Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Patriots' worry vs. Ravens runs deep

Joe Flacco

Joe Flacco

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Patriots have cut down on the long passes they allowed early in the season. The Ravens keep completing them.

New England's progress will be tested Sunday against Baltimore's strong-armed Joe Flacco and his speedy receivers in the AFC Championship Game.

CB Aqib Talib, acquired by the Patriots from the Bucs for the final seven games, saw how dangerous the Ravens' deep passing attack can be in their 38-35, double-overtime win over the Broncos in last weekend's division-round game.

"That game summed it up, man," he said. "They started the game taking shots, and they ended the game taking shots. So that's what you're going to do against guys like that, play that deep ball."

On Baltimore's second series in that game. Flacco threw a 59-yard touchdown to Torrey Smith. On his last series of regulation, Flacco heaved a 70-yard score to Jacoby Jones with 31 seconds left.

That was the longest completion this season for the Ravens, but Flacco has completed passes to receivers 13 times on gains of 40 yards or more. The Patriots had just five completions to receivers that picked up that distance.

"We can't allow them to just throw the ball over our heads," S Devin McCourty said. "The biggest thing is understanding how strong Flacco's arm is because I think we already know how fast some of the receivers are over there."

They Patriots (13-4) allowed 21 completions of at least 25 yards in their first eight games, including five in a 31-30 loss to the Ravens in Week 3. They allowed 15 in their last eight regular-season games, mostly after getting Talib from Tampa Bay for a future draft pick.

NOTHING NEW: The fast-paced Patriots offense, behind QB Tom Brady, often forgoes a huddle, racing to the line to exploit reeling defenses. But coach Bill Belichick, who grew up in Annapolis, Md., watching Hall of Fame QB Johnny Unitas lead the Colts in an early version of a two-minute drill, denies any notion of New England's offense being pioneering. "It's not like that's something brand new to football," Belichick said.

Patriots' worry vs. Ravens runs deep 01/18/13 [Last modified: Friday, January 18, 2013 10:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jerseys worn by Tim Tebow fans commemorate the various phases of his athletic career


    His fans have come out in droves during Tim Tebow Week in Tampa Bay, more than doubling the average in Clearwater and Tampa Bay. And they've come adorned with jerseys commemorating the many phases of Tebow's …

    Charles Bottoms, right, with his wife, Annie, wore the Tim Tebow Broncos jersey to Steinbrenner Field "only because I didn't want to wear my good (signed Gators) Tebow one." [RYAN ROMANO | Times]
  2. Rays morning after: 5 mistakes that led to loss to Blue Jays


    We've already documented elsewhere what the Rays didn't do, how they failed to take advantage of a prime opportunity to win Wednesday's game, getting just one run after loading the bases in the seventh with one out and three of …

    Jake Faria make too many mistakes, the failure to execute costing him repeatedly.
  3. Rays have their chances, but end up with another loss (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The litany of games the Rays have given away this season is long enough, arguably too lengthy. So the only way to get to the postseason is make up for some of those losses by grabbing some wins when the opportunity is presented, especially at this time of year when the margin is diminished and the stakes …

    Associated Press
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    You wonder if the scouting reports and/or workload are catching up to rookie RHP Jake Faria. The bottom line wasn't bad again, three runs in 51/3 innings, but he's having to work harder to get there.

  5. Rays journal: Chris Archer eager for eventful final stretch

    The Heater

    TORONTO — RHP Chris Archer takes the mound today for the Rays as they head into the final 40 games of the season with little margin for error as they battle for an American League playoff spot.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) takes a moment on the mound in the second inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, August 6, 2017.