Kickoff returner Jalen Parmele didn’t do the Ravens any favors by giving them possession at their own 11 to start the opening drive of the game, but Joe Flacco and the offense put together a nice long drive and have a 3-0 lead over the Patriots after a 26-yard field goal from Billy Cundiff.
Flacco and company marched 81 yards on 15 plays, and ate up over eight and a half minutes of clock on the drive. They converted on two third-and-longs on passes to T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Todd Heap, and took advantage of New England’s third down defense, which is the worst in the NFL.
Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is clearly trying to establish the run early. Ray Rice carried seven times for 20 yards, and had a few nice shifty runs. The Ravens had nine running plays on the drive overall,
As I suggested in my keys to the game earlier today, if the Ravens can run the ball today like they did last week against Denver (and like they did last year in the playoff win over the Pats), they will be able to control the clock and keep Brady and the Pats offense off the field.
New England has the top scoring offense in the league, so the more time that Tom Brady spends on the sideline, the better off the Ravens will be.