On a rainy night in Foxborough, the Ravens were the ones who were all wet.
The Patriots, who came into Sunday’s game as a big underdog, surprised Lamar Jackson and Baltimore, taking a 23-17 win over the Ravens.
In a soaking rain, Cam Newton went 13-for-17 for 118 yards and a touchdown pass, to go along with 24 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. Damien Harris powered the ground game with 22 carries for 121 yards, while Jakobi Meyers added five catches for 59 yards.
Meyers also provided one of the biggest offensive highlights of the season for the Patriots, as the receiver found Rex Burkhead for a 24-yard touchdown pass (after he got the ball from Newton) late in the first half to give New England a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
The Patriots (4-5) won their second straight, while Baltimore (6-3) lost for the second time in three games.
It was a wet and wild affair in Foxborough, as both teams struggled with the conditions. The Patriots did a better job handling things in the early going and took a lead into halftime, sparked by Meyers’ surprising touchdown pass that made it 13-10 with 1:02 remaining in the second quarter — the extra point was off the mark.
New England added to that with 10 third-quarter points — a Newton 4-yard touchdown run and a 20-yard field goal from Nick Folk — to make it 23-10. (The 13-point edge represented the largest lead for the Patriots since the end of their 36-20 Week 3 win over the Raiders.)
The Ravens answered when Jackson found Willie Snead on an 18-yard touchdown pass with eight seconds left in the third quarter to cut the lead to six.
However, that’s as close as Baltimore would get, as Jackson and the Ravens’ offense failed to gain any sort of offensive traction in the less-than-ideal conditions the fourth quarter. The Patriots closed things out down the stretch, as Newton helped lead a late drive that killed enough clock to make it impossible for the Ravens to recover.
Here’s how it all happened.
Patriots win – 11:15 p.m.
That should do it. The Patriots will pull off the 23-17 upset.
Ravens struggle with rain – 11:00 p.m.
A bad snap set the Ravens back on that series and they never recovered. They punt the ball back to New England with 4:20 to go in regulation.
Pats have the ball back – 10:46 p.m.
Both teams have had a crack at it, and both offenses have been swamped. The Patriots have the ball after that punt — there’s 11:25 to go in regulation — and hold a 23-17 lead. They will start their drive at their own 4-yard line. New England could use a few first downs to get some offensive rhythm and also help itself if this becomes a battle for field position.
End of the third – 10:35 p.m.
After three quarters, the Patriots hold a 23-17 lead on Baltimore.
Ravens respond – 10:33 p.m.
You can’t fall asleep on this Baltimore team — Jackson and the offense just went 75 yards into a driving rain to make it 23-17 with eight seconds to go in the third quarter. Five runs and six passes, and one fourth-down conversion all added up to a score. Jackson is 20-for-26 for 224 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, to go along with 36 rushing yards.
Big lead – 10:23 p.m.
The 13-point lead for the Patriots is the largest since the end of the Week 3 game against the Raiders when they were up 36-20.
Folk connects – 10:18 p.m.
Not an ideal finish to the drive for the Patriots, but as the conditions get worse, you’ll take as much separation as you can get right now. You know the best analogy I can think of when it comes to the conditions? A late-afternoon baseball game where the shadows creep across the infield and stop for a bit between home plate and the mound, making it hard for hitters? That’s what it’s like now if you are trying to catch up. Anyway, tortured analogies aside, the 20-yard field goal from Nick Folk was good — a spot of redemption for him after that Ricky start — and it’s 23-10 with 6:24 to go in the third quarter.
Pats get the ball back – 10:09 p.m.
Good stop there by the New England defense, even before that fourth-down fumble. Pushing Jackson out of bounds short of the first-down marker is the sort of big-time play that deserves more attention. Nicely done by Jonathan Jones. New England will get the ball back at the Baltimore 37-yard line, leading 20-10.
Jackson impressive – 10:00 p.m.
Patriots go up by 10 – 9:58 p.m.
The Patriots have played two-plus quarters of very impressive football — that sequence was 75 yards on four plays, and pending the extra point, it’s 20-10, with 13:19 left in the third quarter. On that drive, Harris went over 100 rushing yards, while Jakobi Meyers now has three catches for 49 yards. Considering the opponent, this might be their best stretch of football this season.
Halftime takeaways – 9:40 p.m.
•Two quarters are in the books in rainy Foxborough, and the Patriots are up 13-10:
Lamar Jackson: 14-19, 167 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 6 carries, 26 rushing yards
Willie Snead: 3 catches, 36 yards
Cam Newton: 7-9, 61 yards, 1 TD; 12 rushing yards
Damien Harris: 12 carries, 63 yards
Jakobi Meyers: 2 catches, 23 yards, 1 passing TD
Rex Burkhead: 11 rushing yards; 3 catches, 34 yards, 1 TD
Here are a few quick takeaways:
•This game stands in marked contrast to last year’s debacle in Baltimore. The Ravens were in command of that one from pretty much start to finish, and won the game 37-20. (And it wasn’t that close.) This one has a different feel — the Patriots have made this one manageable over the first two quarters, forcing a punt and making some nice defensive plays. Not perfect, but a good stretch of football for New England in messy conditions against a very good football team.
•Love the double pass from Meyers to Burkhead at the end of the first half. Weird stuff happens against the Ravens, and that was the latest example. Meyers, a high school quarterback, delivered a nice one to Burkhead, who could have called for a fair catch in the end zone. I give a lot of credit to McDaniels for calling that for a few reasons — want to empty out the playbook ahead of the really bad weather, and to throw that card down on the table in hopes of providing an offensive spark. Anyway, that could have been one of my favorite offensive plays of the year, given the circumstances.
•Jackson’s talents are obvious, but as far as the rest of the group is concerned, the Ravens’ offense isn’t necessarily overwhelming like the Chiefs That being said, they have a bunch of really smart guys who are capable of executing really well in important moments: third down, red area, staying away from turnovers, etc. They were flagged for a few penalties, to be sure, but all in all, the Baltimore offense does so well in all the important moments. That’s what makes them so good, and that’s we saw from them over the bulk of the first two quarters.
•If you’re the New England defense, you’d like to see more pressure on Jackson, but let’s be honest: trying to contain him is like trying to eat soup with a fork. As long as you can try and keep him in the pocket, that’s a win. The guy is out there pulling off some Bugs Bunny-style getaways on those runs. That pick by J.C. Jackson before the end of the first half was a great contrast to the way the defense played at the end of the first half against the Jets. Great finish to the end of the second quarter for New England.
•Is it reasonable to ask whether or not Sony Michel is in danger of being Wally Pipp’d by Harris? The youngster ran well again, and while you can chalk up some of the production from last week’s game because it was against the Jets, the Ravens are a different story. Harris had 12 carries for 63 yards, and was an important part of the game plan. Not saying anything overly dramatic is going to happen to Michel — only to suggest that it’s not going to be easy at all for the Georgia product to get his starting job back. (And that’s coming from a one-time Michel Truther.)
•Not much to say about special teams, other than everyone except Nick Folk gets a passing grade. Almost had one extra point blocked and the other one was off the mark. Grading on a curve because of the bad weather, but still, in a game with a narrow margin for error, you hope the miss doesn’t come back to haunt you.
•The Patriots deferred to start the game — they will get the ball to start the second half.
Pats show some trickery – 9:30 p.m.
Love that. Meyers to Rex Burkhead for the touchdown. Patriots are up 13-10 — the extra point was off the mark. I give Josh McDaniels a lot of credit for dialing that up.