Tom Brady and the Pa­tri­ots tune up for a trip to Den­ver by hold­ing off the Ravens 30-23.

PA­TRI­OTS 30, RAVENS 23 Ho­gan’s 79-yard catch and run stands as the di≠er­ence

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Kyle Hightower

foxbor­ough, mass.» Tom Brady con­nected with Chris Ho­gan for a 79-yard touch­down pass in the fourth quar­ter to help the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots over­come a sloppy sec­ond half and claim a 30-23 win over the Bal­ti­more Ravens on Mon­day night.

Brady threw for 406 yards and three touch­downs, be­com­ing the fourth NFL quar­ter­back with at least 450 ca­reer touch­down passes. He also threw just his sec­ond in­ter­cep­tion of the sea­son.

LeGar­rette Blount rushed for 72 yards on 18 car­ries, pass­ing 1,000 yards for the first time since his rookie sea­son with Tampa Bay in 2010.

The Pa­tri­ots (11-2) have won four straight games and eight of their last nine as they con­tinue to inch to­ward their eighth con­sec­u­tive AFC East ti­tle.

The loss ends a two-game win streak for the Ravens (7-6), who now face a chal­leng­ing route to the play­offs with two of their last three on the road.

Joe Flacco did his best to keep Bal­ti­more in the game, fin­ish­ing 37-of-52 for 324 yards, two touch­downs and an in­ter­cep­tion. The 37 com­ple­tions set a fran­chise record.

The Pa­tri­ots led 23-3 be­fore the Ravens turned back-to-back New Eng­land fum­bles on spe­cial teams into touch­downs.

New Eng­land led 23-17 in the fourth quar­ter when the Ravens drove to the Pa­tri­ots 12 be­fore Flacco was sacked by Rob Ninkovich, forc­ing Bal­ti­more to set­tle for a field goal.

The Ravens en­tered the week with the NFL’s top-ranked de­fense, giv­ing up just 296.1 yards per game. But the Pa­tri­ots’ de­fense shined early on, lim­it­ing the Ravens to just three points and 142 yards in the first half.

The Ravens rushed only four times for 7 yards in the open­ing 30 min­utes, and were just 3-for-8 on third downs.

The Pa­tri­ots ap­peared to be in con­trol af­ter Martel­lus Ben­nett’s 19-yard touch­down re­cep­tion made it 23-3 with 8:45 to play in the third. But Cyrus Jones couldn’t get out of the way of Sam Koch’s 53-yard punt. It brushed off his foot as it fell to the turf and was picked up by Chris Moore on New Eng­land’s 3. The Ravens scored two plays later.

The Pa­tri­ots then gave Bal­ti­more an­other gift on the en­su­ing kick­off when re­turner Matt Slater lost the ball af­ter a hit by Pa­trick On­wua­sor. Sha­reece Wright re­cov­ered for the Ravens, and Flacco threw an 8-yard touch­down pass to Ken­neth Dixon.

Pa­tri­ots line­backer Shea McClellin showed off his ath­leti­cism in the first quar­ter by hur­dling the Ravens’ line and then block­ing Justin Tucker’s 34-yard field goal at­tempt. It was part of a big first half for McClellin, who was also in­volved in five to­tal tack­les in the open­ing 30 min­utes.

The Pa­tri­ots play two of their fi­nal three games on the road, be­gin­ning Sun­day with a trip to Den­ver. The home team in the series has won the past seven meet­ings, play­offs in­cluded. The Bron­cos won 30-24 in over­time last sea­son.

New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots quar­ter­back Tom Brady throws a 79-yard touch­down pass to Chris Ho­gan un­der pres­sure from Bal­ti­more Ravens line­backer Elvis Dumervil dur­ing the fourth quar­ter Mon­day night. Charles Krupa, The Associated Press

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