|New England Patriots||0||13||7||0||20|
In his first year, Lamar Jackson was a backup to Checkdown Flacco. He took over the starting role and showed himself as a dangerous runner on running and option plays, but a skittish and sloppy pocket passer. Nevertheless, he managed to turn a bad Ravens season into a playoff berth before losing to the Chargers. In the offseason, Harbaugh then went all-in on a Lamar Jackson offense. Lamar himself improved greatly too. Now, he was a pretty good pocket passer and a nigh-unstoppable runner. Seriously, there would be a defender standing at the LOS in front of Lamar with no blockers. Then Lamar would simply run around the defender like he was not there. For the undefeated Patriots squad, Lamar and the Ravens were a challenge unlike anything they had faced yet.
As they were coming off a Bye Week, the Ravens were well rested and prepared to take on New England. How would this Patriots defense stop the MVP? In the beginning, they wouldn’t. The Patriots run defense showed holes once again (See: Buffalo, Cleveland, Washington) and could stop neither Lamar nor Ingram. The Ravens scored on their first three possessions while the Patriots had three 3-and-outs. Baltimore dictated the play.
The game did get much closer in the middle. The defense put it together for multiple Ravens drives. The offense and special teams started chugging away. Sanu had his best game of his Patriots tenure, catching 10 balls for 81 yards. In the third quarter, the Patriots trailed 17-13 but seemed poised to take the lead on a long drive. Momentum was swinging in Patriots favor. In another universe, this was the turning point of the game as the Patriots made a statement win. But then the Edelman fumble happened.
Marlon Humphrey picked up the fumble and ran it back 70 yards for the score. This completely rejuvinated the stagnant Ravens team. In one play, the game went from a fiercely contested comeback to a stylish Baltimore Blowout. The Patriots did score to make it 24-20, but Baltimore followed that with two 14-play drives, each for a touchdown.
Instead of a statement win for New England, this game was a statement win for the Ravens. They would also not fall into the trap of playing their best football against the Patriots and following it up with a stinker the next week against a much worse team: Even though they celebrated pretty hard after this game, Baltimore won each remaining regular season game too. For the Patriots, they had a lot of film to look over their Bye Week.