Are the Ravens good enough offensively for the playoffs?
Tom Brady doesn’t have Ed Reed to kick around – or kick – anymore. But will the Patriots quarterback continue to struggle against the new-look Ravens defense?
No team has flustered or frustrated Brady more than the Ravens, who welcome Brady and the Patriots to M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday in a game with huge playoff implications.
The Ravens have beaten Brady and the Patriots twice in a row, and were a Lee Evans catch away from making the streak three in a row. Overall, Brady is 5-3 against the Ravens -- 4-1 in the regular season, with the one loss coming in Baltimore last year, and 1-2 in the playoffs.
In eight career games against the Ravens, Brady has thrown eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The Ravens are the only team that he has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns passes against.
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“It would be nice to go out there and play this team and play them well for once,” Brady said on Wednesday. “We haven’t done a great job against them offensively.”
In the AFC title game at Foxborough last season, Brady was 29-for-54 for 320 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. But the Patriots were shut out in the second half as the Ravens pulled away to a 28-13 win. Brady was frustrated as the Ravens pulled away to a 28-13 win. It marked the first time in 68 games that a Brady-led Patriots team lost at home after leading at halftime.
One of the takeaway images of that game was Brady sliding to the turf late in the first half, then kicking up his leg as Reed closed in. There was no flag on the play, but Reed was shaken up as he landed awkwardly when he tried to avoid being kicked. Several Ravens thought the kick was intentional, and although there was no flag, Brady was later fined $10,000 for the play.
There is no more Reed, no more Ray Lewis, no more Bernard Pollard, a one-man Patriots wrecking crew who ended Brady’s season with a hit to his knee in 2008. But, Brady said, there is still plenty left.
“They’re still a great defense without them,” Brady said Wednesday. “I think they still really carry over from what they’ve done. They obviously have a lot of leadership with Haloti and Suggs and McClain and Lardarius Webb. They still have All-Pros at these positions. They’re still a great team.”