Deion Branch Helps Lift Patriots to Overtime Victory Against Ravens

Deion Branch Helps Lift Patriots to Overtime Victory Against RavensFinal, Patriots 23-20: Stephen Gostkowski hit a 35-yard field goal to cap off Tom Brady’s 30th career comeback. The Patriots erased a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to come up with a huge victory early in the season. Stay with NESN.com for full postgame coverage.

Overtime, 5:15, 20-20: The Patriots’ defense came up big with another three-and-out, and this is turning into a clutch performance from that side of the ball. The Pats have the ball at their own 38.

Overtime, 7:00, 20-20: Zoltan Mesko’s 65-yard punt helped the Patriots reverse the field a little bit, and Baltimore starts its next drive at its own 19. Don’t Mesko with the Zoltan.

Overtime, 8:04, 20-20: Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung came up big on a third-down pass to Todd Heap, and Wes Welker called for the fair catch at the New England 13 on Sam Koch’s punt. This is New England’s second overtime possession.

Overtime, 12:11, 20-20: Aaron Hernandez’s first-down drop killed the Patriots on their initial possession of overtime — it would have gone for a first down — and Zoltan Mesko’s punt has the Ravens back at their 17.

Overtime, 13:18, 20-20: The Patriots forced the Ravens to a three-and-out for the second time in a row, and Wes Welker returned the punt to the New England 35.

Overtime, 15:00, 20-20: Baltimore will start at its own 20 after Stephen Gostkowski’s kickoff sailed into the end zone and was downed for a touchback.

Start of overtime, 20-20: The Ravens called heads and won the toss, and they’ll receive the kickoff at the start of overtime. The Patriots simply have no answer for Baltimore’s coin-toss ability.

End of regulation, 20-20: Tom Brady’s 44-yard Hail Mary attempt was intercepted in the end zone by Ken Hamlin, and the teams are going to overtime.

Fourth quarter, 0:45, 20-20: Big defensive stand for the Patriots, who held the Ravens to a three-and-out, and then Wes Welker returned Sam Koch’s punt 22 yards to the Baltimore 47. New England has two timeouts and needs about 17 yards to give Stephen Gostkowski a shot from 53 yards, which would match his career long. The wind is at the Pats’ back, too, so they’ve got that going for them.

Fourth quarter, 1:51, 20-20: Stephen Gostkowski hit a 24-yard field goal to complete a 10-point fourth-quarter comeback, but the Patriots’ defense still has some work to do. The Ravens have two timeouts remaining, but they’re going into the wind. This is one of those moments that can really build up the defense’s confidence after it’s been criticized so heavily this season.

Fourth quarter, 8:41, Ravens 20-17: Nice sequence from the Patriots’ defense to recover there. Yet, for some reason, Joe Flacco ran a quarterback sneak on third-and-short when center Matt Birk was double-teamed, and Flacco got stuffed at the line. Now, the Patriots’ offense gets another chance after two long scoring drives in a row. New England takes over at its own 14.

Fourth quarter, 11:02, Ravens 20-17: That was another impressive drive for the Patriots, who have moved the ball much better in the second half. Tom Brady moved through the pocket to keep the play alive and eventually floated a pass to a wide-open Deion Branch on third-and-goal from the 5-yard line. Branch then took a bow for the crowd, which has showed the former Super Bowl MVP some love all day.

Fourth quarter, 14:53, Ravens 20-10: Billy Cundiff’s 25-yard field goal capped off a 13-play, 84-yard drive that really stuck it to the New England defense. However, credit Patrick Chung for a big pass breakup on third-and-2 to help limit Baltimore to a field goal.

End of third quarter, Ravens 17-10: The Ravens have a third-and-2 on the New England 7 coming up, and their drive was aided by a very suspect illegal contact penalty on Kyle Arrington on a third-and-4 at the New England 20. Looked like good defense from here, at least according to the way the rest of the game has been called.

Third quarter, 2:23, Ravens 17-10: Tom Brady is 0-for-4 with an interception and one sack on third down in this game.

Third quarter, 6:40, Ravens 17-10: Stephen Gostkowski hit a 38-yard field goal to trim the lead, but the Gillette Stadium crowd is getting ornery, and they’ve been booing the home team again. The Patriots have been hurt by a number of dropped passes, and Terrell Suggs sacked Brady to neutralize New England’s chances on that drive. At the very least, the Patriots got some movement on that drive, but they’re going to need the defense to back up that momentum here.

Third quarter, 10:23, Ravens 17-7: Anquan Boldin beat Kyle Arrington down the left sideline for a 25-yard touchdown, and the Ravens have created some separation. This has been Baltimore’s game so far, but the score hasn’t really indicated it until this point. New England’s upcoming possession is one they really need from a confidence standpoint.

Third quarter, 11:42, Ravens 10-7: Well, that wasn’t what Tom Brady had in mind. Brady got blasted by safety Dawan Landry, and his forced attempt over the middle was intercepted by Chris Carr, who returned it 12 yards to the New England 36.

Third quarter, 15:00, Ravens 10-7: The Patriots have some excellent field position to start the second half after the kickoff went for a touchback. Excellent, relatively speaking, of course. The Pats need to get something going here, as they’ve got one first down on their last three drives, including the last possession before the half.

Halftime, Ravens 10-7: The Patriots got booed off the field after some weird clock management from the coaching staff. The Pats stopped Baltimore on third down with a little more than a minute remaining in the second quarter but didn’t call a timeout for 30 seconds. Then, they took a knee to run off the rest of the clock after receiving the punt. The strange use of the first timeout was a bit odd, but after Bill Belichick watched his offense struggle through much of the first half, he probably wasn’t in a great rush to take any chances. That’s still pretty uncharacteristic of a head coach who typically shades toward being too aggressive.

Second quarter, 1:39, Ravens 10-7: That was another poor possession by the Patriots, who got a quick first down then went in the tank. Also, Haloti Ngata abused Dan Koppen to sack Tom Brady on third down, swimming past the center to get right in Tom Brady’s face.

Second quarter, 2:53, Ravens 10-7: The Patriots start their second consecutive possession inside their 10-yard line after another good punt from Sam Koch. Bill Belichick won a challenge that forced Baltimore to punt, and the Patriots will receive a third challenge in this game. This is a big drive for the Patriots, who can capture some momentum before halftime, similarly to last year’s regular-season meeting.

Second quarter, 4:23, Ravens 10-7: That didn’t last very long. The Patriots went three-and-out for the second time in four series, and the Ravens take over at their own 41 after a good punt from Zoltan Mesko. And somehow, Todd Heap is back on the field after miraculously passing a series of head and neck tests on the bench. I would have retired on the spot after taking that hit, but that’s just me.

Second quarter, 5:37, Ravens 10-7: Michael Oher probably isn’t getting a movie deal out of this game. He’s been flagged three times and also gotten away with punching Tully Banta-Cain in the face at the bottom of a pile. The Ravens stalled out at midfield and punted away to the Patriots, who start their drive at their own 5.

Second quarter, 8:40, Ravens 10-7: Oh boy, Brandon Meriweather got called for a personal foul after launching himself and hitting Todd Heap helmet to helmet on an incomplete pass over the middle. Heap has been on the ground for a few minutes. He’s moving, but it’s unlikely he’ll be back in this game. That was a vicious hit, just not what the league is looking for.

Second quarter, 9:54, Ravens 10-7: The Patriots’ third drive stalled at the Baltimore 47, and Zoltan Mesko pinned the Ravens down to their own 9. It was an efficient drive for the Pats, but things came to a halt after a pair of drops by Danny Woodhead and Alge Crumpler. Deion Branch, by the way, ran a great route down the left sideline to sit in the zone before making a 15-yard catch. He’s right at home already.

Second quarter, 11:47, Ravens 10-7: Todd Heap fought through Patrick Chung and Brandon Meriweather to catch a 16-yard touchdown pass. That was a tough drive for Devin McCourty — maybe the first time that’s been said this season — who got bagged for pass interference and got beat a couple times along the sideline. This comes a few days after Bill Belichick gave McCourty some glowing praise for his film study.

End of first quarter, Patriots 7-3: The Ravens are approaching midfield after an 18-yard pass interference penalty on Devin McCourty, who had good coverage on T.J. Houshmandzadeh but never turned his head. Made the call easy for the officials. The Ravens have a second-and-7 from their own 48 on the other side of the break.

First quarter, 0:25, Patriots 7-3: BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored on a two-yard touchdown run to cap a six-play, 66-yard drive that was highlighted by three key plays — a 30-yard pass to Aaron Hernandez, an eight-yard pass to Deion Branch and a 22-yard reverse to Brandon Tate. However, keep an eye on Terrell Suggs for the rest of the game. Tom Brady went low on a block at Suggs on the reverse, and you know Suggs is going to get a shot at Brady at some point Sunday afternoon.

First quarter, 1:17, Ravens 3-0: Tom Brady hit Deion Branch on an eight-yard out-route, and the Gillette Stadium crowd gave Branch a standing ovation.

First quarter, 3:33, Ravens 3-0: Nice recovery by the Patriots’ defense to hold the Ravens to a three-and-out. The Pats held Ray Rice to six yards on two carries and then Mike Wright sacked Joe Flacco on third down.

First quarter, 5:23, Ravens 3-0: Tough first possession for the Patriots, who went three-and-out and quickly gave it back to Baltimore, which will take over at its own 22. Tom Brady targeted Deion Branch on the first play of the game, but the ball got tipped at the line. The Pats then took Branch and Wes Welker out on second down and predictably ran it with BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Then, Brady’s third-down attempt didn’t stand much of a chance after a quick release due to pressure around Matt Light’s side.

First quarter, 6:28, Ravens 3-0: Billy Cundiff capped off a 15-play drive with a 26-yard field goal to give Baltimore the lead after its initial possession. That was a pretty impressive drive, but the Ravens’ failed third-down play was simply abysmal. Derrick Mason, one of the best route-runners in town, ran a seven-hard hitch on third-and-9, and Joe Flacco hit him perfectly. Yet, Flacco threw the ball before Mason even turned around, so that was the design. How do you draw up a seven-yard pattern on third-and-9?

First quarter, 14:56, 0-0: Tracy White flew down the field and tackled Jalen Parmele at the Baltimore 11 during the opening kickoff. For what it’s worth, the Patriots also had excellent coverage on the opening kickoff in January.

1:00 p.m.: The Ravens called tails and won the toss. They’ll receive. New Patriots co-captain Alge Crumpler was out there with Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo.

12:54 p.m.: The players have taken the field, and the lineups are being announced to the Gillette Stadium crowd. It’s almost football time.

11:50 a.m.: Aaron Hernandez will play, but safety James Sanders won’t suit up due to a hamstring injury. Also inactive for the Patriots are running back Fred Taylor, running back Thomas Clayton, cornerback Terrence Wheatley, wide receiver Taylor Price, offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger, defensive lineman Kyle Love and offensive lineman Mark LeVoir.

10:56 a.m.: Aaron Hernandez and Jerod Mayo have departed for the locker room. Hernandez went through a longer, more intense workout than Mayo. He was running routes and stretching, and that’s the type of routine for a player who is a game-time decision. Yet, Hernandez wasn’t on the injury report. There’s a possibility he could have tweaked something during the Saturday walkthrough.

10:44 a.m.: Linebacker Jerod Mayo is also on the field warming up with a trainer. Same deal as Aaron Hernandez, so we’ll keep tabs on both of them.

10:40 a.m.: Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is loosening up with assistant strength and conditioning coach Harold Nash. Hernandez hasn’t popped up on the injury report, and this isn’t a weekly occurance with him, so this will be something to monitor throughout the game.

10:19 a.m.: It’s a beautiful Sunday morning at Gillette Stadium, which is still pretty quiet at this point.

9 a.m.:The Patriots have a chance to build on the momentum they created with a resounding Monday night win in Miami. On Sunday, they can crush another demon, this one from last season’s playoff debacle against the Ravens.

New England and Baltimore get it going at 1 p.m. at Gillette Stadium, and NESN.com will have it covered from all angles.

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