Going into Week 9 of the NFL regular season, Tom Brady and the six Super Bowl strong New England Patriots were undefeated at 8-0. NFL fans rolled their eyes watching the previous uneventful Patriots games, like their 33-0 win against the Jets, and shuddered at the thought of the Patriots winning yet another Super Bowl. Some even speculated that they would finish with an undefeated season, as they defeated eight consecutive opponents ruthlessly.
The Patriots played the Ravens (who had previously been 5-2) at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, November 3. The Ravens had been leading the AFC North, and the Patriots leading the AFC East, so a good game was expected. Before the game, when the commentators predicted who would win, three out of seven picked the Ravens. Given the start to the Pats’ season, I was surprised that almost half of the commentators picked Baltimore. The first quarter ended with the Ravens up 17-0 and the Patriots’ defense letting up more points in the first quarter than they’d let up in any other full game. The Patriots came back in the second quarter, scoring 13 unanswered points and finishing the half 17-13. Somehow, the Patriots only losing by four points made it feel like they were entering the second half winning, as they have a tendency to make insane comebacks in the second half.
In the third quarter, each team scored a touchdown, making the score 24-20 with the Ravens still in the lead. In the make-or-break fourth quarter, the Patriots failed to achieve one of their legendary comebacks and allotted the Ravens their sixth win of the season. The final score was 37-20, with the Ravens destroying the Patriots’ hopes of an undefeated season.
After the game, when asked what it felt like to beat Brady and the Patriots, quarterback Lamar Jackson said, “I’m playing ball, no matter who we’re playing. I’m happy to get the win, of course, especially at M&T Bank Stadium. It’s pretty cool, but I don’t really care because it’s against Tom Brady. I just want to win.” The second-year quarterback scored two rushing touchdowns and threw a third, and completed 17 of 23 passes for 163 yards. His outstanding performance justifies the Ravens’ decision to let go Super Bowl champion Joe Flacco in 2018.
The first eight weeks of the NFL were making the rest of the season seem grim for Patriot-haters, but the Ravens finally putting an end to their winning streak raises our spirits and provides hope that there are teams besides the Patriots that have a chance at winning it all.