In actuality, this was an amazingly close nail-biter that ultimately came down to a major mistake that some will no doubt say gifted the New England Patriots the win in a game it was one play away from losing.
For the 3rd time today, Baltimore takes the lead. Justin Tucker makes 25-yard FG as Ravens lead Patriots, 31-28. pic.twitter.com/pyIZGXECO5
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 11, 2015
Even though the Baltimore Ravens will walk away the losers, it cannot be said that New England coasted its way to a victory.
Indeed, the Patriots were forced to play for every point.
The home team was in trouble from the very beginning, finding itself down 14-0 until the closing minutes of the 1st quarter. Then it was Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady himself, who dashed into the end zone to make it a 14-7 game.
But Brady grew increasingly frustrated as the Ravens again pulled ahead.
The Patriots were down 21 to 28 in the 3rd quarter when one of the most interesting plays of the post-season (and perhaps the entire season) happened.
Brady throws it to Edelman. Who throws it DEEP to Amendola. Who scores from 51 yards out. Because…PLAYOFFS!! http://t.co/LER3D51H7c
— NFL (@nfl) January 11, 2015
Brady tossed the ball to Julian Edelman, who then managed to throw it 51 yards and find Danny Amendola for the game-tying touchdown. It was suddenly a 28-28 game.
Many will say that here is where the trouble started for the Baltimore Ravens.
Even though a successful field goal gave the visitors a 31-28 lead, many wondered why the Ravens didn’t push through New England’s weakened defense for a touchdown.
This question would only revive itself when Flacco bested the New England defense for a gain of 17 on 4th down a few minutes later.
CLUTCH! Flacco finds Daniels for the FIRST DOWN after a gain of 17 on 4th down. 2:00 minutes left. Incredible. #BALvsNE
— NFL (@nfl) January 11, 2015
Ravens fans and NFL pundits will no doubt ask this question again tomorrow, after New England’s Brandon LaFell caught the pass that made it a 35-31 in favor of the Patriots.
Had Baltimore pushed their luck sooner, perhaps it would have been 35-35 game in the closing two minutes.
This would have meant that when a certain play happened with nearly a minute and a half to go, the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens would have gone into overtime.
Or if Joe Flacco had been accurate in his throw, the Ravens would have marched into the AFC Conference Championship game.
Instead, a potential touchdown (and game-winning) pass was picked off by New England defensive back Duron Harmon with less a little over 90 seconds left in the game.
Duron Harmon just made the biggest play of his life. pic.twitter.com/8WukdbmRgn
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) January 11, 2015
Advantage immediately shifted to New England, which was content to hold onto the ball for what little of the game remained.
Joe Flacco tried to throw a Hail Mary pass in the game’s closing seconds, but it was incomplete.
The game ended 35-31, and it will be New England at home once again versus either the Indianapolis Colts or Denver Broncos.
— Post Sports (@PostSports) January 11, 2015
After Tom Brady went trough the trouble of smashing Broncos quarterback Peyton Mannings’s NFL playoff record for most passing yards in postseason history, no doubt his long-time rival will want to head to New England to answer the challenge in person.
What did you think of this New England Patriots vs. Baltimore Ravens game?
[Image Credit: Fox Sports NFL Twitter]