Sunday night wrap-up: Flacco outduels Brady in a classic

Getty Images

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco’s been begging for it for years.

Sunday night, he earned the respect he’s been looking for.

The Ravens quarterback stood toe-to-toe with Patriots counterpart Tom Brady, and came out the winner in a classic 31-30 decision.

Flacco was 28-of-40 for 382 yards and three touchdowns, the kind of signature win people keep expecting him to not get. At this point, he’s gotten those kind of wins often enough we really shouldn’t be surprised any longer.

Granted, he needed Justin Tucker’s just-in 27-yard field goal to win it (exorcising the demons of Billy Cundiff), but did everything he needed to do to move to 2-1.

Here are five more things we learned on Sunday Night Football:

1. God bless Torrey Smith, for the strength he showed coming to the stadium hours after his brother died in a motorcycle accident.

That he excelled on the field, catching six passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns made his story more touching, that he faced adversity and pushed through it.

But playing this game might be the easiest thing he does this week. Hopefully he has the same strength in the days to come, as well as the time and space to grieve.

2. The Ravens defense lacks a certain sizzle.

They’re still solid, but without outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, there’s a clear difference in what they’re putting on the field. The other parts can’t be as effective without the pressure he provides.

No group with Haloti Ngata, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed is going to be ordinary (although Ray Lewis isn’t RAY LEWIS anymore), but the lack of a consistent pass rush is going to keep them from becoming a truly elite group.

In other words, meeting their own established standard.

3. The Patriots are obviously smart.

Sometimes they seem to fall in love with their own cleverness, however, and make it more difficult on themselves than it has to be.

Plays such as the oddball-reverse to Julian Edelman (which Ravens linebacker Courtney Upshaw destroyed for a big loss, giving the Ravens a spark at a time they looked lifeless) are cuter than they need to be.

Couple it with their menagerie of backs of all shapes and sizes (mostly small), and it smacks of Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick congratulating themselves for doing things others can’t.

Psst, fellas, here’s the secret to the Patriots offense: You have Tom Brady.

It doesn’t have to be that hard.

4. That being said, the amount of freaking out about Wes Welker the first two weeks was clearly over the top.

Because they tinker, and because they spread it around, it’s senseless to think he wasn’t going to get his chances, contract issues notwithstanding.

With a 59-yard reception early, and eight catches for 142 yards, it’s clear they’re going to give him plenty of chances.

5. Ravens cornerback Cary Williams isn’t as bad as he looked at times Sunday night.

But he has the misfortune of playing opposite Lardarius Webb, which means he’s  going to be targeted more often than he would playing anywhere else.

He turned down an extension offer from the Ravens in August, but needs to play better on national television if he’s going to do better on the open market.

73 responses to “Sunday night wrap-up: Flacco outduels Brady in a classic

  1. You wrote an article about this game without mentioning the officiating?

    That should be the lead. The refs were the story. Two pretty good teams battled it out and both got screwed

  2. Terrible officiating on toward both teams. It probably was about even in the number of bogus calls made against each team.

    McCourty missed so many easy picks it was insane hanging onto just one of those would have meant the ball game for the Pats.

    Kudos to Baltimore for a strong finish but as a Pats fan I’m left angry after this one just because it could have so easily swung in the other direction. Either way, the officials did a terrible job toward both teams.

  3. I have a big problem with this headline. It should read “NFL is to cheap to pay real officials therefore the game is handed to the Ravens amidst BS penelty calls.”

  4. Belichick might have cost himself at least six figures, but maybe thats the moment that finally is enough for the NFL to get the real refs back. Imagine if this was a playoff game, Belichick might have killed him on the field.

  5. One team carved the other up simply by making plays, over and over and over.

    The other was bailed out for two TD drives by penalties.

    We know which is which.

  6. Flacco didnt outduel Brady no way that gm shouldn’t have been this close without the refs help the ravens would have had a much tougher time scoring points god man that was some other type of crap officiating patriots got hosed

  7. The only thing we learned after this game is that the real zebras need to get on the field ASAP. The piss-poor officiating marred would should have been a better game. What a joke this game was.

  8. Flacco also had two additional picks that were dropped, and a third one that would have been picked had the defender not fallen down. In addition he had 2 of his TDs heavily assisted by the refs.

    a completely disgraceful job by the refs, and a much worse game for flacco than the stats would indicate

  9. How can you not even mention the officiating?! Don’t try and wrap this up in some feel good triumph, this whole game was a complete and total farce that should be expunged from the record books. Good for the locked out refs for not caving because they have more leverage now than they’ve ever dreamed of. I will not watch another game until an agreement is reached because this is just loathsome.

  10. 6) Belicheck’s wallet is gonna take a major hit on Friday. Heck, a suspension wouldn’t be out of the question. Very classy there Bill with the official.

  11. 6. The replacement refs have got to go, ASAP. I am a Patriots fan, yes some bad calls went against my team, some helped my team. I’m being real. But this game was SO hard to watch. Every five seconds the refs had to have a ten minute discussion on if it was a hold or not. Seriously. The game has slowed down so much it is crazy. These refs cannot control the game at all.

    Great performance by Torrey Smith. I don’t personally know what he is going through but I know it must be incredibly difficult. He is a strong man.

  12. And no mention of the officiating?

    There was some horrible officiating. How about the phantom holding call on McCourty that kept the Ravens drive allowed that allowed the Ravens to bring it within two?

    How obtain the phantom hold against Gronkowski and the phantom offensive pass interference against Edelman that forced the Pats from a 1st and Goal to back to the 30 and having to kick a field goal?

    There was horrible horrible officiating in this game and for the most part it seemed against the Patriots.

  13. What game did you watch? Flacco sucks… He threw one interception, McCourty dropped two, and Arrington tripped over air on what should have been another int… He threw two on the last drive that a crappy defense couldn’t capitalize on… Flacco sucks… against a good D he ends up with 4 int – and we don’t need to deal with this crap about him being good.

  14. Out-duels? By getting call after call that set the ravens up? I grant you that the final call was definitely PI to setup the field goal, but the refs decided this game more than any of the players or coaches. It’s was not a signature game for Flacco, it was a slap in the face of the NFL. I’ve been fine with them letting players play, but calling phantom calls that clearly do not exist is ridiculous! I’m normally not one that harps on the refs (real or replacement), but this made the Steelers/Seahawks Super Bowl look like a game without flags. Pats still had their chances, and the players should have made plays to close out the game (they obviously didn’t), but these phantom holds and phantom PIs (while letting blatant tackles of pass rushers go without a flag) completely ruined this game. I’m now officially on board with the refs, and say they need to do whatever the refs want to get them back. Maybe they aren’t perfect, but they aren’t scared refs trying to act as though they are in control. This was horrid officiating all around!

  15. As a Pats fan I have the utmost respect for the Ravens. And I second the strength of Torrey Smith playing tonight having just lost his brother. Couldn’t even imagine that feeling

  16. Anyone who ever questioned Torrey Smith has their answer. Not only is he a number one type talent, but he has the heart of a champion. G-d bless you and your family, Torrey, the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland has your back and grieves with you for your loss.

  17. Not to mention the crapload of holding by the ravens OL, one in which Oher had jones hooked and nothing. Or how about one play in which a ravens cb was punching a patriots wr in the face three times in a row after the play right in front of a ref and nothing lol. They need to get the refs back and fast.

  18. With regard to the last few minutes, the Patriots had some key meltdowns.

    Two examples are the following.

    There’s 2:06 left in the game, and the Patriots at that point are up by two and were trying to kill the clock. Brady takes the snap on third down, dodges the only passrusher that was a threat — and then basically panics and throws an astronomically low percentage pass. By virtue of the incompletion, the clock stops at 2:01. With an automatic clock stoppage at the two minute warning – Brady effectively gave Baltimore a free play by having less than ideal situational awareness. It was a total panic job – and a fundamental failure to grasp the dynamics in play.

    Is Brady superior to me in nearly every single aspect in life? YES. But even I knew he needed to make sure he fried the 6 seconds before the two minute warning.

    Another example is Pat DB Arrington having a free unfettered run at an easy pick — and he just falls. No one was near him. No one tripped him. There were no hurricanes reported in the area — no earthquakes. He’s running to make a simple pick, and he falls down as if he’s Otis the jailhouse drunk from the Andy Griffith Show.

    I won’t even get started on how the Patriot defenders seemed to lack an understanding of sealing off the edges and keeping ball carriers in-bounds to keep the clock moving during the period that was relevant too.

    Wow — I’m not used to seeing the Patriots performing like the Keystone Cops.

  19. Thoughts are with Torrey Smith. A football game won’t bring his beloved little brother back. But if he can draw strength from one, then I hope he does.

    No one will remember this game as a duel between Flacco and Brady. People will remember this game for how bad the scab officials were. The game came down to random chance. This game was a disgrace.

    And, remember, casual fans. They are putting the best officials into the prime-time games. The non-prime-times are getting officials worse than this. Think about that.

  20. While he’s not the only defensive issue, actually Williams has been playing like this all year. Have to think the Ravens won’t be making any offer. Surely a rookie could do as well as what we’ve been seeing.

  21. Great game to the Ravens. Flacco was fantastic on the final drive, and Torrey Smith seems like a great player and person.

    That said, the refs were terrible. For both teams. The Ravens’ 2nd to last drive was probably the worst officiated 5 minutes of football I’ve ever seen. The holding on McCourty was asinine, as was the holding on Spikes to wipe out the huge sack.

    The call against the Ravens to eliminate Brady’s INT was bad, but the flag on Harbaugh screamed of overmatched officials deperately trying to make any statement to get the game in control. Atrocious calls both ways tonight. NFL owners and Goodell need to eat the cost and get the game back.

    “Respect the game” my ass. That memo was almost as laughable as the refs tonight.

  22. ialwayswantedtobeabanker:

    yes you are correct that the Pats missed some opportune plays there at the very end but it should never have been a 2 point game there at the end. There was some horrible officiating that allowed the ravens to score that td to get within 2 ie that phantom holding call on McCourty. If I recall correctly that would have ended the drive as it was on a 3rd down (and 16 I think)….yet the holding call gave them 5 yards and a huge automatic first down. That was real big.

    There was some real bad officiating in that game….even a blind man would have noticed that.

    Also there is a reason McCourty is not a WR….guy can’t catch a freakin ball lol….the Arrington thing while it would have sealed the game, he had just changed directions and was trying to keep up with the wr and just stumbled, it happens to all sports players.

  23. Classic slug-fest, despite the horrible officiating – which I have seen the “regular” refs do just as bad.

    Congrats to the Ravens for a hard-fought game.

  24. Flacco threw the game away…luckily for him and his fanboys, Arrington tripped on the way to fielding his pop-fly. Followed by a PI call to move them down the field..not what I call a signature moment. I usually refer to it as luck.

  25. “Flacco was 28-of-40 for 382 yards and three touchdowns, the kind of signature win people keep expecting him to not get. At this point, he’s gotten those kind of wins often enough we really shouldn’t be surprised any longer.”

    This is what, Flacco’s 7th 3 TD game and 9th 300 yard game in 67 starts? You know, Romo has 25 3 TD games and 32 300 yard games in 79 starts. Why is Flacco the 18th overall draft pick a dependable star that has never gotten the respect he deserves and undrafted Romo overrated and almost constantly clowned on by PFT when you guys have anything at all to say about him? Just wonderin’.

  26. #6
    Officiating was AGAIN an utter travesty in a prime time game. This game was so marred by terrible officiating, it’s hard to say that the Ravens won this one on the up and up. This was a gift win. Even that FG should have been reviewed and wasn’t, apparently.

    I am happy for Torrey Smith’s game tonight for his loss and all, but this was just a utter crapfest from the officials. They were inconsistent, confused, and generally inept. This better get fixed soon, because I think the Pats got jobbed tonight in a big way.

  27. Romo has never even had a sniff at a championship game, and steelers and the pats are hardly ever on their plate…cream of the crop. Do you agree?

  28. Mr. Wright 212 says:
    Sep 24, 2012 12:48 AM
    #4 — they still went to Edelman even more when he came back. They don’t want to have to pay Welker this offseason, which is why they’re freezing him out.
    This kind of stuff just reinforces what type of mentality BB haters possess. It’s funny. Yes, BB or any other HC who wants to stay employed would deliberately not use a great player who helps them win and who they just signed to a 9.5 million dollar one year deal out of spite. /sarcasm

    Newsflash MrWright they don’t “HAVE” to pay WW a cent next year. They can let him leave in FA. I guarantee there are teams out there who WILL pay him big bucks, and good for him if he finds one. I love the guy and will wish him well wherever he goes. Just a silly and illogical comment.

  29. Bluebongzilla:
    Here is the answer to your question:
    Because Romo has never won a playoff game and he fumbled 1 away. If the Super Bowl were played September, which is when Romo usually seems to rack up his gawdy numbers, well…he’d probably get more pub than Flacco. But it’s NOT. That team is as loaded as any in the league with talent, and consistently toils in utter mediocrity. I could give a rats xxx how many 3 td games he has. He is a choker.

  30. you could have pulled people out of the stands and had a better officiated game. I stopped paying attention to the game and spent the 3rd and 4th trying to figure out wtf the refs were seeing when they called something while trying to count all the missed calls…

    Someones going to make a drinking game out of the blown/wrong/missed calls and people all over the country are going to be showing up at the ER sundays with alcohol poisoning. If that game existed for NE-Balt you’d have to be irish to even survive that much booze that fast.

  31. Ravens lose on the road,to a good team, by 1 point after questionable officiating takes away a TD and the fans and players are called whiners for questioning the officials. The Patriots lose on the road,to a good team,by 1 point after questionable officiating occurs all game(the Harbaugh 15 yard penalty was egregious,ESPECIALLY when cameras showed Belicheck with his hands on the sideline ref on more than one occasion shouting in his face but no flags thrown)but their fans want to complain about officiating now. They too should be called whiners then.

  32. Big props to Torrey Smith for having the strength to not only go out and play but play really well. Lots of calls were bad but for the most part it was a very entertaining game to watch.

  33. Refs gave game to Ravens. Belicheck should pizzed (and I’m NOT fan of Belicheck/Pats. As a Packer fan, I rather play the Ravens than Pats in Super Bowl. That field goal was no good. Another game decided by refs. In a multibillion dollar business, why can’t they cough up a few million? The outcome(s) of future millions will be much more than funding a pension if they keep these refs.

  34. Would like to see what Merriman has left in the tank. The Ravens D can’t continue to let QB’s dice them up.

    There were terrible calls all around. The replacement refs were so scared to throw flags in the first half because they dont know the rules, so none of them want to be a monday morning topic for making wrong calls. Missed calls happen all the time, but once you blow that whistle or throw the flag, you alter the game and they are afraid of the attention. Then somebody must have gotten after them at halftime because they were flag throwing and whistle blowing happy.

    Its ashame that the owners feel that it is okay to screw with the product that millions of fans whole heartedly support. The fans continue to buy merch, tickets, tv packages, and support the advertisers. Yet the owners are telling the fans F-U , you will keep giving us money and like whatever we put on the field.

  35. What’s the matter Patroit Fan? Don’t like getting cheated out of a win? Now you know how everyone feels about your Superbowl*s.
    Hell, I still don’t think that last field goal was good. But it’s a Patroit loss so it must be good.

  36. anthony20031:

    (1) I never ever voiced any support for the officiating in that game. It was abysmal on so many levels. Some of the calls were astonishingly atrocious. YES, the officiating was Godawful.

    (2) My point was limited to a commentary on how I’m unaccustomed to the modern era Patriots making so many inexcusable mistakes. In a sense, it’s a compliment to the Patriots’ standard of play for so long – that it’s very notable when there’s an anomaly like last night.

    (3) As for Arrington tripping over a blade of grass — I do not find that up to the standard I expect of my high school athletes, let alone a professional one. The athletic degree of difficulty on simply maintaining your stride while untouched – to me – does not merit some clumsy, bumbling face plant. Arrington should have made the play.

  37. To find the answer to the question “Why doesn’t Flacco get more respect?” all you have to do is watch last week’s game against the Eagles. He was awful. Anyone can have a great game now and then, but last week looked more like the usual Flacco than this one.

  38. I am not a fan of either team.

    That last second field goal is CLEARLY no good. I’ve watched it again and again. It’s really not even that close. If the call were no good on the field, and they reviewed it, no way it gets overturned.

    Ravens got very lucky and the Pats really did get screwed on that one. Belichek has every right to demand that EVERY SCORING PLAY is auto reviewed (rule) but not the most important one? Pretty dumb.

  39. delius1967 says:
    Sep 24, 2012 11:00 AM
    To find the answer to the question “Why doesn’t Flacco get more respect?” all you have to do is watch last week’s game against the Eagles. He was awful. Anyone can have a great game now and then, but last week looked more like the usual Flacco than this one.

    You must not have seen Brady’s numbers last week, it’s one week.

  40. Flacco has outslung Brady in the last 3 meetings. This isn’t something new. Flacco deserves the respect.

  41. “Are Patriots fans REALLY claiming they got jobbed? What game were THEY watching?”

    The one where Gronkowski got called for BLOCKING a guy. The one where a helmet to helmet hit on Brady was ignored. The one where the stalling Ravens got escorted up the field on mysterious PI and holding calls that are not there. The one where Chandler Jones was wearing Oher’s arm like a necklace the entire game and didn’t get ONE CALL. Where even Collinsworth said, ‘a little bit of a hold there…’ right in front of a ref. The one where a kick was signaled a touchdown before it went through the uprights, and was wide right. The one where the Refs wouldn’t review the winning score. The one where they added six seconds back onto the clock to give the Ravens another time out before two minute warning.

    I will say the unsportsmanlike on Harbaugh was a BS penalty, but that game was so ridiculous.

  42. steelernationfartsinyourfaceandwinschampionships says:Sep 24, 2012 12:14 AM

    Flaccid will shrivel in the presence of pure Steel… again.

    Yo Nation:
    How’d your boys do on Sunday?

  43. Don’t care for D. Gannt’s 1st statment. Joe is NOT begging for respect. He let’s idiot writers spin their stories anyway they want. Officials were bad for both teams Sunday night. Ravens were called for more penalties than Pats. Pats lost. Joe had the better night. I’d worry about the Jets if I were a Pats fan.

  44. This is a huge black eye on NFL owners for allowing this mess to go on. Get the regular refs back so teams don’t win on BS missed field goals, and simultaneous catches. Complete horse manure that the seahawks and ravens won.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!