The Baltimore Ravens entered the game with a chance to put a strong hold on the final AFC Wildcard spot and keep their hopes alive at a AFC North division title, but the Ravens offense was dreadful and the team never really mustered much of a fight as the New England Patriots beat the Ravens 41-7 for their worst home lost in franchise history.
Baltimore never led in the game, in fact never got close to leading as they were shutout 17-0 in the first half and were down 20-0 after the third quarter.
The Ravens did bring some life to M&T Bank Stadium in the fourth quarter when they put their first points on the board with a touchdown run from Joe Flacco and the Baltimore defense immediately followed with a three and out, but the offense stalled and those would be the only points scored in the game for the Ravens.
It became obvious that Flacco was still uncomfortable with the knee brace he was wearing as he was not moving around very well and wasn't stepping into his throws, which hurt both the velocity and more importantly the accuracy of his throws. Flacco threw behind receivers frequently and ended up throwing two interceptions in the game.
You knew it was going to be a bad day when Justin Tucker, who had made 33 consecutive field goals, missed on his only attempt of the night from 37 yards. It was quite a run by Tucker, who had not missed since week two against the Cleveland Browns, when he missed twice.
New England still had a grudge with the Ravens after last year's loss to the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game as they were happy to pile it on late with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback once the game was decided as the Patriots defense scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery and on an interception return to blow the score out of proportion.
The loss now makes the AFC Wildcard picture very muddy as no team controls its own destiny as four teams have a mathematical chance on Sunday at claiming the final spot. If the Ravens hope to make it to the postseason for the sixth consecutive season, they will need a win AND a loss by the San Diego Chargers OR the Miami Dolphins or both.
It will certainly be a game that Baltimore will want to forget and move on from as they prepare to face the Cincinnati Bengals in the regular season finale, but Flacco did not want to use his brace as an excuse.
"I would have liked to play better. The brace had nothing to do with anything," said Flacco.
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