By: Ian Logue
Sunday’s overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens was definitely quite a thriller, with the outcome of this one needing all the way until there was 2-minutes left in the overtime period before Stephen Gostkowski knocked through a 35-yard field goal to put it away and give the Patriots a 23-20 win at Gillette Stadium.
This one was a defensive struggle throughout, with both teams having a tough time doing much offensively. New England’s young defense held their own, holding the Ravens to 5-of-16 on third down, and gave up just 10 second half points. They also stopped the Ravens three times in overtime to get off the field, and eventually gave their offense a chance to finally get into field goal range and put this one away.
Wide receiver Deion Branch made quite a return in his first game back since being traded here last week, finishing with 9 catches for 98-yards and a touchdown, including two big ones in overtime of 10 and 23 yards which helped set up Gostkowski’s game winner.
“He did great,” said quarterback Tom Brady of Branch after the game. “I’ve been throwing balls to him for a long time. He made some big time plays, a touchdown catch, we all kept battling and I think that’s why we pulled it out.”
Brady said that getting Branch re-acclimated to the offense was easy, because the two have known each other long enough where the transition was fairly smooth.
“We’ve known each other for a long time so, I think that chemistry’s there, it’ll be there for a long time, and he made some big catches.” said Brady. “It was great to have him out there.”
It was the Patriots offense that struggled in this one. In the first half New England was just 1-of-5 on third down, and while they managed to put together a touchdown drive on their second possession of the game, that ended up being their only points of the half.
Brady got off to a slow start, finishing just 7-of-13 for 90 yards during the first two quarters of play. But he came on late in the second half, and in the final quarter trailing 20-10, he led the Patriots on two scoring drives. He engineered an 8-play 60 yard drive that ended with a five yard touchdown pass to Deion Branch, and then later put together a 13-play 80 yard drive that saw Gostkowski kick a 24-yard field goal to tie it up and later send this one into overtime.
It’s a great win for New England, improving them to 4-1 on the season and now they suddenly find themselves feeling pretty confident heading into next week’s game against the Chargers out in San Diego.
“That was a battle,” said Brady. “I think there’s a lot of things that we wish we could have done better, but I’ll tell you it feels good to win down 10 in the fourth quarter.”