Our Gambling News Section Has Moved. Visit Our New Online Gambling News Section For Current Articles

Baltimore Ravens Hand NE Patriots First Home Playoff Loss Since '78

NFL News - January 10th, 2010 - Written by Bryan

ravensWho saw this coming?

Who saw the New England Patriots being held to -19 passing yards, and -8 total yards by thetime the Baltimore Ravens had 100? Who saw Baltimore's first-ever win over New England being a 19-point blowout on the road in the playoffs?

Tom Brady turned the ball over four times, Ray Rice ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns, and the Ravens rolled to a 33-14 win in Sunday's wild card round.

The Ravens were given a 2 1/2-point spread in most NFL Betting Lines, but that head start grew to 24 in about 15 minutes after Rice took off for an 83-yard touchdown on the game's first play, and Baltimore followed up with three unanswered scores.

"One thing we said as an offense is we want to start games fast," Rice said on ESPN.com. "I wanted to be the guy today to start fast, whether it was a 5-yard run or an 83-yard run. I wanted to be the guy to say this will be a fast-tempo game. We want the other team to play catch-up to us."

Brady had never lost in Gillette Stadium in the playoffs, and the Patriots were the only team in the AFC to be perfect at home this year.

Moreover, Baltimore had never beaten the Patriots in the team's 14-year history, previously going 0-5 since 1995, when the team was then in Cleveland. But the swarming defense held New England to under 200 total yards for the first time this season, and the Ravens now advance to play the Indianapolis Colts in the divisional round.

"All of us that participated in the game are accountable for our performance," New England head coach Bill Belichick said, "and I don't think anybody felt very good about it, players, coaches, anybody."

Certainly, it was a day to be forgotten for Belichick's team that has now failed to reach the conference championship game for only the second time in the last four years. As noted by ProFootballTalk, New England has now been a part of every playoff scenario dating back to 2004. In order of descending satisfaction, they have won the Super Bowl (2004), lost in the Super Bowl (2007), lost in the AFC Championship (2006), lost in the divisional round, (2005), lost in the wild card round (2009), and missed the postseason altogether (2008).

The Ravens only got 34 yards passing out of Joe Flacco because of windy conditions, but outgained the Patriots 234-64 on the ground and had three different rushers with a score. Flacco was hardly touched throughout the game, never knocked down, pressured or sacked.

"Playing the way we did today we're not going to beat anybody," Brady said.

If Rice's big run wasn't enough to signal disaster for New England, Brady certainly made sure he did his part. Once football's best clutch performer, Brady was sloppy throughout, completing only 21 of 37 passes for 135 yards, and was intercepted three times. His fumble on the Patriots' first possession following Rice's score opened the door for Le'Ron McClain's one-yard score to make it 14-0.

He had been faltering down the stretch in the regular season amidst reports that he was playing with broken ribs and fingers, throwing at least one pick in five of the last six games. Those ailments were evident Sunday through his wobbly passes and indecisiveness that made it impossible for the Patriots to regain any momentum in the game, and New England never scored back-to-back points. He turned the ball over three times in the first four possessions.

Rice then scored his second touchdown from a yard out before Billy Cundiff hit a 27-yard field goal at the tail end of the first quarter to make it a 24-0 lead.

"Their era is not over, they know how to win," Rice said, "But for the Ravens, to beat the New England Patriots set a precedent. We'll always remember this win."

Baltimore started the day as with +1000 odds to win the AFC Championship and +2500 to win the entire NFL Playoffs, but it's dominating defense look nostalgic and similar to last year's team that reached the conference title game.

Ray Lewis led the defense with 13 tackles, and Dominic Foxworth and Dawan Landry each added 10.

"Any time we get a lead, it's hard to come back on our defense," Lewis said.