Patriots prevail in 23-20 OT victory over Ravens

Like he never left: Branch made an immediate impact for Brady on Sunday

Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski hit a 35-yd field goal with 1:56 in Overtime to lift New England to a 23-20 victory over the Ravens.

Newly acquired receiver Deion Branch was instrumental in the 10 point comeback as he had several key catches (9 for 98 and 1 TD) that set up the winning field goal.

The Ravens offense opened strong with a drive that ate up almost nine minutes but could only come away with a Billy Cundiff 26-yd field goal to draw first blood.

New England responded with several big plays from rookie Tight End Aaron Hernandez, and a reverse from Brandon Tate on their next drive. BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored from two yards out to give the Pats the lead 7-3.

The Patriots defense then helped Baltimore with two costly penalties that moved the Ravens into enemy territory. Joe Flacco then connected with Todd Heap for his first touchdown of the season from 16 yards out to retake the lead 10-7.

Speaking of Heap, he was the recipient of a vicious helmet to helmet shot from Brandon Meriweather later in the quarter. He was down for several minutes but did return to action in the second half.

The Ravens, who have been unsuccessful in the turnover department this season, got a big break in the third quarter. Dawan Landry’s blitz caused Brady to force a pass into coverage and Chris Carr was waiting for it. Carr’s interception gave Baltimore the ball on the New England 36-yd line.

Thre plays later Joe Flacco hit Anquan Boldin for a 25-yd touchdown to give the Ravens a 17-7 advantage.

The Patriots were able to move the ball well using Hernandez on runs and catching a long pass for 21 yards. But the defense stiffened and allowed a Gostkowski field goal to close the lead to 17-10.

The Ravens moved the ball well with another clock chewing drive but Derrick Mason couldn’t hold on to the touchdown toss from Flacco and Ravens settled for a second Cundiff field goal to push the lead back to ten, 20 to 10.

Cundiff who has been fantastic on kickoffs this season made a huge mistake on his next one. His kick squirted out of bounds and gave the Patriots field position on their own 40. It was the opening that Brady needed as he hit Branch from 4-yds out early in the 4th Quarter to cut the lead to 20-17.

The momentum continued to swing New England’s way as Brady engineered another drive, this time 80 yards to allow Gostkowski to tie the game with 24-yd field goal with 1:51 left in the game.

The loss drops the Ravens to 4 and 2 while the Patriots improve to 4 and 1 on the season. Baltimore returns home to face the Buffalo Bills next Sunday, October 24th.

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