Before a national television audience, the Ravens stomped the undefeated and defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, 37-20, on the strength of Jackson’s elusiveness, a punishing running game and an opportunistic defense.
Jackson ran for two touchdowns and threw for another, which caused the sellout crowd at M&T Bank Stadium to serenade him with chants of “MVP” in the game’s final minutes. Sidestepping and slashing past a defense that stacked the box, he finished with 224 yards of total offense, throwing for 163 yards and rushing for 61.
Jackson’s record as a starter improved to 12-3, but none of those victories have been more impressive than this one. Jackson and the Ravens upset the NFL’s most decorated quarterback and coach as well as a defense off to a historic start.
The Ravens scored four offensive touchdowns against a New England defense that had allowed only four offensive touchdowns in its first eight games. Baltimore also scored 37 points against a team that hadn’t allowed more than 14 in a game this season.
Baltimore not only showed that it belongs in the same class as New England, but the Ravens are threatening the Patriots’ hold on the AFC’s top seed at the midway point of the season. The Ravens (6-2) are 1.5 games back of the Patriots for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Ravens’ first win against the Patriots since the 2012 AFC Championship Game was more than a one-man show. Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards contributed to a rushing attack that totaled 210 yards. The often maligned Ravens defense relentlessly hit Tom Brady and forced two turnovers.
This marked the fifth 6-2 start for the Ravens and their first since their 2012 Super Bowl season.
Describe the game in two words: Streak breaker. The Ravens did more than end the Patriots’ 13-game winning streak (including playoffs). Jackson ended New England’s streak of 21 straight wins against first- or second-year starting quarterbacks, the longest such streak in NFL history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Promising trend: Marlon Humphrey as a playmaker. With Baltimore up 17-13, it looked like the Patriots were marching down the field to take their first lead. But linebacker Patrick Onwuasor forced Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman to fumble, and Humphrey returned it 70 yards for the touchdown. It was the longest fumble return in the Ravens’ 24-year franchise history. This was also the second straight game Humphrey has reached the end zone. He scored on an 18-yard fumble return in Week 7 at Seattle.
Pivotal play: Nick Boyle’s 5-yard touchdown catch from Jackson in the fourth quarter. After the Patriots closed to within 24-20, the Ravens answered with a 14-play, 81-yard drive. This 8-minute, 9-second drive was the longest against New England in the past two seasons. It also ended the longest touchdown drought by a wide receiver or tight end. Boyle caught the first touchdown of his career on his 91st reception, which covered his first 4½ seasons in the league.