It hasn’t been quite the offensive performance performance that we thought it might be, but it’s certainly been the tight game that many expected.
The Ravens lead the Pats 10-7 through the first half of play. Here are some quick-hit notes on the 30 minutes of action:
- How about the quarterback comparison between Joe Flacco and Tom Brady through the first two quarters? Flacco is a very impressive 14-of-17 for 136 yards and a touchdown. Brady, the five-time Pro Bowler, on the other hand, is just 7-of-13 for 90 yards. The Ravens have frustrated Brady with pressure, and he hasn’t gotten into any type of rhythm yet today.
- Haloti Ngata might be dealing with a minor knee injury, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at him. Ngata has been a force on the interior of the line today, and he made Patriots center Dan Koppen look silly late in the second quarter, when he danced around Koppen, pushed him aside, and brought down Brady for a sack.
- The Ravens have had a nice balance to their offense so far today. They have a modest 47 total rushing yards on the afternoon, but they’ve continued to plug away on the ground, which is crucial to keeping the Pats’ defense honest and keeping their offense off the field. When they do choose to move the ball through the air, Flacco has taken what the defense has given him, checking the ball down and working the sidelines to Derrick Mason. The Ravens seem determined to win both the turnover battle and time of possession today.
- I can’t remember seeing many tripping calls over the years, but we’ve already seen two involving the Ravens so far this season. The first was whistled against Ray Lewis a few weeks ago; today, Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich was flagged for tripping Ray Rice. Good to see that the Ravens get the benefit of an unusual penalty every now and then as well.
- Yet again, the Ravens are doing a better job than their opponent of limiting penalty yardage. Baltimore has three penalties for 20 yards so far today (all of which were whistled against left tackle Michael Oher), but the Patriots have been flagged five times for 53 yards. The Baltimore defense has done well to get pressure on Brady without hitting him illegally.
- The Pats don’t look the same without Randy Moss. They haven’t taken any shots down the field, and the Ravens are bringing more defenders down towards the line of scrimmage to stop the short and intermediate routes. New England might miss Moss more than some people thought. (How’s that for some alliteration, by the way?)