Ravens 31, Patriots 30
It was a chip shot for Justin Tucker, only 27 yards, but unlike the last time Baltimore was in this position against New England, the kick was good -- barely.
Tucker, a rookie who beat out then-kicker Billy Cundiff for the job, capped a nine-point comeback in the fourth quarter to win the game. The ball sneaked inside the right upright.
The Ravens now have won 12 in a row at M&T Bank Stadium, the longest active in the NFL, and have won 20 of their last 21 at home.
In last season's AFC championship game, Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal that would've sent that game into overtime. Instead, the Patriots won 23-20 and advanced to the Super Bowl.
The Ravens played from behind all night but beat the Patriots in the regular season for the first time in franchise history.
It was an especially emotional night for Ravens receiver Torrey Smith, who rejoined the team Sunday after his younger brother died in a motorcycle accident in Virginia earlier in the morning.
Quarterback Joe Flacco, who threw a first-quarter interception that led the Patriots' first touchdown, found Smith with 9:45 left in the second for a 25-yard score. At that time, the Ravens' offense still was struggling much like it did one week ago in a 24-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Smith flew past Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington and actually had to wait on the pass as he jumped, secured it and then went to one knee to undoubtedly remember Tevin Chris Jones, his 19-year-old deceased brother.
Smith made a 32-yard catch that put the ball on New England's 7, and Ray Rice exploded up the middle for a touchdown on the next play.
The Ravens ran the ball mostly on first and second downs -- and even on a crucial fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter that failed.
The hurry-up offense that produced 37 points in the opening game finally found its rhythm in this comeback.
Rice was used to set up the pass as Flacco had his best game of the season, going 28-for-39 for 382 yards and three touchdowns for a 117.7 rating.
Rice had 101 yards on 20 carries and five catches for 49 yards.
Player of the game: Smith, who only had four catches in the first two games, had his best outing so far under dire circumstances. Smith finished with six catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
The turning point: With the Patriots driving in Ravens territory, LB Dannell Ellerbe and NT Haloti Ngata sacked Tom Brady for a seven-yard loss to set up the winning drive.
Highlights: After allowing Eagles TE Brent Celek to have a career game last week, Pats TE Rob Gronkowski was held to a modest two catches for 21 yards. The run defense was solid for the second game in a row, holding the Pats to 77 yards on 34 carries. TE Dennis Pitta had a spectacular 20-yard TD catch, hurdling S Steve Gregory to give the Ravens their first lead at 14-13. Wes Welker made a 59-yard catch but was chopped down by Bernard Pollard, and a few plays later Ed Reed disconnected Julian Edelman for what appeared to be a sure touchdown as New New England settled for a field goal.
Lowlights: It's not that Flacco threw an interception but how. He locked in on Dennis Pitta, who he targeted 15 times last week, and Gregory returned the ball to the Ravens' 6 to set up their first TD. Two defensive penalties, on Ellerbe and Cary Williams, allowed the Patriots to travel 81 yards in 1:45 as Brady threw a seven-yard TD pass to Edelman to give his team a 20-14 lead going into halftime. Pollard is called for hitting Pats G Logan Mankins after the play leading to a 15-yard penalty that moved the ball to Baltimore's 21. The Pats would score on a 3-yard TD run by Danny Woodhead to make it 27-21 Williams was exploited by Brady-to-Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd finished with nine catches for 108 yards. ... On a third-and-3 as the Pats moved into Ravens territory, Reed was called for a blow to the head of Deion Branch that led to an automatic first down. That set up a field goal as the Ravens trailed 30-21 in the fourth quarter. ...Trailing 30-21 in the fourth quarter and on the Patriots' 33, the Ravens went for it on fourth-and-1 as rookie Bernard Pierce got the call. He was dropped for a loss as the offensive lined failed to get any push. Most notable was Bryant McKinnie, who lost his starting job at left tackle. He entered the game for the play and failed to make a block on anyone.