BALTIMORE — The Patriots defense had Lamar Jackson dead-to-rights in the backfield on third-and-goal late in the fourth quarter when Jackson found himself in the arms of his right tackle, Orlando Brown Jr.
Brown, who turned around and found Jackson in his breadbasket, grabbed ahold of his quarterback and dragged him the final yard into the end zone. The touchdown capped one of the most impressive drives of the season for the Ravens, and one of the most impressive wins, too.
Jackson’s score put the Ravens up 37-20, which was the final, as the Ravens knocked off the previously-unbeaten New England Patriots at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday night.
“We’ve got a lot of football left and this win is going to be important down the road,” Brown said. “Right now, we’ve got to focus on Cincinnati and continue to take it day-by-day and game-by-game every Sunday. Personally, I don’t think we’re playing our best football right now, that’s a good thing with us winning and us being in this position.”
That position the Ravens put themselves in was something they could’ve only dreamed of hours before.
Against the previously 8-0 Patriots, the Ravens ran roughshod through the Patriots front seven and rushed for 210 yards against a defense that came in allowing just 85.2 per game. Jackson ran for just 61 yards but had two scores as the Patriots struggled to contain the speedy quarterback throughout the game.
The Ravens out-possessed the Patriots 37:01-22:59 and scored as many offensive touchdowns (four) as the Patriots defense had given up in the previous eight games combined. 210 yards rushing was the most a Patriots defense had allowed since 2014.
“Watching the film, a lot of teams were just letting them do what they wanted to do and not being aggressive, not attacking them,” Willie Snead said. “I think out of the gate, we were just coming at these guys. We weren’t afraid of them. We just knew what we had to do.”
Baltimore jumped out to a 17-0 lead on the first three possessions of the game, led by Jackson’s legs.
New England rallied in the second and third quarters and cut the lead to just four, but the Ravens answered with a 70-yard scoop-and-score from Marlon Humphrey — the longest fumble return in team history.
The Patriots couldn’t muster much after that, despite scoring a touchdown on the following drive. A big reason for that was simply how often they got the ball back.
Baltimore had just three offensive possessions in the second half, but it certainly made them count. The first possession was a 14-play, 86-yard drive that ended in Nick Boyle’s first-ever touchdown reception. The drive lasted eight minutes and nine seconds.
The following drive, after an interception, effectively ended the game, as the Ravens suffocated the life out of the Patriots with a 14-play, 68-yard drive that lasted nine minutes and 35 seconds, capped by Brown’s pull of Jackson into the end zone.
They were the two longest drives the Patriots had allowed all season.
Ravens' last two drives:— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) November 4, 2019
Eight minutes, nine seconds
Nine minutes, 35 seconds
“I think that’s who we are,” said Mark Ingram, who eclipsed 100-yards rushing on the night. “If you go back and look throughout the season, we have lots of drives over 15 plays, eating up time and chewing up clock.”
The biggest player the Ravens couldn’t contain was Jackson, who threw for 163 yards on 17-of-23 passing. But it was his legs which kept the Patriots off-balance and out-of-sync, as they simply didn’t have an answer for Jackson’s ability to extend plays.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick, shortly, said as much when asked what the team wasn’t prepared for.
“It’s obvious,” he said.
Jackson’s ability in the pocket slowed down the Patriots linebackers enough to let the Ravens runners get to the outside, the first offense to do that to the Patriots all season.
The Ravens’ statement win puts the team at 6-2 at the halfway mark of the season, with two convincing wins over the Seahawks and Patriots — two teams widely expected to contend for the Super Bowl.
“We’re not a team to be slept on,” Marquise Brown said. “We are going to compete at a high level each week and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be considered one of the best teams in the league.”
Baltimore is now the second-seed in the AFC, a game-and-a-half behind the No.1 Patriots, who they now have the tiebreaker over.
While there might’ve been questions after the Seattle game about the legitimacy of the Ravens as a title contender, those questions aren’t there anymore.
“I mean, shoot, these guys were undefeated,” Snead said. “They were on top of the league and to come in here and try to win, we've got a little pride. I mean, this rivalry goes back further than I’ve been in the league. The tone was set in the beginning of the week and we just had to follow through and play our style of football.”
Now at 6-2 with the 0-8 Bengals on deck, the path to just getting into playoffs could begin to become more an afterthought as home field advantage or a first-round bye begins to become tangible.
Just a few weeks ago, the Ravens were 2-2 and trailed late in the game against the Steelers in week five. Then out of nowhere, they pulled themselves out a hole just like the final Jackson touchdown.
Brown, who received a game ball for his effort on Jackson’s late score, just put an exclamation point on the play that could represent the season.
“I might cut it in half and give him the other half,” Brown quipped.
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