Report card: Patriots-Ravens
Was there really much more that Bill Belichick could have done? The officials created a tough set of circumstances for both coaches, and despite the frustrations, Belichick's team had a 9-point lead early in the fourth quarter. However, for a second straight week, offensive play-calling was suspect at times. Just as the Patriots entered Baltimore territory in the second quarter, a direct snap end-around play flopped, resulting in a 13-yard loss.
A considerable improvement over last week. Between receivers Brandon Lloyd (9 catches, 108 yards) and Wes Welker (8 catches, 142 yards), Tom Brady was able to develop a rhythm in the passing game. He completed 68 percent of his passes (28-of-41) for 335 yards and a 101.2 rating. Ultimately, however, the air attack -- including the pass protection -- faltered when it was needed the most, late in the fourth quarter, handing the ball back to Baltimore.
While establishing the ground game didn't seem to be a point of emphasis heading into the game, the Patriots weren't able create even a complimentary running attack. Danny Woodhead failed to provide a spark, carrying it a team-high 15 times for 34 yards, a 2.3-yard average, and his longest run went for only 6 yards. Stevan Ridley broke a 14-yard run, but lacked any consistency, averaging only 2.8 yards per carry.
They certainly didn't get any favors from the officials, but the Patriots' secondary was very porous, with Joe Flacco topping Brady in most categories (71 percent completion percentage, 382 yards, 3 touchdowns, 117.7 quarterback rating). Cornerback Devin McCourty, while coming up with a big pass break-up, was beaten to an extent not seen since last season, while fellow cornerback Kyle Arrington also struggled on multiple plays.
The Patriots' run defense, one of the best in the league through the first two games, faltered against the Ravens. Ray Rice was able to move the ball at a considerable clip, averaging 5.1 yards on his 20 carries, while totaling 101 yards. It wasn't a smashmouth, run-all-over-you performance from the Ravens, but it was an effective one.