January 21, 2013

Steve Solloway: Patriots down and out

The Baltimore Ravens hand New England a dreary night

(Continued from page 1)

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Patriots’ QB Tom Brady didn’t exactly sit down on the job Sunday, but the combination of a furious Baltimore defense, dropped passes by Wes Welker and a below-average performance by Brady himself precludes a trip to New Orleans.

The Associated Press

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Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, right, celebrates with teammate Vonta Leach after Sunday’s victory. Lewis has said that he plans to retire at the end of his postseason.

The Associated Press

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When the game was over and Baltimore celebrated, the big stadium emptied quickly. Before kickoff it was a night of the usual chest-beating and cheering as fans streamed from their encampments in the vast parking lots, walking up the wide ramps to their seats. They jeered anyone spotted in Baltimore Ravens purple-and-white.

The noise and gestures were good-natured. Winning three Super Bowls since 2002 confers the privilege of smugness. We've got Tom Brady and Bill Belichick on our side. The NFL's best quarterback and best coach. A pair of kings. What do you got?

A young quarterback named Joe Flacco. Neither his pedigree (Delaware) nor his performances in previous years earned praise. He's come of age.

The Ravens had Pollard, nicknamed the "Bonecrusher" when he played in college.

He's the guy who knocked Brady out of that game in 2008, wrecking the quarterback's knee. His hit injured Wes Welker, knocking him out of the playoffs. His hit on Rob Gronkowski all but sidelined the big tight end late last year. And now the hit on Ridley. The Patriots tried to respond and couldn't. You're not used to seeing that.

"I'm not going to worry," said Gail Keel of North Haverhill, Mass., another longtime fan. "We've been to so many Super Bowls. This is still the most successful team in football. We'll always have that."

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

ssolloway@pressherald.com

 

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