FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots aren’t looking to give the Baltimore Ravens any free yards Saturday.
Quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens are exceptional at drawing penalties, leading the NFL in yards gained off defensive pass interference in 2014 (315 yards) and four of the last five seasons. The Ravens were second in yards gained off DPI in 2012 and fifth in 2009.
The Patriots, who will host the Ravens in a divisional-round playoff game, are well aware of these stats.
“They do a great job of making defenders get that pass interference call,” cornerback Darrelle Revis said Wednesday in the Patriots’ locker room. “We see it all the time on film. We recognize that, and we got techniques on that that we’ve been working on. We recognize these things, and we see them on film, and the only thing we can do is prepare the best way, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Flacco already is one of the best deep passers in the NFL, and his ability to draw pass interference flags makes him that much more dangerous.
Flacco threw for 663 yards with 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions this season on passes that traveled over 20 yards. He also drew nine pass interference penalties on throws over 20 yards, gaining an additional 247 yards.
The Patriots have been flagged for pass interference nine times for 148 yards this season. Cornerback Brandon Browner leads the team with five pass interference penalties for 58 yards.
The Patriots lost a game to the Ravens in September 2012 because of a pass interference penalty, as the MetroWest Daily News’ Tim Whelan pointed out on Twitter. The Ravens had the ball on the Patriots’ 34-yard line, facing third-and-9 with 52 seconds on the clock and trailing 30-28. Flacco targeted wide receiver Torrey Smith, drew a 27-yard pass interference flag on Patriots safety Devin McCourty, and the Ravens hit a field goal to win as time expired.
The Patriots know they can’t be exploited like that Saturday, with their season on the line.
Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images
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