The Patriots became the sixth team in NFL history to start a season 12-0 with a dramatic 27-24 come-from-behind win over the Baltimore Ravens.
The Boston Globe writes that though the Patriots are still undefeated, they have the Ravens' penchant for penalties to thank for it. In one of the wildest endings you'll ever see in a football game, the Patriots converted a fourth down on their third opportunity to keep their hopes alive and then pulled out a 27-24 victory on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Jabar Gaffney with 44 seconds left.
One common theme that carried thoughout the game was the Patriots poor defense against the run according to piece in the Boston Globe. The Patriots were gashed on the ground and overpowered at the line of scrimmage. The Ravens finished with 166 yards on 37 carries (a 4.5-yard average), with Willis McGahee leading the way with 138 yards on 30 carries.
"We just can't win if we allow teams to just come in and pound the ball on us," safety Rodney Harrison said. "That is something we always have pride in, and we just can't let that happen. We will get it corrected."
The Boston Globe also points out that at times Patriots wide receivers had difficulty holding on to the ball. Patriots tight end Ben Watson dropped what would have been a touchdown pass in the back of the end zone. It was the beginning of a frustrating night for quarterback Tom Brady. The Patriots dropped five passes in the game, including one by Randy Moss (four catches, 34 yards) midway through the fourth quarter that could have given the Patriots their first lead.
"We left a lot of plays out there," said Brady. "We could have played better. We had opportunities."
The Boston Herald writes that the Patriots' final, 13-play, 73-yard drive was definitely eventful and included game-changing calls not only from the refs, but from the Ravens sideline. Baltimore appeared to have sealed the game when Brady was stopped on fourth-and-1 at the Baltimore 30 with 1:48 left, but the Baltimore sideline called timeout just before the play, giving the Pats another chance.
"We called the timeout," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "If he'd have gotten the first (down) it would have been you screaming, 'Why didn't you call the timeout?' Let's make sure we don't have revisionist history."
The Boston Herald points out that lost in the drama of the Patriots comeback was the fact that it wouldn't have been possible without James Sanders' interception of a horribly thrown Kyle Boller pass in the fourth quarter with the Ravens leading 24-17 and driving for what could have been the clinching score.
"They motioned to a certain formation," Sanders said. "We made the check. I rotated to my responsibility, read the quarterback and made the play."
- The Boston Herald offers the best and worst of last night's game.
- The Boston Globe's Patriots Blog takes a look at the snaps played by offensive skill position players against the Ravens.
- The Boston Herald breaks down the play-of-the-game, Jabar Gaffney's touchdown catch in the back of the endzone in the final minutes of play.
- The Providence Journal notes that Tom Brady had his worst game of the season completing just 18 of 38 passes, for 257 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.