In a game that truly was a tale of two halves, the Ravens were completely and physically humbled in the first half but rebounded to give a spirited second half account of themselves before losing to the Giants at the Meadowlands.
In fact, the game was very much in the balance until Derrick Mason failed to hold on to a Joe Flacco throw late in the 3rd quarter, resulting in a 50-yard interception return for a touchdown by New York’s Aaron Ross that sealed the Ravens’ fate.
If that play DOESN’T happen, who knows what the final 15 minutes would have looked like.
The first half beating was eerily similar to the one Rocky Balboa took from Clubber Lang in Rocky 3. Rocky got his rear end handed to him in that bout and so did the Ravens in the first half of today’s game. It was ugly, plain and simple. Brandon Jacobs ran over just about everyone in a white jersey during the first 30 minutes and Baltimore’s tackling was minor league. And when Jacobs wasn’t running wild, New York receivers were taking advantage of a soft Ravens’ secondary en route to a 20-3 halftime lead that would have been worse had Eli Manning not thrown a ball right to Ray Lewis with 12 seconds left with the Giants on Baltimore’s 18-yard line.
Aided by a 7-minute drive early in the 3rd quarter, Baltimore got back in the game with a Flacco to Le’Ron McClain TD pass that gave the Ravens hope and sent their defense back on the field with a mission. Five plays later, the Ravens got the ball back on their own 30 and the crowd started to get a bit antsy. The rout was no longer a rout.
But as is the case in most games, one play altered the momentum at a critical time and that play, unfortunately, went against the Ravens. On 2nd and 5 from their own 42, Flacco looked to his left and found Mason for what would have been a first down, but the ball deflected off of Mason and fell into the waiting arms of Ross, who ran uncontested into the end zone for the backbreaking score and a 27-10 lead.
From there, the teams meandered through a meaningless fourth quarter, although the Ravens mysteriously ran the ball throughout the final stanza while trailing by 20 points.
All in all, it was a fairly poor performance from the Ravens, who looked listless against the run and simply couldn’t come all the way back from a first half thrashing that had Giants fans laughing in their seats while the team in blue ran roughshod over the vaunted Baltimore defense.