Found January 21, 2013 on
With a trip to Super Bowl XLVII on the line, The Baltimore Ravens came to Gillette Stadium as nine point underdogs and left as AFC champions.
Baltimore has a plethora of emotional storylines which may have contributed to their impressive post season run, but at the end of the day it comes down to execution and that is where the Patriots failed to deliver. Whether it was poor clock management at the end of the first half or a few timely drop passes, the Patriots played their way out of the Super Bowl and opened the door to the most insufferable two weeks of ESPN Har-bowl coverage you can imagine.
Walk with us as we break down the positives and negatives taken from yesterday’s game.
The Secondary – As hard as it is to believe, the secondary did what they were supposed to do; they prevented Flacco from completing the long passes he loves to throw and didn’t give up any big plays. The injuries to CB Aqib Talib and S Patrick Chung were a huge loss, but given the circumstances this work-in-progress defensive backfield played about as well as anybody could have expected.
Rush Defense – The Patriots held Ray Rice to just 48 yards on 19 carries, but Rice’s back up Bernard Pierce contributed 52 yards on just 9 carries. If you told me that this would be the case before the game happened, I would have felt pretty good about our chances, especially since the Patriots couldn’t even hold Ray Rice under 52 yards for a single play in the wild card round three years ago.
Special Teams – The kickoff coverage was much improved from last week’s debacle and Mesko nailed the Ravens inside of their own 20 yard line four times (pretty easy to do when you punt from the 35 yard line). Gostkowski did not have to make any big kicks but he was 2/2 on the day with a long of just 31 yards.
The Offensive Line – Tom Brady went unsacked for the entire game and when the Pats went to the no-huddle offense, you could see this unit absolutely man-handling the Baltimore defensive front and pushing them back a good two or three yards every play.
The Pass Rush – Apart from Rob Ninkovich’s two sacks, the pass rush was pretty much non-existent for most of the game. I’m not ready to call Joe Flacco an elite QB yet, but he’s good enough to hit the open man when you give him enough time to go through his check downs. The secondary was able to take away the deep ball, but a lack of pressure allowed Flacco to pick the Patriots apart with short passes over the middle and dump offs to the running backs.
Turnovers – Sure, one of Brady’s interceptions came on a deflection and it can be hard for Ridley to hold on to the ball when he’s moving it like Bernie, but the bottom line is that the Patriots committed three turnovers to Baltimore’s zero and in the playoffs, turnovers usually tell you who won the game.
Tom Brady – Yeah, I said it. Tom Brady just didn’t put together the game New England fans are so used to seeing from him during big games at Gillette. He was throwing behind receivers, missing open guys down the field and unable to convert on some crucial third downs that thwarted potential scoring drives. Sure, some of the drops were absolutely the receiver’s fault, but he’s Tom Brady. It is his job to make plays and find a way to win. He didn’t do that yesterday.
Wes Welker – Just when we all thought Wes was back in our good graces and guaranteed to get that shiny, new contract extension, he comes up with a third down drop that sent Patriots fans flashing back to last year’s Super Bowl. I want to believe that it was just a fluke, but it seems to be happening way too much recently for a guy who makes his living as a sure handed receiver.
As much as it stings right now, and as easy as it is to point out what went wrong, Patriots fans can still hang their hat on the fact that we made it to another AFC Championship game and won another AFC East title. Those may not be what New Englanders are accustom to celebrating, but there are plenty of cities that would love to celebrate what the Patriots have accomplished. I fully expect this team to reload in the off-season and be back in this game in a year’s time.
BEST OF MAXIM
New England Patriots QB Tom Brady entered Sunday’s AFC Championship game needing just 277 yards passing to surpass Brett Favre as the all-time post-season passing yardage leader. Brady set the mark, throwing for 32o yards, but his afternoon was not one of his more memorable performances in his storied career. The Patriots entered the afternoon with the league’s best home winning...
With the Ravens hanging on to an 8 point lead the very first play of the 4th quarter was one of the key plays in the game. At these times in the game is when Tom Brady makes his living being known as one of the most clutch QB’s of all time, but instead on this drive was cut short. The Patriots decide to run the ball with Ridley, who rips off 8 yards, but gets hit helmet-to-helmet...
One of the most controversial plays of Sunday’s AFC Championship game came at the end of the second quarter when Tom Brady scrambled out of the pocket and slid cleats high into Ravens safety Ed Reed. Not only did the slide look to be a dirty, unsportsmanlike play by Brady, it was resulted in a case of terrible time management that might have cost the Pats seven points at the end...
Tom Brady stood helplessly with his hands on his hips after his tipped pass was intercepted. He walked slowly to the sideline, removed his helmet and sat on the bench.
A fourth-quarter comeback chance was gone. The end of his season was less than seven minutes away.
Playoff games leave teams with ''either euphoria or crash landing.
''For us,'' New England...
Yesterday, Bernard Pollard implied that Tom Brady should be fined for kicking Ed Reed in the umm groin area on a slide. Today, it appears as if the NFL is looking into it.
JUST IN - Tom Brady is being reviewed by league officials for his slide/kick in AFC Championship (via @edwerderespn)
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 22, 2013
To me, it looked completely accidental...
BY NICK ST. DENISThe New England Patriots boasted the best red zone offense in the NFL during the 2012 season. They weren't as good Sunday night.Tom Brady's squad converted on only one of four trips inside the 20-yard line in a 28-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game.“That’s the game," Patriots receiver Deion Branch told the media after the...
It made for great story lines all week. The upstart, emotional Ravens, playing for Ray Lewis' retirement, come to New England seeking revenge against a superior offense.Joe Flacco, set to prove that he is in the same league as Tom Brady, needs to repeat his performance from a week earlier in Denver; can New England's defense rise to the challenge, or are they as weak as everyone...
8 a.m. ET: The day of reckoning is upon us, at least for those of us who intently follow the NFL.
The NFL’s conference judgment day will begin with the San Francisco 49ers’ visit to Atlanta for the NFC crown, but all eyes will be peeled for the Ravens’ trip to Foxboro to mark a repeat of last season’s AFC title game.
Tom Brady has been preparing for his chance at a sixth...
I Said, Ha Ha
> The winds were strong, which means that we heard about them for a really long time> Baltimore won the toss and elected to do the intelligent thing> This is Patriots QB Tom Brady's 7th AFC Championship game, which is just kind of nuts> On 3rd and 2, Brady hit WR Wes Welker deep, but there's a reason why the Patriots aren't going to retain Welker...
In the latest episode of “Football Nation Today,” Alex recaps championship weekend and talks about the other biggest stories across the NFL:1st Down: The Patriots and Falcons both blew second half leads to the Ravens and 49ers, but Alex says the losses weren’t the same. The Patriots lost the game, whereas the Falcons blew the game.The Ravens were more physical than the Patriots...