First impressions: Patriots 30, Ravens 23

First impressions: Patriots 30, Ravens 23

FOXBORO -- Here are some quick-hit first impressions from Monday night's 30-23 Patriots victory over the Ravens.


* When asked for an "X-factor" on SportsNet Central before the game, my answer was, "Whoever is returning punts for the Patriots." I thought it was an interesting subplot. I didn't think it might decide the game. 

Griff Whalen would be the choice, I figured, but he was made inactive before the game. In warmups, it was Cyrus Jones, Julian Edelman and Patrick Chung. When the game began, it was Jones and Chung splitting the field as returners. 

Jones had one moment where he gave fans at Gillette Stadium a startle by getting unnecessarily close to a bouncing ball. Later in the third quarter, he got near another. This time he kicked it like a soccer defender passing the ball back to his goal-keeper. It was a 75-yard field-position mistake. Two plays later, the Ravens were in the end zone to make the score 23-10.

* I said nothing about kick returners on Monday's SNC, but I should've. Jones was back on the field following his gaffe to return the subsequent kick with Matthew Slater, sending Patriots Twitter abuzz. When the ball was kicked to Slater, there was likely a short-lived collective exhale. Slater fumbled, giving the ball back to Baltimore at the Patriots 22. Four plays later, they were in the end zone again to make the score 23-17.

* On Baltimore's next kick, it was James White and Dion Lewis who were waiting deep.

* A Ravens field goal cut the score to 23-20, but Tom Brady responded quickly to pad his team's rapidly-vanishing lead. On a play-action fake -- and maybe a subtle look? -- Brady got the Ravens defense to bite up, leaving the deep middle of the field wide open. Brady hit Chris Hogan in stride for a 79-yard score to give the Patriots some breathing room again. 

Duron Harmon issues apology after his arrest

File Photo

Duron Harmon issues apology after his arrest

According to The Costa Rica Star, airport police at Juan Santamaria International Airport found two ounces of marijuana inside an iced-tea can alongside several different types of THC based paraphernalia within Duron Harmon's suitcase.

Tonight he issued an apology to the Kraft family, Patriots, and his own family.

A post shared by Duron Harmon (@dharm30) on

Harmon traveled into the country from Fort Lauderdale and was sent back after being briefly detained.

The Patriots organization acknowledged the arrest, β€œWe are aware of the situation involving Duron Harmon Friday night in Costa Rica,” a Patriots spokesman said in a statement to multiple media outlets. β€œHe has since returned to the U.S., and we are seeking to gain more information. At this time, we have no further update.”


Shaq carries Gronk at Miami dance-off

File photo

Shaq carries Gronk at Miami dance-off

Remember when Brandin Cooks rode Rob Gronkowski around like a horse to celebrate a Patriots touchdown back in November?

Well, Gronk doing Gronk things in Miami managed to find about the only person he could ride. 

Shaquille O'Neal, at 7-foot-1, gave 6-7 Gronk a ride on his shoulders as they celebrated the debut of "Shaq's Fun House" as part of the three-day Ultra Music Festival in Miami.

So, who won the dance-off?

Shaq vs @gronk dance battle you tell me who won

A post shared by DR. SHAQUILLE O'NEAL Ed.D. (@shaq) on