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Patriots 23, Ravens 20, OT

Wide receiver Deion Branch, in his return to the Patriots, reacts after catching a Tom Brady pass in the drive that led to the winning field goal for New England.

Associated Press

Wide receiver Deion Branch, in his return to the Patriots, reacts after catching a Tom Brady pass in the drive that led to the winning field goal for New England.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Four years after leaving the Patriots, Deion Branch felt like, and played like, he never had gone.

New England reacquired Tom Brady's old reliable receiver five days after trading Randy Moss. With less than a week of practice, Branch sparked a rally from a 10-point deficit Sunday to a 23-20 overtime win over the Ravens.

He capped that with two key catches to set up Stephen Gostkowski's 35-yard field goal with 1:56 left in overtime.

"Tom and I have been away for four years, and I honestly don't feel we missed a beat," Branch said.

He had seven receptions after the Ravens took a 20-10 lead three seconds into the fourth quarter and finished with nine, the most he had in a regular-season game since catching 13 against San Diego as a rookie in 2002 after the Patriots drafted him in the second round.

"We've known each other for a long time, so I think the chemistry's there," Brady said. "It will be there."

Branch gave Patriots fans plenty of reason to forget their post-Moss concerns and an embarrassing 33-14 playoff loss to the Ravens in the first round last season.

Branch, who had 98 yards receiving, was MVP of the 2005 Super Bowl when he caught 11 passes for 133 yards. But he was in his fourth year with Seattle when the Patriots were dominated in last season's playoffs.

"If we see them in the playoffs, we will be ready again," Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis said.

Branch's nine catches matched Moss' total in his four games with New England this season.

Branch's first grab in the fourth was a 5-yard touchdown four minutes into the quarter, cutting Baltimore's lead to 20-17. The Patriots forced a punt and marched from their 14-yard line to set up Gostkowski's 24-yard tying field goal with 1:51 left in regulation.

In overtime, the winning drive started at the New England 38 and Brady hit Branch for a 23-yard gain on the first play. A 10-yarder to Branch produced a first down at the Ravens 21, and Gostkowski hit the winner after two runs by BenJarvus Green-Ellis.


Patriots 23, Ravens 20, OT 10/17/10 [Last modified: Sunday, October 17, 2010 11:01pm]
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