We’ve reached halftime in Foxborough and through two quarters the Patriots hold a 13-10 lead over the Ravens.
It’s been a so-so half for Tom Brady and Co. but the defense has done a nice job of stopping Baltimore’s biggest threat, running back Ray Rice.
For Brady, he’s made plays, but has made several mistakes, too. He has 146 yards on 14-of-24 passing, but missed a wide open Rob Gronkowski in the first quarter - a catch that would’ve resulted in a touchdown - and threw a ball that was picked off by Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb.
Fortunately for New England, Brady’s shortcomings have been picked up by running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Green-Ellis has found considerable success against the Ravens’ front seven, carrying the ball eight times for 50 yards. He also has New England’s lone touchdown, a 7-yard run early in the second quarter which gave the home team a then 10-3 lead.
Defensively, it’s been a pleasant surprise for the Patriots. Heading into the game, it was known if the defense was going to succeed, it would have to stop Rice. So far, they’ve done just that. Rice has just 21 yards on 10 carries while the Ravens have only 25 yards as a team. Joe Flacco, meanwhile, has overcome some opening miscues to rack up 162 yards on 11 completions. He threw a deep pass to receiver Torrey Smith which connected for 42 yards, but the Patriots were fortunate the play didn’t result in six points.
Flacco did toss a 6-yard pass to tight end Dennis Pitta in the second quarter which tied the game at 10 all, but kicker Stephen Gostkowski has a pair of field goals which have equated to a three-point cushion for the home team.
Some eyebrows may have been raised just before halftime when the Patriots, holding two timeouts, decided to run the clock out instead of trying for some late points. But with Brady less than perfect so far, plus the knowledge of having possession to start the second half, it was a safe bet to head into halftime with the lead.
We’ll see which quarterback steps it up in the second half. A trip to the Super Bowl depends on it.