The Sunday Night Football in Baltimore felt like a movie, it was almost too unbelievable and yet it actually happened. There are happy fans in Ravens Nation to prove it.
The 31-30 win was the first time the Ravens beat the New England Patriots in the regular season.
It was redemption for beating the Ravens in the 2011 AFC championship game and advancing to the Super Bowl. It felt great sending the Patriots home with a 1-2 start to the 2012 season.
The game had an ugly start, the Ravens were down 13-0 in the first quarter. The offense had a rough time getting started, but eventually quarterback Joe Flacco found his groove and was 28 of 39 for 382 yards, one touchdown and one INT.
And once again Flacco’s numbers outshined Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady who was 28 for 41 for 335 yards and one touchdown.
It was beautiful watching the Ravens overcome a nine point deficit by scoring touchdowns on three straight drives in the second and third quarters.
After ignoring running back Ray Rice last week, Flacco showered him with love giving him 20 carries for 101 yards and one touchdown, then another five catches for 49 yards.
And then there was wide receiver Torrey Smith who played the best game of his young career with six catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Tragically Smith started the day on a sad note after losing his brother in a motor cycle accident, but ended it on a high note by overcoming this tragedy and taking the game ball home.
Head coach John Harbaugh left the decision to play up to Smith who felt up to the challenge and overcame this tragedy by playing his best game ever.
The defense encountered some difficulty stopping Brady, but finally found ways to slow him down. The pass rush needs improvement as does the pass coverage. The Ravens are still feeling the pain of not having linebacker Terrell Suggs who is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon.
So far they have faced three good quarterbacks; the defense is a work in progress and hopefully they will find their groove and step it up soon.
There were issues with the replacement referees who called a whopping 24 penalties during the game, 14 on the Ravens. As with other games in the NFL, some calls were suspect.
The game came down to one second when the Ravens were behind 30-28 and marched down the field to reach field goal range. Rookie kicker Justin Tucker came out to hit the 27-yard field goal to win the game.
Coach Harbaugh was proud of the way his Ravens fought back to beat the Patriots:
“Our team just fights, period,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “We just have a bunch of guys that will just not quit. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you don’t. Tonight, we won. I couldn’t be more proud of a football team, and couldn’t love a bunch of guys any more than we do right now.”
It was the 12th consecutive home game win for Flacco, putting the Ravens at the top of the AFC North.
Once again Flacco silenced his critics after a mediocre performance in week two’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He appeared poised and confident and not only went head-to-head with Brady, he outplayed him.
It was the most exciting Ravens game I’ve ever been to and I will never forget it. There is nothing like silencing your critics and doubters and showing the nation your team can beat one of the best teams in the NFL.
The Ravens played with heavy hearts, but heavy hearts made them play that much harder. It’s a proud time in Ravens Nation, let’s hope the momentum continues when they face the Cleveland Browns Thursday night.