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Halftime analysis: Ravens 10, Patriots 7

10.17.10 at 2:35 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” Through two quarters here at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots and Ravens have engaged in a real tough, physical contest, and Baltimore holds a 10-7 lead. Here are a few quick notes:

‘€¢Baltimore stat leaders: Joe Flacco is 14-for-17 for 136 yards and one touchdown, while Ray Rice has 14 carries for 40 yards and Derrick Mason has four catches for 45 yards. New England stat leaders: Tom Brady is 7-for-13 for 90 yards, while Brandon Tate has one carry for 22 yards and Aaron Hernandez has two catches for 37 yards.

‘€¢The Patriots opened up in their traditional 3-4 set but with some serious personnel changes. Vince Wilfork was moved from nose tackle to right defensive end, Brandon Deaderick got the start at left defensive end and Gerard Warren was moved from defensive end to nose tackle. In addition, the Patriots went out Jermaine Cunningham at outside linebacker (instead of Tully Banta-Cain). New England struggled to stop the Baltimore offense early, but held the Ravens to a field goal on their first possession and a three-and-out the second time around.

‘€¢The Ravens first touchdown drive of the day came on their third sequence, and much of it came at the expense of rookie cornerback Devin McCourty. McCourty was flagged for an 18-yard pass interference penalty while trying to defend T.J. Houshmandzadeh. McCourty also yielded a first down when Flacco and Mason hooked up for a sizable gain in a third-and-long situation later in the same drive. Finally, a 13-yard completion from Flacco to Mason later that same drive also came at McCourty’€™s expense, and set up the Flacco-to-Todd Heap 16-yard touchdown pass to give Baltimore a 10-7 edge, a lead it would hold for the rest of the first half.

‘€¢The Patriots offense went three-and-out on its first series, but put together a nice second drive that went for six plays and 66 yards, and was highlighted by a 30-yard pass from Brady to Hernandez and a 22-yard run that came on a reverse to Tate that got the Patriots down to the two-yard line. That’€™s where BenJarvus Green-Ellis punched the ball in ‘€” he now has a rushing TD in three consecutive games ‘€” to make it 7-3. On New England’€™s third and fourth offensive sequences of the first half, it went to the no-huddle, but it wasn’€™t able to generate any real offensive success, with both series ending with punts from Zoltan Mesko.

‘€¢Brandon Meriweather was yanked from the field after a helmet-to-helmet collision with Baltimore tight end Todd Heap midway through the second quarter that will almost certainly bring a fine from the league and left Heap down for a few minutes. Meriweather missed a handful of plays, and was back on the field on New England’€™s next defensive series. It was the second time in the game he deliberately launched himself into Heap ‘€” he tried the same thing on the goal line when Heap scored Baltimore’€™s lone touchdown of the first half.

Patriots begin game in two tight-end set

10.17.10 at 1:23 pm ET
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The Patriots opened with the following offensive lineup:

OL: Matt Light, Dan Connolly, Dan Koppen, Stephen Neal, Sebastian Vollmer
QB: Tom Brady
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis
TE: Aaron Henandez, Rob Gronkowski
WR: Deion Branch, Wes Welker

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Patriots open in 3-4 with Deaderick, Cunningham

10.17.10 at 1:08 pm ET
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The Patriots opened in a 3-4 defensive set with the following lineup:

DL: Vince Wilfork (DE), Gerard Warren (NT), Brandon Deaderick (DE)
OLB: Jermaine Cunningham, Rob Ninkovich
ILB: Brandon Spikes, Jerod Mayo
CB: Kyle Arrington, Devin McCourty
S: Brandon Meriweather, Pat Chung

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Why Wes Welker feels optimistic

10.17.10 at 12:24 pm ET
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FOXBORO — We’re about to find out just how different life is for Wes Welker without Randy Moss.

Welker heads into today’s game with all eyes focused on him. Coaches, fans and most of all, the defensive backfield of the Baltimore Ravens.

But Welker believes he is prepared to handle the added pressure with Moss now in Minnesota and Deion Branch still re-learning what the ‘Patriot Way’ is all about.

“I think we’ve adjusted real well,” Welker said this week. “We’ve had a pretty good week of practice and Deion’s come in and done really well in practice, picked up the offense really well. A lot of the stuff is the same as when he was here but a lot of things are different, too.”

Branch, of course was a Tom Brady favorite and Super Bowl XXXIX MVP.

“Tom’s talked about him forever so I knew about him for a long time, how much he loved having Deion out there,” Welker said. “They seem to have that same connection they had, that same chemistry. It’s great to have him back out there to help us win games.”

However many passes Branch catches and however many times he is targeted, Welker will be the one asked to make adjustments.

“I’m sure maybe a little bit different but we’ll just see what happens,” Welker said. “But that’s what adjustments are for and coming out there and seeing what they’re doing and making the adjustments off that.

“There’s always a new wrinkle here and there every year so you just have to be ready for everything and make the adjustments as you go.”

Read More: Baltimore Ravens, Deion Branch, minnesota vikings, New England Patriots

Brady: Pats better without Moss is ‘foolish’

10.17.10 at 11:50 am ET
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FOXBORO – Tom Brady sat down for an interview Sunday with Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network and gave his thoughts on the CBS report from last week that suggested he and Randy Moss had an altercation in the locker room a week before the wideout was dealt to Minnesota. Charlie Casserly reported that Brady had criticized Moss’ beard and Moss had in turn made fun of the quarterback’s hair.

“There was nothing to that [report],” Brady said. “That sounds like little girl games that little girls play. We are both big boys and that’s not the way it works here.”

Brady was also asked about the loss of Moss and how it will affect the Patriots on the field.

“You don’t lose Randy and say we’re better,” Brady said. “I’d be foolish to say that.”

Pats-Ravens Inactives: Sanders out for Pats

10.17.10 at 11:49 am ET
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FOXBORO — Safety James Sanders has been ruled out of today’s game against Baltimore with an ailing hamstring, an injury that limited him in practice this week.

The full list of inactives include running back Thomas Clayton, offensive linemen Mark LeVoir and Rich Ohrnberger, defensive lineman Kyle Love, wide receiver Taylor Price, running back Fred Taylor and cornerback Tyrone Wheatley.

Taylor is missing his second straight game with a toe injury and was ruled out on Friday.

The Ravens inactives include former Patriots wide receiver Dante Stallworth, cornerback Josh Wilson, linebacker Tavares Gooden, offensive lineman Scott Kooistra, nose tackle Arthur Jones, offensive lineman Jared Gaither, defensive tackle Lamar Divens and linebacker Paul Kruger.

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Inactive analysis for Patriots

10.17.10 at 11:47 am ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” The following players are inactives for Sunday’s game: running back Thomas Clayton, offensive lineman Mark LeVoir, defensive lineman Kyle Love, offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger, wide receiver Taylor Price, safety James Sanders, running back Fred Taylor and cornerback Terrence Wheatley.

While Love, Ohrnberger, Price, Taylor and Wheatley are no surprises ‘€” either victim of numbers or, in the case of the Taylor (toe), Sanders (hamstring) or Wheatley (foot), injuries ‘€” the loss of LeVoir leaves the Patriots a little thin at the tackle spot, and likely means more playing time for versatile veteran Quinn Ojinnaka. The Sanders injury should also mean more playing time for safety Jarrad Page, a veteran who has impressed in the relatively small amount of playing time he’s received so far.

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