Heartbroken… That is the word going around Baltimore. This was the year, in their opinion, that they could go to the Super Bowl and win. The Ravens should have won this game. The Ravens defense held the Patriots to 23 points in this game. This is a very low number for the Patriots. They are one of the best offenses in the NFL, and their defense is one of the worst, by the stats. Before this game, I thought the Patriots had the worst defense in the NFL. I now disagree. They may allow the most yards per game but they don’t allow the most points. That is where the bend but don’t break motto comes in. They let teams drive down the field, but they don’t let them score very many points.
The Patriots defense played one of their best games of the year. They contained Ray Rice, the centerpiece of the Ravens offense, and they made Flacco beat them with other players. The Patriots wanted Flacco to throw to Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin, Lee Evans, Dennis Pitta, and Ed Dickson. Flacco rose to the occasion; Flacco threw to all of these receivers. His receivers did not really help him. On one play, Flacco threw one deep to Torrey Smith and he had to get under it. He did not get under it because of the angle he took. On the final drive, Flacco hit Lee Evans in the end zone and he dropped the pass. This would have sent the Ravens to the Super Bowl. Ed Dickson dropped a perfectly thrown ball that would have continued a Ravens drive. He dropped it and the Ravens had to punt. This pass was low and to the outside where only the receiver could get it. It did hit his hands and body, but he dropped it.
This has been a reoccurring theme for the Ravens all year and it one of the reasons their season is ending. Another reason is because on the Ravens final play of the season, Billy Cundiff missed a 32 yard field goal. This was the end to the Ravens season, and the players, fans, and coaches thought that it was too early.
They had the team to go to the Super Bowl and win. They had the opportunity, Lee Evans catch or Cundiff’s kick (the kick would have tied the game). These were two opportunities that the Ravens had on the final drive and Joe Flacco put them in position to win the game. All of Flacco’s critics should have been silenced. He showed that he could play the position at a high level. He outplayed future Hall of Famer, Tom Brady. Flacco threw for more yards, more touchdowns, less interceptions, and had a better passer rating. They had the same completion percentage. Joe Flacco put the Ravens in the position to win this game but a dropped pass ended the season.
The Ravens defense played great in this game. They allowed 23 points. Tom Brady did not have a passing touchdown. He threw for over 5,000 yards this year and was considered one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. They also forced Brady to throw two interceptions. Lardarius Webb had one of the interceptions when he was matched up one on one with Wes Welker. Jimmy Smith had the other interception on a batted ball by Bernard Pollard on a deep pass and Smith made a very athletic play. The Ravens secondary played a lot better than people expected.
The Ravens defense did a few very bad things in this game. They did not get after Brady; I understand that when Brady does a two or three step drop, it is tough to get to him, but when he took a seven step drop, he still had plenty of time. Terrell Suggs did not have a very good game. The Ravens best pass rusher was Paul Kruger. He had the only sack of the game on Brady and it was on a five step drop. Suggs had opportunities and if he is arguing that he is the DPTY, then he needs to get to the quarterback every game. He is not deserving of the award.
The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl to play the New York Giants. The Giants won their last game, which propelled them to the playoffs. The Patriots faced the Giants in the Super Bowl in 2007. The Patriots were undefeated going into the game, but the Giants knocked them off. The Patriots are a totally different team, but they still have this on their mind. I think the Patriots have a very good chance if they keep Brady clean.