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Patriots Left Standing Against Ravens

Posted on October 05, 2009 by Joe Gill
Brady and the Patriots were the last ones standing on Sunday.

Brady and the Patriots were the last ones standing on Sunday.

The Patriots and Ravens played an “instant classic” game yesterday at Gillette Stadium. This battle had it all. Defense. Offense. Special Teams. Good Calls. Bad Calls. Turnovers. Hard Hitting. Even the casual football fan would have loved this tilt for pure excitement and high drama.

One of the underlying story lines was if the Patriots could stop the Ravens high octane offense. The “Faceless” defense came to play and was every bit as effective as the highly publicized Ravens defensive unit. They brought the rush from all angles. They made big plays especially Leigh Bodden’s highlight film interception along the sideline.

Joe Flacco was visibly flustered by the relentless rush from the New England defenders. He was sacked twice and hit numerous times. He never knew what the Patriots were going to throw at him, but showed the maturity to make some plays.

Flacco, being in his second year, has made great strides from his rookie season. One play exemplified his growth. He was about to be steamrolled, but still had the moxy and football sense to get the ball to Derrick Mason for a first quarter touchdown.

Flacco has proven over the last two years that he is a bona fide NFL quarterback.

Veteran Tom Brady, who has been a bona fide superstar quarterback for most of his career, had his best game of the year. The Ravens brought the house and sacked Brady three times (one resulting in a fumble recovery for a touchdown). Even Terrell Suggs made a lunge at his knees.  However, he handled the pressure and stood tall. He handled the pass rush with more confidence than he did against the Jets.

He learned and adjusted.

Brady rushed for a touchdown and threw for another to Moss who adjusted his route.  The team went three for five in the red zone which was a sore spot for most of the season. The return of Wes Welker gave Brady his security blanket and the offense seemed more cohesive without Joey Galloway.

Joey Galloway was benched over special teamer Sam Aiken. The writing is on the wall for Galloway.

Shape up or Ship out.

Even with an impressive offensive performance by the Patriots, the game came down to the final minutes.

The Patriots defense stopped the Ravens on fourth down late in the final frame. However, New England could not convert a first down to run out the clock. Craig Hanson kicked the ball in the end zone and the Ravens had the ball on their own 20.

The Ravens still had some bullets left in their gun.

Flacco dinked and dunked his team down the field and with his team trailing,

Under duress all game, Flacco still gave his team a chance to win.

Under duress all game, Flacco still gave his team a chance to win.

27-21.  The Gillette stadium crowd was holding its collective breathe as the former Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hen, was trying his best Tom Brady impression.

The Ravens drove down to the Patriots 20 yard line with 1:10 left on the game clock.

Could the Pats “No Name” defense hold?

Yes and no.

Ravens receiver, Mark Clayton, made the Patriots job a bit easier. Flacco hit Clayton square in the numbers in end zone, but he could not make the catch. Brandon Meriweather, a rising star in the Pats secondary, was in his mug and Clayton may have heard the footsteps.

After a few plays which resulted in six yards, the Ravens were facing a fourth down and four from the New England 14 yard line. Flacco did not panic and did not crack under pressure. He found a wide open Mark Clayton yet again. Unfortunately, the outcome was the same.

Clayton dropped the ball.

This game was a like a gun fight in the old West. Who would be left standing in the end?

**Pipe in the Good, The Bad, and The Ugly theme**

The Patriots and Ravens both had their fingers on the trigger.

**Pipe in the Good, The Bad, and The Ugly theme**

However, when the dust cleared, the Patriots were standing tall and the Ravens were face down on the Gillette Stadium turf.

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