Underdog Patriots upset Ravens at home

By Brendan Beauregard

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I was talking to my Dad about the New England Patriots before Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. We talked about how New England only squeaked by with a win against the lowly New York Jets last week, how Baltimore was favored to beat New England by 6.5 points, and that if the Patriots made it a competitive game, we would be happy. The Patriots, however, had other ideas.

New England upset Baltimore 23-17 in the biggest win of their season as of yet on a wicked rainy Sunday night at Gillette Stadium. The win pushed the Patriots to 4-5 and kept them in the thick of the playoff hunt.

“[I’m] really proud of the way the team competed coming off a short week and getting ready for a team that’s obviously not only a good football team, but a hard team to prepare for offensively, defensively, and in the kicking game,” said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick in the postgame press conference.

Belichick is right—Baltimore is a real good football team with sturdy depth all around. Wielding the likes of the reigning NFL MVP, dynamic quarterback Lamar Jackson, good offensive players like running back Mark Ingram and tight end Mark Andrews, and a defense in the top 10 in fewest yards allowed, the Ravens are no cupcake team. Yet, the Patriots found ways to win on both sides of the ball and make big, timely plays.

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Patriots quarterback Cam Newton completed 13 of 17 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown pass—his first since week three—and contributed 21 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown. 

“We’re finding ways to win, and that’s pretty much been it,” Newton said in the postgame press conference.

Along with Newton’s performance, Patriots running back Damien Harris continued masquerading as a running tank with 121 rushing yards on 22 carries. Running back Rex Burkhead also scored two touchdowns and tallied 66 total offensive yards.

Despite their impressive performances, New England’s best offensive player Sunday night, in my opinion, was wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. Meyers continued his solid play of late, logging five catches for 59 yards, and he made the Patriots biggest offensive play of the game with an electrifying 24-yard touchdown pass to Burkhead on a trick play.

“It was something we practiced over the past couple weeks,” said Meyers in the postgame press conference about the trick play. I just put the ball up there, [Burkhead] did the rest.” 

On the other side of the ball, New England’s defense contained Baltimore’s offense sufficiently. The Patriots gave up only 115 rushing yards to a Ravens team that averaged over 150 rushing yards per game heading into Sunday night’s game.

“We played complementary football, which Coach [Belichick] always talks about,” said Patriots cornerback J.C Jackson in the postgame press conference. “We didn’t give up any big plays, the offense didn’t have any turnovers, and we came out with the ‘W.'” 

Speaking more on Jackson, he made a big-time interception near the end of the first half––his sixth interception on the season so far and the fifth straight game he has picked off the opposing quarterback. New England is 4-0 when they have the turnover advantage and 0-5 when they don’t. Keep the interceptions coming, JC.

The win against Baltimore showed a lot about this Patriots team: How they are still in the fight for a playoff spot, their ability to rebound from a rare four-game losing streak, and also their ability to beat one of the top teams in the conference.

Yes, New England is still below .500, but considering how bad things could’ve gone when they were 2-5, you can’t count out this Patriots team just yet. That starts at the top with Belichick.

“Everything that coach [elichick] coaches throughout the week, it tends to come up, and I’m beginning to think he either has like a Staples easy button or a Buffalo Wild Wings button or just a straight direct line to the football gods because he’s, like, a football whisperer,” Newton said

Though Belichick may not have a Buffalo Wild Wings button (or he might not even know such a button exists, for all we know), it goes to show the impact of his ways of preaching preparation and utilizing strengths. It’s like Belichick knew exactly when to switch it up and go with the 20 boneless wings option at B-Dubs, or, in other words, go with plays like the Meyers to Burkhead pass.

The win was a confidence booster for the Patriots and their fans. This team isn’t going anywhere just yet. On to Houston.