Halftime analysis: Patriots 13, Ravens 10
|01.22.12 at 4:35 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Two quarters are in the books here at Gillette Stadium, and the Patriots hold a 13-10 lead. Here are a few quick notes:
For the Patriots, Tom Brady was 14-for-24 for 146 yards and one interception. In addition, BenJarvus Green-Ellis has eight carries for 50 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Joe Flacco was 11-for-16 for 162 yards and one touchdown and Torrey Smith has two catches for 53 yards.
The Patriots were able to get on the board late in the first quarter when the Ravens stopped them in the red zone and New England had to settle for a 29-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski to make it 3-0 with 5:49 left in the first quarter. However, Brady was off a little in the early going, missing on a couple of balls, including one to Rob Gronkowski down the middle of the field that would have almost certainly gone for a touchdown. Brady also had at least one ball tipped, and one picked off on a great interception by Baltimore cornerback Lardarius Webb on a ball meant for Julian Edelman. The Ravens were able to cash in with an eight-play drive that ended with a 20-yard field goal from Billy Cundiff with 14:21 left in the half to make it 3-3.
The two teams traded touchdowns late in the half. The first touchdown of the day came on a seven-yard run from Green-Ellis with 10:35 left in the second quarter at the end of a 10-play, 75-yard drive. On that sequence, the Patriots were able to spread the Ravens out, and New England took advantage in the running game, handing the ball to Green-Ellis for big chunks of yardage. (The ground game was something they didn’t use effectively in last year’s playoff loss to the Jets when they had the opportunity.) The Patriots ended the half with a 35-yard field goal from Gostkowski with 3:04 left to make it 13-10.
The Ravens answered with 6:03 left in the first half on a six-yard Flacco to Dennis Pitta touchdown pass to tie it at 10. For all the slings and arrows that Flacco took over the course of the week, it was a very nice play for the quarterback, who displayed great patience and held the ball for just long enough before delivering the pass in a very tight window. (Flacco did miss a big throw later in the half to a wide-open Smith.)
Through the early going, Edelman lined up at cornerback, punt returner, wide receiver and running back.
Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork was immense in the early going. He was able to occupy at least two blockers on a first-quarter passing play that allowed Mark Anderson free access to Flacco for a sack, and he was able to pick up a sack of his own late in the same quarter. (Needless to say, Baltimore center Ben Grubbs is having a rough afternoon.) The Patriots’ defense was up to the task early on, but Patrick Chung was fooled badly on a play action fake that led to a 42-yard pickup for the Ravens on a Flacco-to-Smith ball with just over two minutes left in the first quarter.