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At the half: Ravens 24, Patriots 7

Posted by Albert Breer  January 10, 2010 02:35 PM

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Maybe in the past, this was the spot where you expect the Patriots to come back.

It's hard to see -- outside of blind faith -- where you'd conjure that confidence now. Unless you're hoping for a banged-up Joe Flacco to hand New England the game.

This one ain't complicated. The Patriots got blocked up on the 83-yard touchdown run by Ray Rice. And then, they threw up all over their shoes. Two picks and a strip sack add up to 17 Baltimore points, and here we are.

Perhaps the greatest indication on what's happening here came on the final six plays of the first half. There was no pretense about what Baltimore was doing there. Running the ball, running the clock, and trying to get in the locker room with a 17-point lead intact. And the Ravens run it six times, churn two first downs out, and take a knee.

That's a physical football team right there, folks, that's punched the home team in the mouth, and has that opponent reeling.

Here's why coming back is going to be very, very difficult ... The Patriots offense has 61 yards of total offense. Kevin Faulk has 61 yards from scrimmage. That means, outside of Faulk, the Patriots have netted a grand total of zero yards. And that offense had to fight like hell to get in the end zone, even when gifted a turnover (Why in the world didn't John Harbaugh challenge there?) to set them up on the Raven 16.

The Ravens, to be fair, aren't exactly going up and down the field. But they're excellent when playing with a lead, and they have a big one now. Chances are, the air comes out of the ball, and on both sides, Baltimore turns this one into a street fight.

With the way Flacco's playing (2-of-6 for 9 yards, INT), I'm not totally counting New England out. But it's close.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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