Sixteen ideas for the Patriots 23-17 victory over the Ravens …
1. Some of us (important) need the lesson more than others, but make no mistake, the lesson has been learned. Even when the Patriots opponent appears to be ahead of paper and in the standings, even when it seems the season has taken an irreparable turn for the worst and the good times will be few, disqualifying Bill Belischek against any opponent is a formal request to look like a fool. The Patriots entered Sunday night’s match with a record of 3-5, one win (against the Jets, who I think were unofficially relegated from the NFL in 1989) in their last five matches, and face a recurring enemy sent last season by the franchise-type that never They’ve been going through it for 20 years. It looked as bleak as the rainy and windy Foxboro weather, which seemed like a take from the movie The Perfect Storm.
2. so what happened? It’s the kind of inspiring team-level achievement we’ve seen so many times over the past two decades, but the sweet thing that has seemed elusive this season. The Patriots came out and played with more power than the crows, running the ball up their throat as Damian Harris returned for his second year (and budding sensation), with Damian Harris getting 121 yards often getting 22 lambs. Cam Newton ran for the descent and hurled off, and the defense brutally attacked the crows at any opportunity. I don’t know if the 4-5 Patriots are a deciding team. I don’t know if what they did was sustainable. But they were the better team on Sunday, and now we know what all early losses haven’t confirmed: They can beat anyone. They may not always do that. But they can. They can.
3. By the end of the game, the NBC broadcast looked like a mix of the 1987 hazy qualifier game Eagles Bears and “Waterworld”. This confirmed one more thing: The Patriots remain a terrific fluffy team. They didn’t make the fundamental mistakes crows made in the rain. Baltimore had at least three bad shots, and two – one in a wild formation by Mark Ingram that killed an engine, and one that Lamar Jackson later acquired – was extremely costly. The match ended with a pass dropped by the crows, which was apt. Meanwhile, Newton and the Patriots did not adhere to a spin.
4. Harris was the number one star in the game, setting the tone by running hard against the Ravens defense that stacked the box and Ray Lewis might have been in Patrick Quinn’s shirt or not. But there were plenty of unknown heroes to sing. Many of Harris ‘best runs seem to follow Isaiah Wynn and Joe Thuney on the left side, but the entire streak set the tone against Ravens’ defense that entered with the first running defense in the league. Myers, who we have to believe in by now, got a massive diversion of the 3rd and 3rd late and throwing a touchdown pass. The Rex Burkhead only swings as a steady contributor, with a total of 66 yards and a pair of downs.
5. Defensively, Chase Weinovitch was outside the doghouse and across the field, with seven tackles and several pressures on Jackson. JC Jackson shut down AJ Brown – there’s the “Say Goodbye To Hollywood” joke here somewhere – and he got a pass for the fifth game in a row. Rookie Kyle Dugger had 12 treatments, and by my account forced a spin that wasn’t called up (more on that in a second). And don’t forget gambler Jake Bailey, who has shot twice in the last 8 minutes: 52 yards to the Ravens 20, and 40 yards to 17 with 65 seconds remaining.
6. I’m not sure I saw the Patriots’ attack gather more impressive leadership than the first half of Sunday’s second half. The Patriots went 75 yards in four plays, in this order: Harris, behind the left guard for 16 yards; Harris halfway through 25 yards; From Newton to Myers for 26 yards; Newton was behind the right goalkeeper and blocked 4 yards, 23-10. It was tough to get big plays sometimes this season, which is why it was so great to see them make their way on the field.
7. Jackson led the Ravens in 11 games, 75 yards, cutting the Patriots’ lead to 23-17 in the final minutes of the third quarter … or, I must say, it was impressive if you thought it should have allowed to continue after the play. Seventh to drive. That was when Jackson, in third and ninth places, found Mark Andrews for an 8-yard profit that on further review it seemed that Dugger had eliminated football. Andrews was disqualified, and NBC officials expert Jane Stiratore agreed with the decision, as the former officials would not do when nothing was painfully clear, but he sure looked at these old eyes like the ball was hanging from Andrews’ arm when Dugger took it.
8. I was wondering when Josh McDaniels might take a page from the Trickeration Handbook and have former college midfielder Meyers unleash a pass in an unsuspecting defense. But then, I wondered when the Patriots’ attack coordinator would allow Muhammad Sanu – who threw four touchdowns in eight career attempts – a throwing chance last year and it never happened, so I can’t say I expected Meyers to get his chance Sunday night.
9. But he did, and took advantage of it absolutely, raising a perfectly positioned touch pass to Rex Burkhead in the finish zone for a 24-yard drop and a 13-10 advance just over a minute earlier in the second quarter. Myers is the # 1 Patriots receiver right now, but as far as I’m concerned, the Myers shot should jump to # 2 on the center depth chart.
10. Jacoby Meyers, College Quarterback’s things have gotten quite a bit on NBC broadcasts, although I gave them credit for their usual excellent setup of getting high school footage of him throwing the ball at the ready. After Meyers got the perfect spot to capture Newton’s stock and convert and the important third in the fourth quarter, Collinsworth cited this clever gameplay widely as something out of his QB days. He was very close to talking about Myers as if he was a mix of Doug Flotti, Cam Newton, and Roger Staubbach in college.
11. For those of us who have been crying out in the last few weeks that a hard-working Harris needs more touches, the first Patriots series was a welcome appeasement. Harris continued his first five brawl plays, snapping 21 yards, as the Patriots rushed into the Ravens with running seven of the first eight plays.
12. Harris went over 100 yards early in the third quarter, and now has three 100-yard racing games this season. I’m not as anti-Sony Michelle as most – those six he scored in the 2018 postseason don’t count – but with Harris running like this and Burkhead doing what he’s doing, it’s hard to tell his role when he’s back.
13. This first drive actually erupted as the Patriots stepped away from the run. After Newton turned 4th and 1st with a blast in the streak, he threw the initial incompleteness down, finding Burkhead at 4 yards per second, then taking a costly bag in third place when Matt Godon detonated bypassing Michael Unueno right, taking the Patriots off field goal range . That kind of bug – including the extra point Nick Falk missed on the second landing – didn’t chase tonight. The Patriots wouldn’t allow them to.
14. It took a series of Jackson and Raven murders to activate it. But the crows went out full on their second series, cutting 21, 19, and 13-yard plays in 13 plays, 94 yards, ending with Willie Sneed taking a push forward from Jackson, wanting himself totally invisible like Jonathan Jones was about to hit him , And he scored from 6 yards against 7-0. It looked like it might be a long night for the Patriots at that point, but the crows couldn’t find this gear much in the rain.
15. The Patriots scored their first quarter-touchdown for the second week in a row, and in impressive fashion, driving the Newton Patriots in a 7-game, 75-yard possession in the second possession that peaked with 4 yards. Burkhead for tying it at 7. Burkhead was freed by an intermediate pick behind the streak scuffle by N’Keal Harry, who now looks like Kendrick Perkins of the Patriots.
16. I respect trying to hatch, but it’s always a little weird to me when a team allows a fringe player to captain the toss against the team he’s used to playing with. Ravens did it with Jordan Richards, a 2015 second-round pick from the Patriots whose main contribution was 41 matches over three seasons that reminds us that Bill Belischik has a solid track record of picking off defensive appearances in the second round. Was (Richards) supposed to be an avenger or something like that maybe he just wanted to say hello to Patriots Commander Matthew Slater?
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