Final, Patriots 41-7: The Patriots don’t get anything for winning except a boost in confidence. They clinched a playoff spot and the division with a Dolphins loss, and the seeding won’t be decided until next week.
New England did get themselves a complete win, though. There were injuries all around, but they prevailed in all facets. Tom Brady still didn’t put up the most impressive stat line against Baltimore, but he did not need to.
For now, the Patriots have the No. 2 seed, but they could come away with the No. 1, 2, 3 or 4 seed depending on next week’s games.
Stay here on NESN.com for all the postgame coverage.
Fourth quarter, :40, Patriots 41-7: Can the Ravens just start kneeling the ball? This is absurd.
Tavon Wilson picked off Tyrod Taylor and brought it back for a 74-yard touchdown.
Fourth quarter, 1:59, Patriots 34-7: The Ravens wasted our time by challenging a kickoff return. New England paid them back by scoring on a muffed shotgun snap.
The game is now a lot to a little.
Fourth quarter, 2:05, Patriots 27-7: LeGarrette Blount and Stevan Ridley just sealed this one. Ridley had four carries and Blount had three as New England took just under 4 1/2 minutes off the clock. Blount pounded it in for six.
This has been an impressive overall effort for New England. And they’re getting it together just when they need to.
Fourth quarter, 6:33, Patriots 20-7: Joe Flacco came out and threw four incompletions. Duron Harmon, Kyle Arrington, Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins all came up with big plays.
On fourth and 10, Hightower pressured Flacco, disrupting his throw. Collins came up with the pass breakup.
Fourth quarter, 7:56, Patriots 20-7: New England didn’t even take a minute and a half off the clock. That’s what happens when you throw incomplete on first down over and over again.
Fourth quarter, 9:20 Patriots 20-7: The Patriots just let the Ravens got 98 yards for a touchdown. Baltimore was backed up on their own 2-yard line, facing third and 17. It ended with a Joe Flacco quarterback sneak touchdown.
There was some awful officiating along the way. Steve Gregory was called for pass interference for basically getting in the way, they blew a sideline catch for the Ravens and originally called Baltimore for a false start when Chris Jones was clearly offsides. The call was reversed — after the Ravens argued.
Fourth quarter, 12:09 Patriots 20-0: The Patriots are letting the Ravens stay in this game just because they’re not taking enough time off the clock. Brady continues to throw the ball.
Aaron Dobson pulled in his first reception of the game. Julian Edelman is just 9 yards away from his first 1,000-yard season.
Fourth quarter, 14:29 Patriots 20-0: The Ravens tried to put some points on the board with a field goal, but Justin Tucker missed it. He’s been dead-on lately. That was his first miss in 34 attempts.
The Patriots maintain the shutout for now, but there is still plenty of football left.
The decision to go for a field goal was slighly perplexing. The Ravens are down three touchdowns, so they still would have been down three scores with a field goal.
End third quarter, Patriots 20-0: This certainly has not been a perfect game by the Patriots, but so far, they’ve maintained consistency throughout the game, which is more than they can say recently.
The Ravens are threatening again. We’ll see if the defense can bend but not break.
Third quarter, :58, Patriots 20-0: The Patriots didn’t do much except take two minutes off the clock. They went three-and-out and punted.
Third quarter, 3:05, Patriots 20-0: This is a worst-case-scenario game for the Ravens. On 3rd-and-1, Flacco overthrew Dennis Pitta in the red zone. On 4th-and-1, Rob Ninkovich stopped Ray Rice short as Baltimore ran it out of the pistol.
The Patriots have the ball deep inside their own territory, but it was an impressive stand.
Third quarter, 7:15, Patriots 20-0: The Patriots had to settle for a field goal after New England could not convert on 3rd-and-7. Brady hit Edelman for three yards. He was heated for unknown reasons after the catch, which continued as he went to the bench.
Ryan Wendell was slow to get up after third down. I would assume Will Svitek is the next offensive lineman who would come off the bench. Dan Connolly would probably move to center.
Logan Mankins has played very well at left tackle. Josh Kline has been pretty good at left guard,too.
Third quarter, 10:17, Patriots 17-0: There is a reason they call Logan Ryan “Instant Offense.” The rookie has his second interception of the game.
The first play was tipped by Dont’a Hightower before it fell into Ryan’s arms, and the second went off Dennis Pitta’s hand and into Ryan’s arms. He has five picks on the year, which leads the team.
Devin McCourty will not return to the game. He has a head injury.
Third quarter, 11:48, Patriots 17-0: The Patriots got three plays in, and all three were incompletions. They took just over 30 seconds off the clock.
Edelman’s drop on a first-down screen was a drive-killer. The Patriots were expecting that to serve as a running play. When it was dropped, they were forced to pass twice.
Brady just overthrew Dobson on a deep ball. Dobson got one hand on it.
Third quarter, 12:22, Patriots 17-0: The Patriots are winning, but players continue to go down with injuries. Devin McCourty went to the locker room after taking a shot to the head. Steve Gregory was back in the game, so Duron Harmon came in for the free safety.
The Ravens went for it on 4th-and-3. Logan Ryan swatted Joe Flacco’s pass. Shane Vereen is back on the sideline, and Gregory and Hightower reentered the game. If McCourty has a concussion, it may keep him out of this game, but it likely would not be a lingering injury.
End half, Patriots 17-0: There were five flags after the two-minute warning. Wait. Six, actually. There was a flag while I was typing. Seriously.
This game is choppier than the official’s microphone. Get it? Because the ref’s mic keeps cutting out? Ah, forget it.
The Patriots had to punt after they were called for holding and false starts a bunch of times, and the Ravens kneeled on the ball. That was a long half.
Second quarter, 2:00, Patriots 17-0: The Patriots are driving down the field again. LeGarrette Blount has carried the ball three times, and Brady has hit Edelman and Amendola. Amendola got charged with a fumble on his reception, but it was rightfully called back. His forearm was down before the ball came out.
New England has the ball at their own 45-yard line.
Second quarter, 4:38, Patriots 17-0: The Patriots are dropping like flies.
Vereen is still in the locker room, Dont’a Hightower got shaken up (then came back in) then Steve Gregory caught his knee or ankle under him on a dump-off to Ray Rice. Duron Harmon replaced the starting strong safety.
Joe Flacco continues to struggle. He got sacked by Rob Ninkovich on third down.
Second quarter, 8:38, Patriots 17-0: The Patriots miss Shane Vereen.
The third-down back is questionable to return with a groin injury. That was a bit of a mess of a drive, with flags being called on both teams.
Brady was sacked on third down. The officials originally called the Ravens for holding, but they picked up the flag. It was an odd series of events that was not aided by the ref’s microphone malfunctioning.
Either way, the Ravens have the ball.
Second quarter, 11:55, Patriots 17-0: This defense is looking pretty darn good. Or is Joe Flacco just looking really bad? Either way, it’s 17-0 Patriots.
Flacco went deep to Torrey Smith — way too deep, in fact. Devin McCourty had a chance for an interception on the 2nd-and-8 pass but dropped it. It was his second dropped interception of the game.
Kyle Arrington finished off the drive by sacking Flacco. Brandon Spikes made two nice plays in the run game.
Second quarter, 14:58, Patriots 17-0: Stephen Gostkowski hits the 45-yard field goal.
End first quarter, Patriots 14-0: The Patriots are about to attempt a long field goal. On second down, Brady targeted Vereen down the sideline, but the third-down back pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring issue.
Brandon Bolden came in and couldn’t convert on a 3rd-and-13 screen. He came up about a yard short. Blount and Edelman got the Patriots in field goal range with back-to-back big plays.
Vereen has gone to the locker room.
First quarter, 2:18, Patriots 14-0: The Ravens’ drive ended with … a Joe Flacco trip?
The Ravens quarterback forgot to plant his injured leg and fell to the ground. He got back up just to get drilled by Andre Carter. This is not a good start for the Flacco-led Ravens.
On the previous play, Kyle Arrington overpowered left tackle Michael Oher, forcing running back Bernard Pierce to change course and fail to pick up the first down.
First quarter, 4:51, Patriots 14-0: The Patriots are looking a lot better in the red zone this week, and they forced a turnover on defense. Who is this team?
Julian Edelman forced another penalty, and two plays later Danny Amendola picked up a huge gain and broke a midfield tackle. Shane Vereen scored on a dump-off from Brady.
Oh, also, Jim Nantz is pronouncing Amendola correctly this week. But Phil Simms called him a college quarterback, confusing him for Julian Edelman. Whoops.
First quarter, 9:00, Patriots 7-0: The Patriots forced their first defensive turnover in 10 quarters.
Dont’a Hightower dropped into zone and tipped Flacco’s pass. Logan Ryan cleaned up with the interception.
It was a nice read and leap by Hightower.
First quarter, 9:39, Patriots 7-0: The Ravens got charged with a costly pass interference penalty, and the Patriots made them pay.
Brady went deep to Edelman and cornerback Jimmy Smith turned him around as they were both nearing the end zone. It was a 39-yard penalty that put the ball on the 1-yard line. LeGarrette Blount pounded it in for six.
Blount had a first down on an earlier run. Michael Hoomanawanui also picked up a first down on a pass from Brady. It was two-handed this time, not one-handed like last week’s touchdown grab.
First quarter, 12:30: The Ravens matched the Patriots’ three-and-out with one of their own.
Joe Flacco went deep early when the Patriots dropped into zone, safety Devin McCourty showed his speed and reaction time by charging over to break up the pass. It could have been an interception, but the ball slipped through McCourty’s arms.
First quarter, 13:33: The Patriots’ first drive lasted just three plays and less than 2 1/2 minutes. LeGarrette Blount ran twice for five yards and Tom Brady was off on a passing attempt to Julian Edelman. New England punted.
Logan Mankins started at left tackle, Josh Kline at left guard and LeGarrette Blount at running back.
First quarter, 15:00: The Ravens won the toss and chose to defer. New England will receive the kick.
4:11 p.m.: So, do the Patriots put on their hats and T-shirts now, or…?
They clinched the AFC East without even playing. The Dolphins lost 19-0 to the Bills.
3:52 p.m.: Logan Mankins is lining up at left tackle in pregame warmups, according to multiple reports. Josh Kline is playing left guard. That’s how the Patriots aligned after Nate Solder got injured last week.
The other possibility was playing Will Svitek at left tackle and keeping Mankins at left guard.
3:46 p.m.: It would take a dramatic comeback from a Matt Moore-led Dolphins team to topple the Bills at this point. Buffalo leads 16-0, and Ryan Tannehill is out with a knee injury.
If the Dolphins lose, the Patriots would clinch the AFC East.
The Broncos are leading by 10 over the Texans, but they suffered a major injury. Von Miller was ruled out with a knee injury in the second quarter. The Denver Post is reporting the Broncos fear it’s a “significant” injury for Miller. If Miller were to be lost for the season, it would have major playoff implications.
3:24 p.m.: With Fletcher out, that likely means more snaps for linebacker Jamie Collins. New England has been using a four-man rotation at linebacker with Dont’a Hightower, Brandon Spikes, Collins and Fletcher. That likely becomes a three-man rotation now with Hightower and Collins in nickel and either Hightower or Collins in dime.
Rookie Steve Beauharnais and special teamer Chris White are also active at the position.
Dobson may not get a full share of snaps, but he will certainly be out there for three-receiver sets.
To give an update on those games Patriots fan should be watching, the Bills are leading the Dolphins 13-0, the Bengals lead the Vikings 42-14, the Colts lead the Chiefs 23-7 and the Texans are trailing the Broncos 16-13.
Buffalo and Indianapolis are helping the Patriots. Houston is keeping it close against Denver.
3:12 p.m.: Aaron Dobson is active for the Patriots.
Along with Boyce, Thompkins and Solder, linebacker Dane Fletcher, defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga, defensive end Jake Bequette and tight end D.J. Williams are inactive.
2:37 p.m.: Linebacker Dane Fletcher and Alfonzo Dennard may be game-time decisions. Both players were reportedly working with the training staff down on the field. Fletcher is dealing with a groin injury while Dennard was questionable with a knee.
Dennard is a starter on defense. Fletcher is the team’s dime linebacker.
2:09 p.m.: While Patriots fans are getting some last-minute Christmas shopping done before this game kicks off at 4:25 p.m., here are the games they should be scoreboard watching:
New England would benefit from Bills, Vikings, Colts and Texans wins. Currently, Buffalo and Indianapolis are doing their jobs. Minnesota and Houston are not.
If the Bills win, the Patriots will have the AFC East sewn up before their game even starts. If the Texans win, New England still has a shot for the No. 1 seed, as long as the Colts also win. A Vikings win makes it easier for the Patriots to maintain the No. 2 seed, win or lose.
Jay Glazer reported on FOX’s pregame show that Ray Rice’s thigh injury could flare up mid-game. If it does, the Ravens running back will take himself out of the game. Glazer also said Baltimore will try to run the ball more with quarterback Joe Flacco dealing with a knee injury.
The Patriots have been better against the run in recent weeks, though the secondary seems to be getting healthier. If cornerback Aqib Talib can get his hip right and if cornerback Alfonzo Dennard’s knee keeps improving, New England’s pass defense could be strong once again.
Wide receiver Aaron Dobson is warming up on the M&T Bank Stadium field in Baltimore, according to multiple reports. He has been dealing with a foot injury since getting injured in Week 12 against the Broncos. Tight end D.J. Williams also made the trip, according to Shalise Manza Young of The Boston Globe. Williams has yet to receive a target from Tom Brady. He’s probably the best receiving threat the Patriots have at the position.
8 a.m. ET: If the Patriots cannot come out of Baltimore with a victory, there is reason to panic.
This game isn’t quite must-win for New England, but it’s pretty damn close. Victory will vault the Patriots into the playoffs while a loss increases the chances of New England missing the postseason altogether. (It would take a loss in Week 17 coupled with the Ravens and Dolphins winning out.)
The Patriots sit at 10-4 going into Week 16 against the 8-6 Ravens. Over the last six weeks, however, Baltimore holds the advantage. The Ravens are 5-1 over the second half of the season while New England is 4-2. Ten of the two teams’ 12 games during that span have been decided by a touchdown, so expect this game to be close and come down to the wire.
To win, the Patriots are going to need to pressure Joe Flacco, force turnovers and improve their red zone offense. If the Ravens hope to come away as victors, they will need to figure out how to run the ball to keep it away from Tom Brady and New England’s offense.
The Patriots’ defense also has to watch the deep ball. Flacco leads the NFL in passes over 20 yards (77). Opposing teams have targeted the Patriots on 78 throws over 20 yards. New England’s defense has allowed five touchdowns to six interceptions on those attempts. Flacco has one touchdown and six interceptions on deep balls.
It has felt a little different down in Foxboro this week. Bill Belichick was in unusually high spirits on Friday and even changed the Patriots’ schedule around to take the entire team to Peter Berg’s upcoming movie, Lone Survivor.
This is New England’s chance to even their away record on the season. They’re 3-4 on the road thus far, though they have lost those four games by a total of just 18 points.
Kickoff is at 4:25 p.m., but you can stay here on NESN.com for all the latest updates leading up to the game. Kenbrell Thompkins, Nate Solder and Josh Boyce have already been ruled out. The remaining four inactives will be announced at 2:55 p.m. Aaron Dobson made the trip, according to Nick Underhill of Masslive.com.
With Solder out, either Logan Mankins or Will Svitek will get the start in his place. If it’s Mankins, Josh Kline would likely start at left guard. If Dobson cannot go on his injured foot, the Patriots will have to get by with Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Austin Collie at wide receiver.
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