Patriots at Ravens thumbs up, thumbs down: Boogeymen D struggles in first loss


Many expected Sunday night’s trip to Baltimore to be the Patriots’ first real test of the season and the Ravens certainly proved a worthy opponent sending Bill Belichick’s team home with its first loss of the year to the tune of 37-20.

Baltimore drove the ball down the Patriots’ throat early to take a 17-0 lead, but a pair of Ravens’ turnovers helped New England climb back into the game to pull within 17-13 by halftime.

The Ravens extended the lead early in the third quarter when a Patriots drive was stopped by a Julian Edelman fumble that was returned 70 yards for a touchdown by Marlon Humphrey.

Tom Brady and Co. quickly answered that score with an up-tempo 11-play, 75-yard drive to a James White 1-yard touchdown run to make the game 24-20 midway through the third quarter.

But Lamar Jackson led the home team to touchdowns on drives of 72 and 62 yards in the fourth quarter to pull away for the impressive win.

Before turning the page to the bye week with an 8-1 record, here are the personnel highs and lows from the beatdown in Baltimore.

Thumbs up

James White – As has been the case in recent weeks, White remained one of the key cogs in the Patriots passing attack and overall offense. He had a pretty 30-yard catch down the right sideline to set up a Nick Folk field goal. He then did some damage as a runner on third quarter scoring drive that he capped with a 1-yard touchdown run. White finished with nine rushes for 38 yards on the ground to go with two catches for 46 yards.
Mohamed Sanu – The trade-addition veteran receiver seems to be settling in nicely to the New England offense after just a couple weeks in Foxborough. He notched New England’s first touchdown on a 4-yard catch. He had a big third-down conversion on the first drive of the second half, even if the drive ended in a turnover. Sanu finished his second game in a Patriots uniform tying for a team-high 10 receptions on a game-high 14 targets for 81 yards and the one score. He clearly is working his way well into Brady’s circle of trust and a key spot in the passing game.
Kyle Van Noy – The most vocal of the Boogeymen front that was getting pushed around early by Baltimore, Van Noy let his play do the talking with a key big play to change the game early on. Van Noy forced a fumble on Mark Ingram, ripping the ball out to give New England a short field to a field goal to pull within a score. Though it didn’t end up a victorious effort, Van Noy finished with six tackles and a QB hit to go along with the key forced fumble.

Thumbs down

Run defense – The Ravens built the early lead thanks in large part to a dominant running game that pushed the New England defensive front around. Ingram had more than 100 yards by early in the third quarter, on the way to a night he finished with 15 carries for 115 yards, including a 53-yard long. Jackson did his damage as well, to the tune of 16 rushes for 61 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns. Baltimore, the NFL’s No. 1 rushing attack, churned out 41 carries for 210 yards (5.1 avg.) on the ground as a team.
Marshall Newhouse – The journeyman left tackle continues to try to hold down the position until Isaiah Wynn’s possible return. He struggled in Baltimore. He was beaten for a pressure that led to an intentional grounding call. He had a holding penalty that wiped out a completion in the red zone. It was a tough night overall for Newhouse. It wasn’t all from Newhouse, but Brady was sacked twice and hit 10 total times. Newhouse and the offensive line could use the bye week to try to clean things up in pass protection.
Penalties – New England had five penalties for 38 yards in the first half, a number of which were costly. None was bigger than Shilique Calhoun’s offsides call on a field goal attempt on the Ravens opening drive – Baltimore long snapper Morgan Cox may have gotten away with a subtle head-bob false start – that gave the home team a second-chance at the goal line, leading to an easy Jackson touchdown run. Then there were the holding call and the Brady intentional grounding. New England finished with seven penalties for 78 yards, but it was the early ones that hurt the most.