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Sunday, October 4, 2009
Rapid Reaction: Patriots 27, Ravens 21



Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Any notions of the New England Patriots toppling from the ranks of contenders should be hushed.

In a tremendous game that ended with a fourth-down defensive stand in the red zone, the Patriots reasserted themselves Sunday with a 27-21 victory over the previously unbeaten Baltimore Ravens in Gillette Stadium.

Skepticism was plentiful two weeks ago, when the New York Jets denied Tom Brady's offense entry into the end zone to win 16-9 at the Meadowlands. The result was seen as a changing of the guard.

Maybe the Patriots, with all of their defensive changes and an obvious lack of offensive synchronicity, just didn't have it anymore.

They still have it. They rebounded from their Week 2 loss to beat the Atlanta Falcons and then followed up with another compelling performance over the Ravens, who entered Sunday ranked among the top seven in total offense, rushing offense, passing offense, total defense and rushing defense.

The Ravens did, however, rank tied for 17th in pass defense. Brady showed progress yet again in his steady recovery from reconstructive knee surgery. The Patriots deactivating receiver Joey Galloway helped make the offense look more cohesive than when he's on the field.

Brady completed 21 of 32 passes for 258 yards and a touchdown to Randy Moss.

Patriots slot receiver extraordinaire Wes Welker played for the first time in three weeks and had a team-high six catches for 48 yards.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco left 10 points on the field with a pair of errant throws in the second quarter. One was underthrown to Derrick Mason for a would-be 38-yard touchdown. Another was intercepted by Leigh Bodden on the Patriots' 9-yard line.

Mason had six catches for 77 yards and a spectacular touchdown catch on the opening drive, but was held to one catch for 11 yards the rest of the game.