The Patriots fell into a 17-0 hole and despite clawing their way back within four points at halftime, continued mistakes in the second half gave the momentum and the win back to the Ravens. Baltimore handed New England their first defeat of their season, 37-20.
The Ravens rolled over 200 yards rushing, on pace with their season average, as the Patriots struggled to find consistent answers for Lamar Jackson's offense that had them on their heels for most of the night. But the real story was the mistakes in key moments for New England, including a scoop-and-score off a Julian Edelman fumble that swung the game back to Baltimore's favor in the third quarter, just as New England appeared to be putting the hammer down on the Ravens defense.
Now 8-1, the Patriots will have the bye week to think about this loss and how they can refocus for the stretch drive and a continued slate of solid football teams.
Here are the game observations.
-The Patriots got an up close look at Lamar Jackson right out of the gate and came close to forcing an initial three-and-out, but Jackson made the conversion with a late-down pass. Then they should've had a classic bend-don't-break drive until Shilique Calhoun jumped into the neutral zone on the field goal attempt, setting up a second-chance touchdown and an early 7-0 lead for the Ravens. It was the kind of mental mistake the Patriots usually avoid, though the long snapper's head bob could've drawn a flag. Generally, the Pats were sloppy out of the gate in this one and played on their heels for most of the first quarter.
- The second defensive drive wasn't much better, also lasting 11 plays like the first, until the Pats stiffened up and held the Ravens to a field goal. The 10-0 first-quarter deficit was the biggest of the season, giving the Ravens the exact start they could've hoped for. Jackson had some head-scratching passes when his first option was taken away, but the Ravens running game put up 75 yards in the first quarter and that powered the solid start for Baltimore.
-As for the Patriots offense in the first quarter, it was non-existent, putting up four total yards and that was with a 10-yard run by Sony Michel. Brady didn't complete pass in the opening stanza as the Pats punted twice. Like previous games it would take a play by the other units to spark them.
- The defense's struggles would continue when Mark Ingram took the first play of the second quarter 53 yards and then, on the next play, Gus Edwards took it into the end zone for the touchdown and a 17-0. It appeared the beatdown was on, but it would be the Ravens last points of the half.
-The Patriots finally caught a break after punting for a third-straight time as Justin Bethel, a former Raven, picked up a punt that was muffed by Cyrus Jones, a former Patriot. It set the Pats up on the 20-yard-line and they'd pick up a touchdown on a pass to Mohamed Sanu a few plays later. Special teams gave the offense the boost they needed and the first half completely changed from that moment.
-The Patriots defense would force a three-and-out on the next possession, looking re-energized by the offense's score, in part by using Jonathan Jones as a spy on Lamar Jackson. John Simon also had a strong start to the game holding the edge and not getting outrun by Jackson to the edge a couple different times.
-The offense looked like they were starting to find their stride after that, but then an intentional grounding penalty and a hold helped stall the drive. Marshall Newhouse had some untimely struggles throughout this one. The Patriots would choose to punt from their 37, but it would pay off.
-The Boogeymen would finally get on their game after the Patriots punt with a Kyle Van Noy forced fumble that was recovered by Lawrence Guy and set up Nick Folk's first field goal as a Patriot. It closed the score to 17-10, showing this Patriots team has the grit that their predecessors had, weathering the early storm and finding their game. When the defense and special teams force turnovers it covers up a lot of the offense's issues. They came through with two critical plays that kept this game close in the first half.
-Mohamed Sanu showed remarkable strides in his second game with the team, finishing with 10 catches for 81 yards and a touchdown, while also returning punts as the team was without Gunner Olszewski. Sanu's continued development should be a big part of the second half of the season. If there's a positive to take from this game, it's Sanu's performance.
-After forcing a quick punt, the Pats offense put together their best drive of the half with impressive catches by Julian Edelman and James White, a 30-yard beauty over Earl Thomas. The drive went 8 plays for 45 yards. The Pats would settle for a field goal from the one-yard-line, a disappointing end of a drive that could've tied the score at the half.
-The Patriots looked like they were really starting to click offensively on the opening drive of the second half until Edelman coughed up a fumble that Marlon Humphrey picked up and took 70 yards for a score. After the Pats had carried the momentum since the muffed Ravens punt, the script suddenly flipped once again like it often does when these two teams meet. It extended the lead to 24-13 and was a rare Edelman mistake that cost the Patriots points.
-The offense wouldn't blink on the ensuing possession though, rattling off an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown-scoring drive that would make the score 24-20. Brady seemed to figure out what the Ravens were doing on defense and put on a show, marching the offense down the field in just 4:18. With their backs against the wall once again, the offense responded with a clinical no-huddle drive.
-After a long layoff the Ravens would respond on their next offensive drive, converting a 4th down and getting an electric 11-yard run by Jackson where he made multiple defenders look like they were standing still. It was a 14-play, 81-yard drive that ate up 8:09 of clock, but a rare missed extra point by Justin Tucker made it only a 10-point lead. After going nearly two quarters without allowing much of anything, the defense was once again on their heels as Jackson darted and passed his way through them.
-Three encroachment penalties on the defense illustrate what kind of night it was for the unit. After attacking and dictating for most of the first eight games they were too sloppy and undisciplined.
-After a Tom Brady interception, the Ravens again marched down the field, converting two third downs via Patriots penalties and a final third down to get into the end zone for the game-sealing score. The Patriots allowed touchdowns on all four of Baltimore's red zone possessions and 210 total rushing yards. Baltimore's five scoring drives bookended the game, with 17 points on the first three drives and the final 14 on the last two drives that were sparked after the score off the Edelman fumble.
Despite the sloppy loss, the offense showed more flashes than they have in most of their games this season. Sanu looks like the addition everyone hoped he would be and with Isaiah Wynn, N'Keal Harry and Matt LaCosse back in the mix, they are trending upward. Meanwhile, the defense is better than they showed against the Ravens. Their work against the run needs to be better, but The Boogeymen will certainly be back and this should be a motivating loss for everyone.
The Patriots now have their bye week and will be back in action in Philadelphia against the Eagles on Sunday November 17th at 4:25pm.