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
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