Wow. The New England Patriots picked up a huge win tonight against the Baltimore Ravens. After some relatively underwhelming performances, even in a win versus the New York Jets, this really felt like the Pats last shot at maintaining some hope for a playoff spot. It was considered a long shot to be pulled off, but they managed to find a way. At 4-5 now on a two game win streak, it feels like the Patriots are trending in the right direction.
To say the Patriots have had an unlucky season would an understatement. If they score from the 1 yard line versus the Seattle Seahawks, if Cam Newton doesn’t get corona, if Cam can find N’Keal Harry on fourth down versus the Denver Broncos, if Cam doesn’t fumble versus the Buffalo Bills, this season could have been quite different. In spite of that, the Patriots were very fortunate tonight.
The weather was mentioned early on as a potential factor, and boy was it ever at the end. I cannot recall a game where the visibility was so blurred by the rain, specifically on that last Baltimore drive. If you thought it was bad on TV, it was probably 10 times worse in person, making it nearly impossible to pull of a comeback drive.
In that regard, the Patriots were lucky. They were able to get a 13 point lead (a lead that could have been bigger) before the weather took a turn for the worse. The 4th quarter just turned into one big, rain-drenched battle for field position, that ultimately yielded nothing but punts and turnovers. If the game were played in normal conditions, both offenses probably would have had more success, but it seems likely that it benefits the Ravens more in that case.
At 4-5 now the Patriots move onto the Houston Texans next week. The Texans have struggled all season, but still have Deshaun Watson lined up under center. That alone is enough time cause concern for opposing defense. It’s tough to really put a ton of weight in the Patriots defense slowing down the Ravens offense, given that the weather was a helpful 12th defender, but they did a lot of things right early in the game that helped set them up at the end. Watson doesn’t have as many weapons, nor as good a defense as the Ravens do.
If things go our way for the second week in a row this team could be at .500 with 6 weeks left in the season, and a legitimate shot at playing playoff football.
(Originally posted on November 15, 2020)