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The Ravens need polishing to go from good to great
After today’s heartbreak loss, it would be easy for doubters to point to a “soft” early season schedule to explain the Ravens’ 3-0 start. This loss shouldn’t take away from anything the Ravens have done to this point. The New England Patriots are a more-than-worthy opponent who owns the NFL’s best regular season home record since 2000 (winning 74.3% at home). By eliminating self-inflicted mistakes, Baltimore could go from good to great. Four blunders today proved to be costly:
Chris Carr’s fumbled kickoff return resulted in a Stephen Gostkowski 32-yard field goal
Two separate roughing the passer penalties, committed by Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs, led to two Patriots touchdowns.
Mark Clayton let a fourth-down pass from Joe Flacco bounce off his chest and fall incomplete inside the New England 10-yard line with 28 seconds remaining.
Cam Cameron isn’t afraid to put the game on Joe Flacco’s shoulders
From the beginning, the Patriots relentlessly pressured Flacco; he was hit 10 times and sacked twice (not a good time to lose LT Jared Gaither). Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron didn’t flinch. He had Flacco throw the ball 47 times and hand it off just 17 times. Whereas Pats veteran QB Tom Brady passed the ball 32 times and the Pats rushed 30 times.
Flacco nearly validated Cam’s confidence and almost pulled off a Brady-esque fourth-quarter comeback. On the Ravens’ final offensive drive, Flacco led his team 66 yards and was prime to score, but the dropped pass spoiled the plan.
Terrell Suggs hasn’t lost a step
Terrell Suggs hasn’t lost a step after missing most of training camp with a foot injury. Suggs became the Ravens all-time sack yardage leader (437 yards) when he sacked Brady at the New England 5-yard line for a 9-yard loss and forced a fumble that Dwan Edwards recovered in the end zone. Suggs finished the game with six tackles (four solo, two assisted).
The Ravens can’t always rely on their red zone defense
Coming into the game, Baltimore’s defense had only allowed two touchdowns in eight opponent visits to the red zone, good for the best mark (tied with Denver and Washington) in the NFL. After holding New England to a field goal after the game-opening kickoff return fumble, it looked like the defense would continue its red zone dominance. But the Patriots scored two touchdowns in four visits inside the 20. Baltimore’s performance between the 20s needs improvement where the “D” gave up eight plays of 15 yards or more.
In his 13th season, Derrick Mason continues to contribute big numbers
Derrick Mason continues to impress. On the Ravens’ opening drive, Flacco connected with Mason six times – the most by any receiver in one drive so far this season. Four of those completions came on third down, including a third-and-20 that was caught for a touchdown. Mason led all receivers with seven receptions for 88 yards.