The New England Patriots hosted the Baltimore Ravens for a First Round game of the 2009 AFC Playoffs.
The Ravens came into the game boasting one of the league’s top defenses. Right from the opening kickoff it became clear just which team and it’s defense had brought it’s “A” game.
Immediately, the Patriot defense stopped the Raven running attack and forced a punt. A precision ball-control drive led by New England quarterback, Tom Brady, into the mouth of the Baltimore defense ate up nearly ten minutes of the First Quarter. On 2nd down and seven, running back Fred Taylor gashed the Baltimore defense on an inside slant and took the ball nearly untouched 43 yards for the touchdown. New England had ground-down the clock and punched Baltimore in the mouth, and they were far from through.
A key third down holding penalty on the next Raven possession forced another punt. The next Ravens drive ended miserably when linebacker, Junior Seau recovered a fumble. Even after a Chris Carr interception of a Brady crossing pass ended the First Quarter, the Ravens were kept out of field goal range on their ensuing drive when Derrick Burgess sacked quarterback Joe Flacco for a seven yard loss. Patriot kicker Stephen Gostroski then booted a 33-yard field goal to give New England a 10-0 lead with six minutes gone in the Second Quarter.
Baltimore was unable to move the ball at all and Gostroski launched a 52-yard field goal that just cleared the crossbar and gave New England a 13-0 advantage in front of their home fans. Flacco again hit the turf hard the next time the Ravens had the ball, sacked for an eleven yard loss by Myron Guyton. Brady took the helm as the half wound down, not settling for another field goal, and arced a pass over the outside shoulder of wide receiver Randy Moss for a 21-yard touchdown. The extra-point was good and New England went into the Halftime break with a 20-0 lead.
The Patriots received the ball first as the Third Quarter began and wasted no time getting into paydirt again on a Brady to Kevin Faulk swing pass that went 26 yards for the score. New England led by a commanding 27-0.
Baltimore sparked on offense and slowly gained field position, then rumbled into New England territory before running back Willis McGahee turned a short Flacco pass into a 7-yard touchdown to finally get the Ravens on the board. The score was then 27-7, Patriots.
Jarrett Johnson the sacked Brady for a 5-yard loss and the Ravens turned their next possession into another touchdown, a Flacco pass to Demetrius Williams of 7 yards. The score then became, New England 27 Baltimore 14.
As the Third Quarter ran out, Baltimore’s defensive pride continued to show. Dominique Foxworth stepped in front of a Brady pass and intercepted it, keeping the Patriots from a field goal try. The Ravens mixed up their offense the next offensive series, with Troy Smith behind center. Smith, adding a more mobile aspect to Baltimore’s pounding attack and Smith eventually skirted around left end for a touchdown that brought the visiting Ravens to within six points at, 27-21 at the start of the Fourth Quarter.
Brady moved the ball and the Patriots down the field again on a long, exhausting drive. Lawrence Maroney capped the struggle with a leap over left guard from a yard away that moved New England further out front, 34-21.
Momentum had shifted to the Ravens late in the game, and the tireless Patriot defense that had been a brick wall to the Baltimore running attack, suddenly crumbled during a drive when Flacco only attempted a single pass. The Ravens used interchangeable running backs to hammer the Patriot defenders. L’Ron McClain thumped into the endzone for a score to claw back to within six points of the tired Patriots, 34-28.
Brady again directed the competent New England offense, and on third and long instead of opting to let the game rest on their worn defense, the Patriots took to the air with disastrous results. Brady’s throw of an out pattern headed toward wide receiver Wes Welker was picked off by Baltimore All-Pro safety, Ed Reed.
The Ravens took the field once more with an opportunity to win the game when they were at one point down 27 points. Flacco and the Ravens gave up on the running game and relied on the quarterback’s big arm. The New England defense rose up and the clock wore down nearing the end of regulation. Baltimore was warring both the Patriots and the game clock and was forced to go to their Hurry-Up offense. With under 40 seconds to go in the game, Flacco threw a pass for wide receiver Derrick Mason. Patriot cornerback Darius Butler leapt with Mason in front of the right endzone pylon and came down on his back with the ball in his hands, sealing the New England win.
Final Score: New England 34 Baltimore: 28
2009 NFL Playoff Replay
Played using Downey Games' Momentum Football.
What This Is
A play through of the 2009 NFL playoffs. Write-ups are all original content.