Patriots' Keys to a Victory Review: Week 9
The New England Patriots (8-1) went into Baltimore and came out with their first loss on the season. The Ravens (6-2) punched the Patriots in the mouth early and put New England in a bad spot where they had to play catch up the rest of the way. The game was played on Baltimore’s terms all night.
Let's take a look at how New England handled accomplishing, or not accomplishing, their three keys laid out for them before the game.
1) Contain Lamar Jackson
The former Heisman Trophy winner played great in a big-time spot. Lamar Jackson set the tone on the first drive where he slipped out of a Don’t’a Hightower tackle and was able to complete a pass on 3rd down. Jackson finished the game with modest numbers through the air, completing 17-of-23 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. However, he did have two rushing touchdowns and seemed to always make the big play when the Ravens needed it.
Jackson led a 14-play drive when the score was 24-20 in Baltimore’s favor that ended with a touchdown that put the score at 31-20 and put the game out of reach for the Patriots.
Lamar Jackson is truly one of the great young stars in the NFL.
2) Tackling on defense
Tackling didn’t seem as big of an issue as it was vs. Cleveland because the Ravens were just too fast for New England. On the first two drives for Baltimore it seemed like Jackson, Mark Ingram, and Gus Edwards were 10 yards down the field before they ran into a Patriot defender.
Ingram led the way on the ground with 115 yards, and it must be something with the purple and black of Baltimore’s colors, because he looked faster than he ever was in New Orleans.
New England was able to settle down on defense for the middle portion of the game, but they were never able to recover from their rough start and were too worn down to be able to make plays late in the 4th quarter.
3) Protect Tom Brady
It seems like Marshall Newhouse is always in the area whenever Brady gets hit and pressured. Newhouse either gets flat out beat by his man or misses an assignment completely. The Patriots desperately need Isaiah Wynn back.
Once the Patriots went no-huddle and were able to wear down Baltimore's defense so they wouldn’t be able to blitz as much, the Patriots found a rhythm. Brady was able to connect with Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu for 10 catches each. Going no huddle helps the offensive line by wearing down the opposing pass rush. But is that sustainable long term? It remains to be seen. However, Brady was sacked only two times on the night.
The Patriots head into their bye week relatively healthy and are expecting both Isaiah Wynn and rookie wide receiver N’Keal Harry be back for Week 11.
Despite the loss, New England is still in the drivers seat in the AFC. They head to Philadelphia to play the Eagles on Nov. 17.