Ravens-Patriots produces good drama

Ravens-Patriots produces good drama
January 18, 2013, 1:30 pm
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Ravens won't be intimidated to face New England

The Ravens opened the season on Monday Night Football, and by Week 3 vs. the New England Patriots they were on national TV again for Sunday Night Football. The Ravens pulled out a 31-30 victory, just the second time they’d beaten the Patriots in 9 meetings.

Aside from the game being a rematch of previous season’s AFC title game won by the Patriots 23-20, there were plenty of storylines:

Tragedy strikes: Ravens receiver Torrey Smith played less than 24 hours after his younger brother, Tevin Jones, 19, died in a motorcycle accident, scoring 2 touchdowns and catching 6 passes for a team-high 127 yards. “It was tough. I didn't know until 4 o'clock if I was going to play," Smith said. "I only had like an hour of sleep. Emotionally, I didn't know how I was going to hold up." Smith had left the team hotel at 1 a.m. Sunday to be with his family. “When I came here, the more I was grounded. The more comfortable I began to feel. I'm glad I came back up here. It helped me out a lot."

Blown leads: The loss dropped the Patriots to 1-2. It marked the first time they fell below .500 for the first time since Week 1 of the 2003 season. "We didn't do what we needed to do to help our offense tonight," Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. "We had a pretty good idea of how we wanted to play it. First quarter, it showed. It seems after that, we really couldn't get off the field. Offense played their tails off and we just left them out to dry. We can't do that.” The Patriots led 13-0 in the first quarter and 30-21 to start the fourth.

Good call: Much was made of the Ravens sticking with undrafted rookie kicker Justin Tucker over veteran Billy Cundiff, who had missed a 32-yarder in last season’s AFC championship game that would've sent the game into overtime. Tucker nailed a 27-yard field goal on the final play for the victory.

Replacement refs: The NFL was mired in a labor dispute with the referees association. In their third, and final, week of officiating games Patriots coach Bill Belichick voiced his discontent. Tucker’s kick was set up by a pass interference call on Devin McCourty. Belichick grabbed a referee by the arm as they ran off the field. “I'm not going to comment on that," Belichick said. "You saw the game. What did we have, 30 penalties called in that game?" The Patriots had 10 penalties for 83 yards. The Ravens had 14 for 135.