Tony Kornheisser summed it up perfectly. "If not now, then when?" he said. He was talking about the Patriots against the Ravens. The Ravens played an excellent game and they played with heart and passion too. You could tell that Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, and Willis McGahee really wanted a win after the death of their former teammate, Sean Taylor, who was buried on Monday. Unfortunately none of them could attend because of their "Superbowl game of this season". That's what they called it. And you could tell they wanted that win.
New England got the ball first and drove into the goalline. Their first two downs were unsuccessful and it was third and goal. Tom Brady dropped back to pass, but no one was open. He scrambled and finds Ben Watson in the back of the endzone, but Watson dropped it. He had the touchdown, but failed to hold onto it. This was an emotional win for the Ravens, who held the Patriots to just a field goal.
The Raven's drive was a good one. They, or I should say Willis McGahee, ran right over the defense to the endzone. Kyle Boller seemed to be playing well and McGahee had the most rushing yards against the Patriots since Willis McGahee from the Buffalo Bills. This is how most of their drives went, run first, occasional pass, and a few well timed play actions.
At the end of the first it was 7-3 Raven's lead. Then I noticed this was the score of the Patriots versus the Bills game. Therefore I figured there's still a chance for a blowout. Wow was I wrong. The Ravens kept playing well and Brady seemed sub-par. The announcers kept saying "Is this the night? Is this the night?". I have to tell you, it sure seemed like it. Monday night football, the opposing team was pumped up, they were at home with a great crowd, and they were big underdogs.
The Ravens were impressive, all of them. Except for the penalties. That's what cost them. Well, the timeouts from the sideline didn't help either. Two more quarters passed and I did not feel any better about the Patriots chances. I was praying for Tom Brady's fourth quarter magic. It seemed like it would come, but the New England offense was stopped twice. What is going on?!, I was constantly thinking. This three and seven team is beating us!
The Patriots had the ball in their hands in the fourth quarter again. The first couple plays didn't help. Then Brady threw a rocket at Wes Welker. It bounced off his hands right into the Pro-Bowler's, Ed Reed, hands. He is a capable return man. He starts running back, he still hasn't been stopped. He gets hit by Kevin Faulk then the undersized back strips him! "I LOVE YOU KEVIN FAULK!" I shouted through the house. Okay, this is where I have flashbacks to the 2006 playoff game against the Chargers. Troy Brown anyone? Troy Brown and Kevin Faulk. What great players! They are the most underrated players on our offense, especially Faulk this year.
Now I had confidence. I wasn't as worried. Then our defence stepped it up and stuffed every run and pass Baltimore attacked with. Rodney Harrison came through at least three times on those two different drives. The Raven's punted. Brady came on the field. Chills went up my spine. I felt sick to the stomach. The nervousness was back.
The drive started with 3:30 left to go. They came out in the shotgun formation. The first play Brady threw it to Stallworth, but it was incomplete. Then he threw it for 23 yards down the middle to Ben Watson. The drive went one. Suddenly it was 4th and 1. Brady sneaks and he is stopped! He is stopped? What? No! This isn't supposed to happen. Wait, timeout? By Baltimore! Thank you so much! Okay, this time we should make it. Heath Evans runs and he is stopped, but there is a flag. Offsides on Stephen Neal. Offsides helped us? Wow. Thanks, Neal. Now it's 4th and 6. Brady drops back. Great coverage and good pressure again, but Brady scrambles well past the marker! Thank Jesus! Suddenly it's 4th and 5. Stop torturing us, Brady! Incomplete and I get up to run into a wall. "Flag!" I hear someone yell. I look. Holding! Thank you again Baltimore defense. 1st down now, and Brady throws it into the corner...TOUCHDOWN! Jabar Gaffney!
The Patriots are up by three after the PAT. There is still 45 seconds left though. Just down score a touchdown, I prayed. Two completions in a row, not good. Timeout Baltimore. Okay, a little rest from suspension. Timeout New England, oh stop with the torture! Good, it's hit down by Meriweather. The last play of the game, Boller throws it deep...Please fall, please fall, please fall...I close my eyes and I hear "It's caught! It's caught!". Oh no, oh no, oh no. I peek at the TV through barely opened eyes. He's down at the three. Thank God.
What a game! That is two weeks in a row that there have been close games for the Patriots. Will this take a toll on them? Or will it help them mentally? Does this show they are destined for greatness? Or does it show they are destined for a loss? I can't wait to find out.