The Baltimore Ravens erased an early 13-0 deficit and came back from being down 30-21 in the fourth quarter to beat the New England Patriots, 31-30, on Sept. 23 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md.

The Ravens fell to the Patriots by just three points in the AFC Championship game in January, allowing the Pats to go on to the Super Bowl while Baltimore went home to watch as losers. But the Ravens were able to avenge their heart-crushing loss with a home victory on a nationally televised Sunday Night Football matchup. Here’s how the game played out:

The Ravens clinched their revenge over the Patriots when…
Rookie kicker Justin Tucker nailed a 27-yard field goal as the game clock reached zero. The Ravens lost the AFC title game on a last-second missed field goal by former kicker Billy Cundiff, so Tucker’s game-winning kick was fitting redemption.

Most Outstanding Player of the Game:
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was on fire throughout most of the game, completing 28 of 39 passes for 382 yards, three touchdowns and a stellar passer rating of 117.7. He tossed an interception early in the game, but responded well, outperforming Tom Brady, who completed 28 of 41 passes for 334 yards, one touchdown and a 101.2 passer rating.

Most of Flacco’s passes were caught by second-year receiver Torrey Smith, who played a very emotional game after losing his younger brother to a deadly motorcycle accident less than a day before. Smith led all Ravens receivers with six catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns.

Unsung Hero of the Game:
When Flacco wasn’t lighting up the Patriots defense, the Ravens leaned on their running game. Ray Rice rushed for 101 yards on 20 carries thanks to fullback Vonta Leach, who plowed open holes for Rice to dash through. Leach also opened up running lanes for backup running back Bernard Pierce, who had 17 yards on four carries, and caught a couple of passes for seven yards.

More Game Notes:
The Ravens put up 503 total yards of offense, compared to the Patriots’ 396 yards. New England, however, led with 33 total first downs compared to the Ravens’ 28 first downs; the Patriots also won a slight edge in the time of possession battle, holding the ball 31 total minutes compared to the Ravens’ 29 minutes of offensive possession.

On defense, the Ravens were led by cornerback Cary Williams with 10 tackles, while veteran linebacker Ray Lewis had seven tackles. Pats linebacker J. Mayo led his team with nine tackles.

The Ravens (2-1) will face the Cleveland Browns (0-3) on Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. The Patriots (1-2) take on the Buffalo Bills (2-1) on Sept. 30 at 1 p.m.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor