FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) -- Jarvis Green capped the Patriots'
domination when he recovered the slippery ball in the end zone
against a team known for its own defensive touchdowns.
That was the last scoring play in New England's 24-3 win Sunday,
a rare game in which the Baltimore Ravens had the second-best
defense on the field.
"I think our defense showed that we can hang with the best of
them," Patriots safety Rodney Harrison said.
New England (10-1) showed it could march through a rain-drenched
field and the NFL's stingiest defense. The Patriots gained 314
yards, and Corey Dillon's 123 yards rushing were just one less than
Baltimore's total output.
"We had no rhythm," Ravens coach Brian Billick said, "just
couldn't get anything going."
Dillon ran for more than 100 yards for the fifth time in six
games, boosting his season total to 1,121. Adam Vinatieri kicked
three field goals, stretching his successful streak to 21 kicks.
"That was as bad of a field as I've ever played on," said
Vinatieri, who has kicked big field goals with snow covering the
ground. "This is a whole different set of tough situations. It's
even more difficult for the guys handling the ball."
In their previous six games, the Ravens (7-4) scored four
touchdowns on defense and gave up only five. On Sunday, the
Patriots offense didn't turn the ball over, despite the rain, while
the Ravens lost it twice.
The most important turnover came just 45 seconds after Dillon
scored on a 1-yard run and 2-point conversion for a 17-3 lead on
the Patriots' first possession of the fourth quarter. Baltimore got
the ball back, and Kyle Boller was sacked on the next two plays --
by Ted Johnson and Tedy Bruschi.
Bruschi's hit knocked the soggy ball loose at the Baltimore
8-yard line. Chester Taylor, playing because running back Jamal
Lewis missed the game with an ankle injury, dove after it but
managed only to nudge it toward the end zone.
"The ball just spurted right out," Taylor said.
Green, a backup defensive end, didn't make that same mistake.
"I saw it slip out of his hands," Green said. "Then I went
and attacked it and it wasn't going to slip out of my hands."
All the Ravens could manage was a 22-yard field goal by Matt
Stover 2 seconds before halftime.
The Patriots set an NFL record by scoring first in their 16th
straight regular-season game, breaking a tie for the mark set by
Miami in 1978. But the Ravens managed to stop another streak in the
first quarter -- 16 consecutive quarters in which the Patriots
"Once they got control of the game, that's an awful hard team
to beat," Billick said.
Baltimore had given up a league-low 14 points a game in its
first 10 games and allowed just one offensive touchdown Sunday on
Dillon's run with 3 seconds gone in the fourth quarter.
"That's a tough defense. They're known for intimidating
people," Dillon said. "I'd rather do the hitting than be hit."
Then Boller got a taste of what his defense usually inflicts on
opposing quarterbacks when New England, which had allowed the sixth
fewest points in the league, went after him and sacked him twice,
the last resulting in Green's touchdown.
"They're a great team," said Boller, who was 15-for-35 for 93
yards and was sacked four times. "They force you to try and make
throws downfield. ... It wasn't raining so hard that I couldn't
Vinatieri gave the Patriots a 9-3 lead with field goals of 28,
40 and 48 yards. His only miss of the season came on Oct. 10, a
47-yarder against Miami.
The Patriots took a 3-0 lead on the second play of the second
quarter on the 28-yarder. The Ravens tied it on the next to last
play of the half on Stover's field goal.
One week earlier, the Ravens scored all their points in the
second half in a 30-10 win over Dallas. But New England's defense
is far superior and forced Baltimore to punt on its first two
series of the second half while Vinatieri kicked two field goals on
the Patriots' opening possessions.
Tom Brady's streak of 16 games with a touchdown pass,
including playoffs, was snapped. ... Boller's streak of 123 passes
without an interception ended with Randall Gay's pickoff midway
through the second quarter. ... The 24 points were the most against
Baltimore in seven games.
The NFL says it is close but still has yet to interview the four players named along with Peyton Manning in a report five months ago that linked them to PEDs.
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