The New England Patriots were vanquished by the Baltimore Rams in a game featuring a pair of NFL heavyweights Sunday night. For the Ravens, it was a bit of sweet revenge following their loss last year to the Patriots in the AFC championship.
New England now stands 1-2 on the year and will next travel to Buffalo to take on the AFC East division rival Bills. Buffalo is coming off a solid 24-14 home win against the Cleveland Browns Sunday in which they lost running back C.J. Spiller to an injury. Immediate word out of Buffalo was Spiller could miss a significant amount of time because of the injury.
The Patriots played good enough to beat the Ravens. Quarterback Tom Brady was sharp, completing 28 of 41 passes for 335 yards and a touchdown. Perhaps even more important for the Patriots was the fact Brady and wide receiver Wes Welker regained their connection from a year ago. Welker, who had little impact in the Patriots first two games, finished with eight catches for 142 yards to lead all receivers.
The game was marred by a ton of penalties to both teams and several questionable calls by the NFL’s replacement referees. Patriots head coach Bill Belichik was so incensed by the officiating that he made contact with a referee while leaving the field. Belichik figures to be fined for the incident and will also need to deal with the accompanying media scrutiny this week.
The Patriots surely didn’t envision themselves being 1-2 through the first three weeks of the season, but they seem close to being the New England team that has perennially been among the top NFL picks during the Brady-Bellichik era. They catch a huge break this week with the injury to Spiller, an emerging star in the NFL. Look for the Patriots to regroup this week and come back with a big effort against the Bills.