BALTIMORE -- Sharing some halftime thoughts with the Patriots leading the Ravens 20-14:
The Patriots controlled the first quarter, opening a 13-0 lead. The Ravens fought back in the second quarter, seizing the momentum (going up 14-13) before the Patriots engineered a brilliant two-minute drive that covered 81 yards and culminated in Julian Edelman's touchdown catch.
A key play in the game was linebacker Jerod Mayo's 2-yard pass interference penalty, on third down, which extended the Ravens' first scoring drive and helped them get back in the game. That highlighted the other subplot in this game -- the impact of the replacement officials. When was the last time you saw a 2-yard pass interference penalty?
This is not to say the officiating, which drew the ire of fired-up head coach Bill Belichick, was the sole reason the Ravens got back in the game. There were still plays to be made that the Patriots couldn't convert (e.g. Steve Gregory missed tackle on Dennis Pitta's TD catch-and-run). But it was a factor and it's hard to believe the NFL sees this situation, with overmatched replacement officials, as being in the best interest of the game.
A few other notes:
Julian Edelman played three more snaps than Wes Welker in the first half, as the two continue to rotate in the two-receiver package. Edelman is becoming a bigger part of the offense. Edelman is lining up more as an outside receiver, with Welker in the slot, when the Patriots go with three wide receivers.
The Patriots ran the majority of their snaps with three receivers on the field, an adjustment as they are without tight end Aaron Hernandez and have gone away from the multiple-tight end sets they prefer.
For the second week in a row, a razzle-dazzle play backfired on the Patriots with Edelman stopped for a loss of minus-13 yards after taking a pitch from running back Danny Woodhead on a second-quarter reverse. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels might want to stick with a more conventional approach.
One snap played for tight end Kellen Winslow.
The rotation at right tackle is over, with Sebastian Vollmer playing the entire first half.
The Ravens get the ball to open the second half.