In a back-and-forth 60 minutes of play that featured seven total touchdowns and four field goals, it was a last-second, barely good three-pointer by Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker that ultimately sealed their 31-30 victory.
It was just the final wild thing to happen in a game that was filled with many wild moments—ones not limited to those 61 total points.
Baltimore wide receiver Torrey Smith took the field less than 24 hours after hearing about his younger brother's passing. The Ravens and Patriots had a combined 24 penalties for 218 yards, many of them questionable. And there was yet another bizarre short yardage Ravens play-call thanks to offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.
Baltimore nearly went into the second half with their first one-point lead. With just 1:47 seconds left on the clock, Tom Brady shredded the Ravens' messy secondary for a touchdown drive to give them the 20-14 lead after being down 14-13.
After that point, the Patriots and Ravens traded blows, with alternating run and pass plays serving to befuddle both groups of cornerbacks. Baltimore had 11 second-half first downs via the pass; the Patriots, nine. As such, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco ended his day completing 28 of his 39 passes, for 382 yards, three touchdowns and one first-quarter pick.
The aforementioned Smith was Flacco's most productive receiving target, catching six of 10 passes for 127 yards and two scores. All told, Flacco had five receivers with at least 48 yards in the game, enough to beat out the efforts of the Patriots.
But what really defined this game was its final seven minutes. Baltimore, down by nine, rallied to score a touchdown (a five-yard pass to Torrey Smith to cap off an eight-play, 92 yard, 3:38 drive) and then, finally, that Tucker field goal to end the game.
That touchdown drive featured just one run, and the game was decidedly just as pass-heavy as the Ravens continuously were playing catch-up to the Patriots (42 passes, 26 runs for Baltimore), and again took advantage of the Patriots' secondary.
However, Brady wasn't able to do so to Baltimore as he had for most of the night (notably attacking cornerback Cary Williams). The Ravens defense held them to a drive that stalled just one yard into Baltimore territory and Flacco again passed his offense down the field to set up the Tucker kick.
The kick, though? It was tipped slightly by Vince Wilfork and nearly didn't make it within the uprights. It was close, but in, and the Ravens ended up on the positive end of a Sunday night shootout.
It wasn't perfect. Baltimore had 14 called penalties for 135 yards and Cameron called a Bernard Pierce run on 4th-and-1 (with a handoff three yards behind the line of scrimmage) instead of giving Ray Rice the ball—his second questionable short-yardage decision in as many weeks.
Rice at least had over 100 rushing yards on the day—101, in fact, on 20 carries, plus a score—as well as five receptions for 49 yards—his overall most impressive showing of the year, despite there being situations in which his services would have been more effective.
However, when it came down to winning this game, the Ravens were able to come together on both offense and defense late in the fourth quarter, under immense pressure. In an otherwise chaotic 53 previous minutes, Baltimore was able to get organized with the goal of victory in mind.
Nothing much in this game went as planned—except, of course, that the Ravens likely expected to win, and ultimately did.
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