“It just wasn’t, obviously, good enough,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said. “To get beat by 17 points, that’s not what we’re all about.”
The first loss in nine games this season for the Patriots came because their defense, historically great through the first half of the regular season, proved vulnerable on this night. That defense had yielded only four touchdowns to opposing offenses through eight games. The Baltimore offense managed four touchdowns Sunday night.
Jackson, the dynamic second-year quarterback, ran for two touchdowns and threw for another to prompt late-game chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P!” by the crowd. Running back Gus Edwards also had a rushing touchdown for the Ravens, who improved to 6-2. Baltimore amassed 210 rushing yards, 115 of them by tailback Mark Ingram and 61 more by Jackson.
“I think it was overall just their whole offense,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty said. “We knew they had one of the best running attacks in the NFL this year. They were able to really run the ball. I think because we struggled stopping the run, that pretty much gave them control the game. Possession, down and distance, I think they got to be comfortable all game…. For the majority of the game, I think they were able to play on their terms. I think that’s what probably hurt us the most.”
Jackson threw for 163 yards on 17-for-23 passing. The Baltimore defense scored a touchdown on a 70-yard return by cornerback Marlon Humphrey of a fumble lost by Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman. It was that sort of night for the Patriots. They also gifted the Ravens four points with an offside penalty on a short field goal attempt by Baltimore, leading to a second-chance touchdown.
“There’s really not much to say tonight,” Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said. “Obviously we didn’t do anything well enough to deserve to win. We certainly didn’t coach well enough. We just couldn’t do anything well enough. So give them credit. They were better than we were tonight, certainly the better team.”
The Ravens, too, were generous, with a muffed punt and a lost fumble by Ingram that led to 10 points for the Patriots. Brady had a touchdown pass and an interception in a 30-for-46, 285-yard passing performance for New England. Edelman and fellow Patriots wideout Mohamed Sanu had 10 catches each.
But the Patriots never led. They were outgained, 133 total yards to four, in the first quarter. They trailed 17-0 in the opening minute of the second quarter. The Patriots got back to within 17-13 and 24-20. But Jackson and the Ravens proved to be too much.
“We competed out there,” Belichick said. “It just wasn’t good enough. We’ve all got to do a better job, starting with me.”
The Patriots will not match the unblemished regular season of their 2007 team, which took an 18-0 record into the Super Bowl before being upset by the New York Giants.
“It’s NFL football,” Brady said. “We’ve got to do better than we did tonight.”
The Patriots have longer than usual to stew about the defeat, given that they’re now on their bye week.
“Any time you lose, it sucks,” McCourty said. “We’ll sit on this one for an extra week.”
Brady throws pick: Tom Brady, being hit as he delivered a rainbow pass down the field, had his pass intercepted by Ravens safety Earl Thomas. (Ravens 30, Patriots 20 with 12:47 left in the 4th quarter)
Jackson throws TD pass: The Ravens increased their lead on the opening play of the fourth quarter. Quarterback Lamar Jackson threw a five-yard pass to tight end Nick Boyle for Boyle’s first NFL touchdown catch. The Ravens converted on fourth and four from the New England 38-yard line earlier on the drive. Justin Tucker, hailed by Patriots Coach Bill Belichick as the best kicker in league history, missed the extra point wide left. (Ravens 30, Patriots 20 with 14:54 left in the 4th quarter)
Pats respond: The Patriots are moving the ball now, and they got right back into the game again following the defensive touchdown for the Ravens. The Patriots moved 75 yards with little resistance and scored on a one-yard touchdown run by tailback James White. (Ravens 24, Patriots 20 with 8:03 left in the 3rd quarter)
Defensive TD for Ravens: With the Patriots driving toward a possible go-ahead touchdown, they made a major blunder that resulted in a touchdown by the Baltimore defense. Julian Edelman lost a fumble after a catch, and Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey picked up the loose football and raced 70 yards for a touchdown. (Ravens 24, Patriots 13 with 12:21 left in the 3rd quarter)
Halftime in Baltimore: So much for that early 17-point lead for the Ravens. The Patriots, attempting to improve their record to 9-0, scored 13 straight points in the second quarter and trail, 17-13, at the half at M&T Bank Stadium. Kicker Nick Folk provided a 19-yard field goal eight seconds before the break as Coach Bill Belichick opted against a fourth-down attempt from the Baltimore 1-yard line. Tom Brady had completions of 25 yards to wideout Julian Edelman and 30 yards to running back James White on the drive but the Patriots couldn’t reach the end zone. The Ravens amassed 155 rushing yards in the first half, 97 of them by tailback Mark Ingram. Quarterback Lamar Jackson scored on a three-yard run during a first quarter in which the Ravens outgained the Patriots, 133 total yards to four. Gus Edwards’s 12-yard touchdown run in the opening minute of the second quarter upped Baltimore’s lead to 17-0. But the Ravens let the Patriots back into the game with two turnovers, a muffed punt and a fumble lost by Ingram. That led to 10 points for the Patriots. Brady threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Mohamed Sanu as part of a 15-for-24, 165-yard passing half. (Ravens 17, Patriots 13 at halftime)
Patriots draw closer: Bill Belichick’s non-gamble got the Patriots a field goal that cut their deficit to 17-10. After Belichick chose to punt on fourth and nine from the Baltimore 37-yard line, the Patriots pinned the Ravens at their 6. Tailback Mark Ingram lost a fumble soon after and the Patriots took possession at the 19-yard line. They couldn’t get into the end zone, being pushed back by a holding penalty. But kicker Nick Folk connected from 22 yards. All 10 Patriots’ points have come off Ravens’ turnovers. (Ravens 17, Patriots 10 with 3:41 left in the 2nd quarter)
No gamble for Belichick: Coach Bill Belichick opted against a fourth-and-nine gamble from the Baltimore 37-yard line and punted after a replay review showed that Rex Burkhead was down by contact before he lost a fumble on a third-and-25 catch and run. Earlier on the drive, the Patriots’ frustration was showing. Tom Brady could be heard over the referee’s microphone yelling, “That’s terrible!” after he was called for intentional grounding. The Patriots had a third-and-15 completion to wideout Phillip Dorsett for a first down negated by a holding penalty. (Ravens 17, Patriots 7 with 7:19 left in the 2nd quarter)
Pats capitalize on turnover: And that quickly, the Patriots are back in the game, thanks to a Ravens’ miscue. The Patriots recovered a muffed punt by the Ravens at the Baltimore 20-yard line. It took the Patriots four plays to cash in on Tom Brady’s four-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. (Ravens 17, Patriots 7 with 12:02 left in the 2nd quarter)
Ravens dominating Patriots: The Patriots’ chance for an unbeaten season is slipping away on this Sunday night in Baltimore. The Ravens continue to pour it on, and now they’re running right over the Patriots. Tailback Mark Ingram had a 53-yard romp on the opening play of the second quarter. Gus Edwards ran 12 yards for a touchdown on the next play. (Ravens 17, Patriots 0 with 14:11 left in the 2nd quarter)
Nothing doing for Patriots offense: The Patriots are facing their biggest deficit of the season and have been unable to get anything going on offense. They’ve had two possessions and have punted twice, managing only one first down. Tom Brady was sacked on third down by Baltimore’s Patrick Onwuasor to force the Patriots’ second punt. (Ravens 10, Patriots 0 with 41 seconds left in the 1st quarter)
Ravens add to lead: It’s early but the Ravens, so far, are dominating the Patriots. They’ve outgained them, 126 total yards to zero, and lead by 10 points after a 39-yard field goal by kicker Justin Tucker. The Patriots, at least, didn’t jump offside this time with the Ravens lined up for a field goal. (Ravens 10, Patriots 0 with 2:29 left in the 1st quarter)
Early TD for Ravens: The Ravens capitalized on a very un-Patriots-like mistake by the Patriots to take the early lead in Baltimore. Quarterback Lamar Jackson scored on a three-yard touchdown run. That came immediately after the Patriots, following a third-and-two stop, jumped offside with the Ravens lined up in field goal formation. The Ravens certainly showed they can move the ball against the New England defense, which surrendered only its fifth touchdown of the season. (Ravens 7, Patriots 0 with 8:13 left in the 1st quarter)
If the New England Patriots are going to make a run at a 16-0 regular season and perhaps the first 19-0 season in NFL history, there are going to be some tough tests and likely some close calls along the way. One of the toughest of those tests could come Sunday night in Baltimore when they face the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.
The Patriots have a record of 8-0 and have been historically great on defense so far this season. Their defense has scored four touchdowns and has surrendered four touchdowns to opposing offenses. They’re on pace to shatter the record for the fewest points allowed in a 16-game season.
But now they must deal with a Baltimore offense led by the NFL’s ultimate dual-threat quarterback, Lamar Jackson. He has become a league MVP candidate in his second NFL season and his first full season as a starter. Jackson has thrown for 1,650 yards and has run for 576 yards in the Ravens’ seven games. He has joined Michael Vick and Russell Wilson as the only quarterbacks ever to have three 100-yard rushing games in a season.
What has made Jackson so difficult for opposing defenses to handle is that he has become a more polished passer, able to win games either from the pocket or with his improvisational skills. His passer rating of 94.1 is a significant improvement on the 84.5 mark that he had last season as a rookie.