When the Ravens have a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, we're used to seeing a "W" next to their team name when we look at the box score the next morning.
Not this time.
Up by double digits with under 15 minutes to play yesterday, Baltimore allowed the Patriots back-to-back scoring drives of at least 60 yards, resulting in a tie game at the end of regulation.
In overtime, after forcing two straight three-and-outs from Tom Brady, the Ravens allowed the Patriots' quarterback to move his team to the fringe of field goal range on the first play of the drive, a 23-yard completion to Deion Branch.
They then let New England chip away and rack up 21 additional yards on the next five plays, setting up an easy 35-yard game-winning field goal for Stephen Gostkowksi.
The Patriots had the NFL's top scoring offense entering yesterday's game, so it would have been unreasonable to expect the Ravens to shut Brady and the Pats down for a full four quarters.
But ask the members of the Baltimore defense if they feel like a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter should stand up, and every single one of them will probably tell you it should.
Part of the Ravens' issue defensively down the stretch was they were unable to get any kind of pressure on Brady.
Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison is much different than his predecessor Rex Ryan (I'm breaking news there, huh?) in that he often likes playing a base look and rushing just three or four guys.
It worked at times yesterday, like when defensive tackle Haloti Ngata blew past Patriots center Dan Koppen and pulled Brady down for a sack with under a minute left in regulation.
But for the most part, the Ravens allowed Brady far too much time to look down the field in the fourth quarter and overtime. The three and four-man rushes simply were not getting the job done, and Mattison didn't adjust and start bringing more bodies in key situations.
The obvious example was Brady's five-yard touchdown pass to Deion Branch with over 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter. On third down, with a chance to hold the Pats to just a field goal, Mattison chose to rush just three men.
Brady had all day to throw (seriously, he could have taken a nap in the pocket, cooked himself some Mac & Cheese, and still had time to look for a receiver), and finally hit Branch after about six seconds of scanning the field looking for an opening. You can't give a quarterback as good as Brady that much time, or else he'll pick any secondary apart.
The blame doesn't all fall on Mattison, because the players are the ones who let the Patriots score the final 13 points of the game to earn the win.
We've grown used to seeing the Baltimore defense force key turnovers, shut down high-powered offenses, and close out wins. But this time, the defense didn't do enough yesterday to let the 10-point lead stand up.