The New England Patriots didn’t win against the Baltimore Ravens with Randy Moss last January and the Patriots didn’t need Moss to beat the Ravens on Sunday as Deion Branch caught nine passes for 98 yards and a score, as a critical 23-yard reception helped set up Stephen Gostokowski’s 35-yard field goal for a 23-20 comeback win in overtime.
New England’s win will help fans forget about their teams embarrassing playoff loss to the Ravens last season, especially after a comeback effort led by Branch and Brady in the fourth quarter. Branch’s touchdown came on a 5-yard pass from Brady, with the Patriots trailing 20-10 heading into the fourth quarter. After forcing Baltimore to quickly punt, Branch’s four catches on New England’s final drive in the fourth quarter helped set up Gostkowski’s 24-yard tying field goal with just under two minutes left in regulation.
Overtime was sloppy for both teams before New England finally mustered some first downs and momentum in route to Gostkowski’s game-winning field goal and the Patriots fourth victory of the season.
A win over Baltimore automatically launches New England into an elite class of one-loss teams in the NFL. With many people picking the Ravens to go to the Super Bowl out of the AFC this season, the Patriots are now looking like a playoff contender as the defense and offense were clicking on all cylinders during Sunday’s win.
And the spark to Sunday’s victory came from a man who, a week ago, was playing for the Seattle Seahawks. With the addition of Branch to the new-look New England offense (without Moss), Brady and Co. head to San Diego to take on a struggling Chargers team who lost to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.