BALTIMORE – Two statements were made in the Patriots’ 41-7 win over the Ravens Sunday.
One, the Patriots still can bring the heat on the road — even their slapdash defense, which kept the Ravens off the scoreboard until just over nine minutes remained in the game.
And two, the Ravens’ offense is pretty mediocre, especially when Joe Flacco is dealing with a knee injury.
The Patriots entered the game as 2½-point underdogs because they haven’t been very good on the road this year. Sunday’s win evened their road slate at 4-4, but they had been just 1-4 in their last five road games, with the only win coming by 3 points against the woeful Texans.
The Patriots finally showed up in the first half, racing to a 17-0 lead thanks to a bad Flacco interception and a couple of timely penalties, including a 34-yard pass interference call that put the Patriots down on the goal line. The offense didn’t do much, gaining just 300 total yards and scoring only 3 points in the second half. But the defense gave an impressive effort, especially given that it lost yet another starter in safety Devin McCourty, who left with a head injury. The Patriots got constant backfield pressure all game, sacking Flacco four times, hitting him another seven times, making five tackles for loss, and holding the Ravens to 3.0 yards per carry.
But this loss was more about how bad the Ravens are on offense. They entered the game riding a four-game win streak, but not because of the offense — they were 25th in points scored and 29th in total yards this season, and probably will drop even farther in the rankings after Sunday’s beatdown.
The Ravens’ offensive line and running game have been a mess all season, with several players, including Ray Rice, beset by injuries. Add two terrible interceptions by Flacco, both picked off by Logan Ryan, and the fact that Flacco’s knee prevented him from stepping into a lot of throws, and it resulted in an inept Ravens offense that literally handed the game to the Patriots.