NEPD Staff Writer: Joon Lee
Lets put this out there right away. The Patriots played terrible and that is the main reason they lost. It’s not the replacement referees, it’s not the clutch last drive by Joe Flacco, it was the Patriots playing absolutely terrible in the fourth quarter.
With that, here are my three keys to the Patriots’s defeat.
Awful 4th Quarter Play Calling
With a chance to lock up the game during their last two drives, the Patriots were not able to lock up the game and burn enough time off the clock. During their second to last drive of the game which started with about 10 minutes left in the game, the Patriots began throwing short passes and giving the ball of to Danny Woodhead.
What really puzzles me about the play calling about this last drive was the fact that Danny Woodhead, not Stevan Ridley, was the one getting the ball to burn time off the clock. Ridley has been very consistent this year and has been having a pretty decent game up to that point. Maybe it was Belichick’s lack of trust with Ridley’s fumbling problems
In addition, McDaniels also called almost pass plays on the Patriots’s last drive. The only running play was to Ridley and was boosted by an unsportsmanshiplike conduct on Baltimore. If you were trying to burn time off the clock with four minutes left in the game, why do you have mostly passing plays?
Bad Punt by Mesko
This is one of the most overlooked parts of the game. Mesko, who had punted very well in the game up to that point, punted the ball away after the last Patriots’s offensive drive that had the Ravens starting at the twenty yard line. Up to that punt, Mesko had good hangtime on his punts, but this last punt was muffed and dropped fast. The only reason the Ravens started at the 21 yard line was because of the muffed punt by the Ravens.
This is really nitpicky, but if the Patriots want to win the Superbowl, all aspects of their game need to be consistently good. Mesko may become an All-Pro punter this season, but he needs to avoid doing this.
Horrific Cornerback Play
Some called this game by McCourty one of the worst games ever played. This is a definite overreaction but McCourty was not very good on the last quarter of the game. McCourty dropped two interceptions in the game, although to be fair, Torry Smith made an excellent play on one of the would-ve picks.
I’ve also been saying this since training camp. Kyle Arrington is an absolutely terrible cover cornerback. He is the worst cornerback on this team in the cover and is consistently beat by wide receivers, leaving them wide open. Arrington was consistently beat in training camp by Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker, but also people like Marquice Cole. The reason Arrington has had a lot of tackles over the last couple of years is because he gives up a lot of passes to his receivers, allowing him to tackle them after the catch.
Arrington is the best in zone formation and this is the result of him anticipating well. Please give Ras-I Dowling a chance. For once, he is not injured and he provides size and potential at the cornerback position.
This is a little section that I would love to debut in the week recap section. In this section, I will post some of my favorite tweets from reporters and fans from the game in this section. Here are this week’s winner:
After the Brandon Bolden touchdown: From ESPN’s Field Yates (@fieldyates): “Coming out of Ole Miss, one area of strength in Brandon Bolden’s game was goal line area running. Finished with 27 career rushing TD’s.”
From Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) of the Boston Herald on an Anquan Boldin holding penalty on Devin McCourty: “Wow, I don’t think even McCourty’s mom held him like that.”
From NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet): “So, Vince Wilfork and Ray Lewis both claimed they are from “the University of Miami.” Not “The U.” What gives? Does @mrs75 know?”
Leave your thoughts on the game in the comments below.