingram, running back Gus Edwards scored the 12-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 17-0 at the top of the second quarter.
The momentum quickly shifted, however. After forcing another three-and-out, Cyrus Jones fumbled on the punt return for Baltimore. Special teams standout Justin Bethel, recently released by the Ravens, recovered the fumble for the Patriots at New England’s 40-yard line. The Patriots capitalized three plays later as Brady connected with wide receiver Mohamed Sanu for the four-yard score, cutting the lead down to 17-7.
Following a punt from both teams, Baltimore turned the ball over again, this time on a fumble form Ingram to give New England the ball at the 11-yard line. The Patriots once again turned a turnover into points, although it was only in the form of a field goal this time.
The Ravens offense couldn’t get anything going on their next drive, punting after picking up just one first down. New England cut into the lead even more with another field goal before the end of the first half, making the score 17-13 at halftime.
The Patriots received the ball to start the third quarter. After driving down the field, the Baltimore was gifted a turnover this time when Onwuasor stripped the ball from wide receiver Julian Edelman. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey recovered the fumble and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown.
It didn’t take long for New England to cut back into the lead, however, as they marched for n 11-play drive that resulted in a one-yard touchdown run from running back James White, making the score 24-20 with eight minutes left in the third quarter.
The offense found life again for the Ravens on their following drive which lasted 14 plays for 8:09 and ending in a touchdown pass to tight end Nick Boyle, the first of his five-year career. It was a 10-point game after Tucker missed the extra point.
Leading by just 10 points with nearly the entire fourth quarter remaining, Baltimore’s defense made another play. On 3rd & 10, Brady’s pass intended for Sanu was intercepted by safety Earl Thomas and returned to the 48-yard line.
The Ravens offense was able to put the game away from there with another 14-play drive that lasted 9:35 and resulted in another Jackson touchdown run, making it a 17 point game with only three minutes remaining.
The Patriots final drive of the game ended with Brady being sacked on 3rd & 5 by defensive end Jihad Ward. Jackson was able to kneel the ball from there. Jackson finished the night 17/23 for 163 yards and one touchdown through the air while rushing for 61 yards and two touchdowns. Ingram led the team with 115 rushing yards and Brown led all receivers with 48 yards on four targets. The defense finished with two sacks, an interception, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
Baltimore improves to 6-2 now and will face the winless Cincinnati Bengals next week.