Pass defense struggles early, but makes crucial plays
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Let me preface this by saying a win is a win, especially in the playoffs. And the Patriots won, 35-31. So that's what matters here.
However, the Patriots defense struggled early and Joe Flacco ripped through the Patriots defense like they weren't even there. Flacco ended up with 4 passing touchdowns on the night, but the last one came early in the 3rd quarter. After that, the Ravens last few drives looked like this: Punt, interception, field goal, interception. That's a testament to how well the Patriots played late in the 2nd half - they buckled down late and allowed the offense to get back in the game.
Flacco's 2 late interceptions were especially crucial in helping the Patriots steal the momentum away from the Ravens because after the 4th touchdown from Flacco put the Ravens up 14, it almost looked like it was over for the Patriots. Credit is due to the Pats offense and Tom Brady (who broke the playoff record for passing yards and touchdowns in the win, by the way), but the Pats defense needs to get some of the credit as well, holding Joe Flacco and the Ravens to 3 points in the last 20-25 minutes or so of the game and giving the offense a chance.
So, yes, I was frustrated by the non-existent defense for the first half + a few minutes, but they showed up when they had to and the Patriots were able to knock out the Ravens. That leaves them to face the Indianapolis Colts or Denver Broncos, who square off tomorrow afternoon at 4:05, at Gillette Stadium. Obviously, they have some things to work on before that, but for now, let's enjoy the fact that we beat Baltimore, hence knocking them out.