FOXBORO -- Here are some quick-hit first impressions from Monday night's 30-23 Patriots victory over the Ravens.
PATRIOTS 30, RAVENS 23
- Curran: This time, Patriots got Ravens on the run
- Edelman on Cyrus Jones: 'I've been in that doghouse . . . it's gonna suck'
- Hogan on clinching touchdown: 'Me and Tom are on the same page'
- Bennett bounces back: I'm like a phoenix... I rise from the ashes'
- Curran's Patriots-Ravens preview review
- McClellin uses cue from Ravens, perfect timing to block field goal
- Best and worst: Patriots 30, Ravens 23
- Troy Brown jokes about returning to run back punts
- Game notes
* 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.