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Patriots taking advantage of Ravens' kindness

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Sometimes, the scoreboard can be misleading. Not this time.

In a battle of AFC contenders, the New England Patriots have been the better team through the first 30 minutes and lead the Baltimore Ravens 17-7 at halftime in Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots have played well in most phases of the game and are capitalizing on Baltimore's mistakes. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has made two second-quarter boo-boos that turned surefire points into bupkis.

Flacco underthrew receiver Derrick Mason, who broke past cornerback Leigh Bodden's jam for what should have been a 38-yard touchdown pass. Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather tipped the pass away.

The Ravens should have tacked on at least a field goal at the end of the second quarter, but Flacco threw an interception to Bodden, who made a scintillating sideline grab.

New England also has benefited from untimely Baltimore penalties.

Tom Brady has sprayed the ball around to six targets, completing 9 of 14 passes for 117 yards. Brady also ran for a touchdown -- just the sixth of his career -- and Sammy Morris scored from 12 yards out.