Some rapid reaction to the Ravens’ bizarre and emotional 31-30 win over the Patriots:

The game ended as weirdly as it began with Bill Belichick attempting to arm-tackle an official on a narrowly good Justin Tucker field goal. The Ravens have finally beat the Pats in a regular season game, the AFC Championship is behind us, and the Ravens can get back to the business of winning.

  • What can you say about Torrey Smith? Putting aside football for a second, our hearts obviously go out to the guy. Who knows what the “right” thing to do is in situation like that, but kudos to John Harbaugh for respecting Smith’s decision to play the day he loses his little brother. Not even an attempt at what would’ve been a horrible offensive P.I. call could stop him from grabbing a TD. Sheer grit on his part to get open and grab a second one when it mattered. Not a dry eye in the house.
  • Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and both Ravens O and D-lines. All clutch. All cool under pressure. All delivered in a huge way tonight despite the strange conditions and officiating.
  • The Ravens are the best case for getting the regular officials back. Not so much because of blown calls, but because the Ravens push the limit of physicality and intensity with normal officiating, and the substitute teachers currently wearing the zebra stripes have lost control of the classroom. They didn’t even get Ngata’s number right on the one personal foul flag they did throw. It’s never good when Al Michaels is openly bewildered by an official’s performance. Any slapfight involving Julian Edelman is officially the boiling point of the NFL referee labor crisis.
  • Actually, screw that, it’s also because of the blown calls. This game was officiated seemingly at random. To quote Michaels “that’s the loudest manure chant I’ve ever heard.” Neither fanbase can claim they didn’t get some very fortunate breaks, but a potentially epic game was downgraded because of terrible management by untrained amateurs who, by no fault of their own, are out of their element.
  • Rough night for the Ravens’ secondary. Whenever Cary Williams has double-digit tackles, well, it’s never good.
  • Jacoby Jones almost Jacoby Jones’dbut this time it would have been devastating instead of awesome. The fact that he flexed out and posed on a drawn P.I. flag automatically rockets him into my Top 20 Ravens of all time.
  • Anquan Boldin rocking an outdated Orioles hat in his intro? Come on O’s, can we comp the guy a proper 5950 with the cartoon bird?
  • John Harbaugh won a challenge, cash in those lotto tickets! But he also got an unsportsmanlike conduct flag. The universe is back in balance.