By Hal Bent
The New England Patriots went into Baltimore to face off against the Ravens on Sunday in a rematch of the past two AFC Championship Games. On an unseasonably warm December day, it was the Patriots flexing their muscle on both sides of the ball and leaving with a 41-7 victory. While not squashing the Ravens’ playoff chances—as the Miami Dolphins had already lost to Buffalo by kickoff—the AFC East champion Patriots dealt the Ravens’ postseason chances a mighty blow.
Coming out of the game, the Patriots showed the nation again that this squad is never to be counted out as long as quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick are around. The Patriots played a strong game on both sides of the ball to win soundly. It was a closer game than the final score indicated, as the Ravens hung around until the end. In the end, New England put the Ravens away with a strong defensive stand followed by a backbreaking drive.
There were three keys playing out in the game that may make for success this Sunday against Buffalo and carry over into the playoffs for New England: The Patriots’ defense stepped up to make big plays and create turnovers, the New England offense was able to run the ball effectively on the road against a top defense, and again the team on both sides of the ball overcame injuries to key players to claim a much-needed signature road victory.
Injuries Continue to Pile Up
Running back Shane Vereen and safety Devin McCourty became the latest injured players for a Patriots squad that has dealt with injury after injury all season long. New England continued to be ravaged by injuries against Baltimore on Sunday...