PHOTO: Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots gets off a pass before being hit by defensive back Chad Williams #49 of the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium on November 28, 2004 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Patriots Storm Baltimore
Ravens Stuck In The Mud, New England Rolls
by Chris Timoney
The weather was awful, the field in tough shape, but the results were very pleasing to the Patriots and their faithful New England fans. In rain soaked week 12 action in Foxboro the New England Patriots soundly defeated the Baltimore Ravens 24-3, moving the defending champions to 10-1 on the season.
With Jamal Lewis out due to injury the Ravens were forced to look to quarterback Kyle Boller to salvage the offense. In vintage Boller form the young QB struggled against a top defense and poor weather conditions.
Boller struggled to the tune of 15 of 35 pass attempts for 93 yards and an interception. Those numbers dont include the botched snaps and lost fumble also committed by Boller.
As mentioned, the weather combined with two of the top defenses in the league made for a low scoring affair through three quarters. Heading into the fourth quarter the Pats led 9-3.
The Ravens started the game going 3 and out and on the punt the Patriots were pinned back deep in their own territory and started their first possession of the game from their own five yard line. An unnecessary roughness call on tight end Daniel Graham combined with a delay of game call backed the Patriots back to the 3. On third and 12 Tom Brady managed to get New England out of its whole by launching down field to David Patten for 37 yards out to the 40. The Pats would only muster 5 more yards before Josh Miller came out for the first of his eight punts on the day.
On the ensuing possession Baltimore & Boller appeared to have begun to move the ball. Boller completed two passes for 13 yards moving the ball out to the Ravens 40. Two runs by Jamal Lewis replacement, Chester Taylor, and a scramble by Boller moved the Ravens to the 49. Shy of midfield with a fresh set of downs the Ravens looked poised to move into Patriots territory. On first and ten Boller dropped back in the pocket looking down field.
Bollers pass intended for Kevin Johnson was severely underthrown and picked off by Randall Gay at the 36. Gay returned the interception near midfield and the Patriots took over with good field position.
New England was unable to move the ball much following the turnover, but made up for it on their next possession.
Starting out on their own 31 New England mixed it up and got a number of players involved in their first scoring drive. A completion to Deion Branch put the Pats in a 3rd and short situation. For the first down Corey Dillon followed fullback Richard Seymour and New England received the fresh set of downs. Later in the drive just over midfield Brady(15 of 30 for 172 yards) connected to Daniel Graham for 22 yards down to the Ravens 25 yard line. On the play Corey Dillon made a nice block in the backfield on Marques Douglas giving Brady time to make the pass. Brady completed again to Branch and also to David Givens moving the ball down to the 8 yard line. On third and 5 from the 8 Brady was sacked and New England settled for an Adam Vinatieri 28 yard go-ahead field goal to start out the second quarter.
For most of the remainder of the first half Josh Miller and Baltimores Nick Murphy exchanged punts, 8 together in the second quarter.
New England gained possession via a punt with just over a minute left in the half. Deep in their own territory, the 16, confusion seemed to have mixed in with the driving rain as Brady knelt not knowing that the Ravens had a time out remaining. Five yards rushing by Dillon wasnt enough to keep the ball and New England trotted out Josh Miller for the punt. The 38 yard punt gave Baltimore decent field position near midfield. The Ravens situation improved greatly after Matt Chathams viscous face mask penalty and Ted Bruschis unsportsmanlike conduct call moved the Ravens down to the Patriot 16 yard line. Baltimore was able to move down to the 4 yard line before Matt Stover kicked a 22 yard field goal to tie the game at 3 before the half.
In the third quarter New England was able to take advantage of good field position. Starting out at their own 41 the Patriots were able to move the ball into field goal range by way of Corey Dillon runs and David Givens receptions. New England's opening second half 37 yard drive was capped off by Vinatieris second field goal of the day, a 40 yarder to put the home team up 6-3.
Vinatieri connected again on the Patriots next possession from 48 yards out to put New England up 9-3. On the drive the Pats started out just shy of midfield and scored an apparent touchdown. On 2nd and 8 from the Ravens 23 yard line Tom Brady connected to David Patten for an apparent touchdown pass. Patten was called for offensive pass interference and the play was nullified. Four plays later Vinatieri kicked the field goal.
With Baltimores offense still struggling, New England regained possession late in the third quarter. Defensive All-Pro Richard Seymour saw a lot of action in at fullback on the drive as Brady even play-actioned to him on first and ten from the Ravens 36. Runs by Dillon and completions to Givens(6 catches for 42 yards) and Branch(4 catches for 51 yards) moved the ball down to the 1 yard line. On the first play of the fourth quarter Corey Dillon marched into the endzone behind the blocking of Richard Seymour for the touchdown. The Pats found themselves up 17-3 with most of the last quarter to play.
Although almost a whole quarter was left to play the game basically ended during the Ravens next possession. After being sacked on the first play of the next series Boller worked out of the shotgun from his own 20 on second and 20. Scrambling desperately Boller was hit by Ted Bruschi and fumbled the ball. Trying to recover the Ravens knocked the ball into the endzone where it was recovered by New Englands Jarvis Green for the defensive touchdown. Greens score put the Patriots up 24-3 with still most of the fourth quarter to play.
There could have been 4 quarters left and Baltimores offense still would not have been able to get anything doing. The teams exchanged punts before Baltimore finally came up short in their final possession of the game. NFL Europe standout Rohan Davey came in to end the game by kneeling in the mud as time expired.
The win keeps New England two games up on the New York Jets in the AFC East and tied with the Steelers for the best record in the AFC. The Ravens drop to 7-4 with the loss, 3 games behind Pittsburgh in the AFC North.
Vinatieris field goal in the second quarter to put New England up 3-0 marked the 16th straight regular season game in which the Patriots were the first team to score, an NFL record. In all, including post-season play, the Patriots have scored first in 19 straight games. Tom Bradys completion to Daniel Graham towards the end of the first quarter was his 1,141st. The completion moves Brady to 3rd on the Patriots all-time list. Dillons 123 yards rushing marked his 6th 100-yard game of the season, the most of his career in one season. In all it was Dillons 34th 100-yard game.
Chris Timoney provides is a site contributor for the Patriots Insider. You can find him in the forums under the name: jakbrown. You can also find archives of his columns on the Insiders by using the search feature on this site.
If you are reading this article via a news portal, you can find the original