Gone from the ranks of the unbeatens in 2019 are the New England Patriots.
In a game that’s been billed as the first real test for the team following eight weeks of uninspiring opponents, the Patriots did nothing to dispel the notion they’ve merely been taking advantage of weaker teams in a 37-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens which drops them to 8-1 on the season.
While New England should be commended for picking up the pieces following a disastrous first quarter, which saw Baltimore outgain it, 133-4, the team had numerous costly mistakes of its own in the midst of what at times was a spirited comeback attempt.
Trailing 17-0 following Gus Bradley’s 12-yard touchdown run less than a minute into the second quarter, the Patriots trimmed their deficit to 17-13 by halftime and were moving the ball with relative ease to begin the third quarter when Julian Edelman fumbled fighting for additional yardage. The loose ball was subsequently scooped up by Marlon Humphrey for a 70-yard touchdown.
New England continued moving the ball on its next series, which culminated in a James White 1-yard touchdown run, to get within 24-20.
Baltimore responded with a 14-play, 81-yard scoring drive, a 5-yard touchdown pass for Nick Boyle -- who said during the week “we'll see how good they are once we play them” in reference to the Patriots’ defense -- the capper.
Tom Brady chucked up a deep ball intended for Mohamed Sanu with New England back on offense that lingered up for Ravens safety Earl Thomas to settle under like a center fielder at nearby Camden Yards for an interception.
Penalties are a massive part of the story of New England’s demise on Sunday, too, particularly on the Ravens’ drive which followed the pick for Thomas. Dont’a Hightower was flagged for being off-sides and Jason McCourty for illegal hands to the face, each play coming on third down which only made matters worse. The Patriots were penalized seven times for 48 yards in all.
Lamar Jackson mostly lived up to the hype for Baltimore, completing 17 of 23 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown pass while rushing for 63 yards and two more touchdowns. He helped the Ravens possess the ball nearly twice as long as the Patriots did, orchestrating back-to-back scoring drives which lasted 8:09 and 9:35.
If there's any sort of good news from a Patriots perspective, it's that Sanu appears to be grasping the offense quickly. After having just two catches for 24 yards in his debut, the former Falcon matched his career high with 10 grabs on Sunday for 81 yards, including his first touchdown reception since joining the team less than two weeks ago.
Brady, who received little to no help from the offensive line and running game, completed 30 of 46 passes for 285 yards with a touchdown and interception.
This loss will sting for awhile, as the Patriots enter their bye week. They'll next be in action on Sunday, Nov. 17 in Philadelphia for a rematch of Super Bowl LII (and XXXIX) at 4:25 p.m. They're next home on Sunday, Nov. 24 for a matchup with Dallas.