The Ravens seemed to do almost everything right against the Patriots this past Sunday, but they just couldn’t finish the deal. They had the ball in their hands in the closing seconds with a chance to beat one of the top teams in the league on the road, and were a dropped pass away from doing just that. It seemed like the perfect scenario, and was, until Mark Clayton dropped a pass on fourth down that would’ve given the Ravens four more chances to tie the game and take the Pats to overtime. Instead, the team is now wondering what might have been if they came out of Foxsborough with a win and a 4-0 record. But there’s no sense in dwelling on the past. Anyway, here are this week’s winners.
Ray Rice gets the nod this week after rushing for 103 yards on only 11 attempts and catching five passes for 49 yards. It seemed like whenever the Ravens needed a big play, Rice was the man they called on. He had a huge 50-yard run at the end of the third quarter that set up a touchdown pass to Willis McGahee and brought the Ravens within three points. Due to his effort, Rice saw much more time than McGahee this week, which is something I think Ravens fans have been waiting to see. From a durability standpoint, I think Rice is one of those guys who will be better as a secondary back than a feature back. Sure, he’s got the skills and the awareness to be an explosive runner, but let’s see how he does when he’s carrying the ball 20-25 times a game. He got the job done this week, though, and is very much deserving of this award.
The “We Could Actually Win This Game” Moment
When Terrell Suggs blew by Matt Light and whacked Brady’s arm causing a fumble that was recovered by Dwan Edwards in the end zone for a Ravens touchdown. At that point in the game, the Ravens were down 17-7 with just over six minutes to go in the third quarter and were badly in need of a big play and Suggs delivered. What was even bigger than the play itself was that it kept Brady from turning in one of his long, time-consuming drives that he is so famous for and keeping the Ravens offense off the field. Instead, the Ravens answered every Patriots score with one of their own and were in line to do so again at the end of regulation until…
The “There Just Went Our Chance to Win the Game” Moment
It was a perfect play call and a perfect pass, but unfortunately for the Ravens it had an imperfect result. The tight spiral released from Flacco’s hand was placed right where it was supposed to be, it just ended up where it wasn’t supposed to be, on the turf. The seemingly easy pitch and catch was anything but that and the ball bounced off Mark Clayton’s chest, ending any hopes of tying the game and heading into overtime. I think that more than anything else, it was just a mental mistake on Clayton’s part. He had three big catches on the final drive, but simply took his eyes off the ball on the last pass. There was plenty the Ravens could’ve done up to that point to win the game, but all anyone ever remembers is the last play.
The most frustrating thing about last Sunday’s game was that the Ravens seemed to do everything right, but couldn’t come away with the victory. Maybe it was the horrible officiating, maybe it was the inability to keep pressure off Flacco, maybe it was the mental mistakes at crucial junctures in the game, or maybe it was the fact that the Patriots are just that good. If nothing else, the Ravens should be happy with the fact that they took one of the best teams in the league down to the wire, a team they could very well see again in January.