FOXBOROUGH — Quick-hit thoughts from the Patriots’ 35-31 win over the Ravens in the divisional playoffs:
■ Wow. Nine touchdowns combined. Trick plays. Four offensive linemen. A 14-point comeback in each half. Tom Brady throwing for almost 400 yards. Gronk being Gronk. Danny Amendola coming out of nowhere to have a big game. What an unbelievable game, and not just because the Patriots won. The divisional-round playoffs could not have gotten off to a better start.
■ The Patriots pulled out all the stops for this one. Julian Edelman with his first pass since college going for a 51-yard touchdown? Using Shane Vereen and Michael Hoomanawanui as offensive linemen when Josh Kline was dinged up? And this may have been the most lopsided offensive game plan in Patriots history. The Patriots threw the ball on 26 of their first 27 plays of the second half. The only run play? A Brady scramble up the middle. The Patriots called for a pass on 53 of their first 61 plays. But it was the right tactic. The Ravens’ had the league’s No. 4 run defense this season, and the Patriots knew they wouldn’t be able to establish the run.
■ The offensive line had a tough time with the Ravens in the first half, giving up two sacks and getting Brady pounded on most of his throws. At least one of those sacks was on Brady, who should have thrown the ball away but instead sacked himself out of field goal range. The interception over the middle was bad — he didn’t expect Daryl Smith to turn his head and look for the ball — but he did a great job in audibling on the goal line and finding Gronk for an easy touchdown.
■ At halftime, I was thinking this was another mediocre game for Brady, and he was doing more to lose it than win it. But credit Brady and the offense for staying composed and coming back from 14 points down twice. Brady did a great job of making the right reads and finding the open receiver (that’s how Amendola winds up with 81 yards, five catches, and two touchdowns).
■ Possibly the worst defensive performance of the season by the Patriots, although you have to give Joe Flacco, Gary Kubiak, and the Ravens a lot of credit. The Patriots were unable to generate any consistent pass rush, giving Flacco all day to find his receivers. How many times were Owen Daniels and Kyle Juszczyk running WIDE open?
■ Darrelle Revis had a terrific regular season, but earned an undistinguished triple play on Saturday – giving up a touchdown and getting called for holding and pass interference. Brandon Browner also got busted for pass interference, as most expected. But the defense came through in the clutch, holding the Ravens scoreless over the final 1½ quarters while intercepting Flacco twice.
Ben Volin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @BenVolin