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The Baltimore Ravens started and ended the game by dropping balls. The New England Patriots picked up a win against a team that kept coming back.
Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 32-yard field goal after Brandon McGowan recovered Chris Carr's fumble on the opening kickoff. Then Mark Clayton dropped a fourth-down pass with 28 seconds left that would have given the Ravens a first down inside the New England 10-yard line.
"That was quite a finish," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said after the 27-21 win Sunday. "Stop them on fourth down twice in the fourth quarter, that's when you've got to be there. Luckily, we were."
New England (3-1) kept scoring. Baltimore (3-1) kept rebounding but dropped to 0-5 against the Patriots.
"This team is so resilient," Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said. "No matter what happens, we don't drop our heads for nothing. We still had an opportunity to win."
The Patriots went ahead 24-14 after Tom Brady's first touchdown pass of the year to Randy Moss, a 14-yarder. But less than three minutes later, Willis McGahee scored on a 13-yard pass from Joe Flacco.
Gostkowski's 33-yard field goal made it 27-21 midway through the fourth quarter, and Ty Warren stopped McGahee for no gain on fourth-and-1 at the Ravens 45.
"There's a lot of confidence when you stop a team on fourth down," Patriots cornerback Leigh Bodden said. "It gives the whole team an uplift and makes them want to go out there and stop them again."
The next time, they had plenty of help from Clayton. He got open between defensive backs McGowan and Darius Butler but couldn't hold on to Flacco's pass on fourth-and-4 from the Patriots 14.
"Flat out drop," Clayton said. "It was a perfect ball. Joe put it on the money. To not come up with it is tough. It cost us the game."
The Ravens lost left tackle Jared Gaither after a collision that put him on his back for about 10 minutes. He was taken off the field on a stretcher midway through the second quarter. X-rays at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he had tests on his neck and shoulder, were negative.
Flacco fell onto Gaither as the quarterback was shoved by Warren.
"We knew it wasn't serious," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. "We'll see how long he'll be out."
Trailing 17-7 at halftime, the Ravens made it 17-14 when Terrell Suggs hit Brady for a sack and knocked the ball loose. Dwan Edwards recovered in the end zone with 6:19 left in the third quarter.
"We kind of had control of the game and then Suggs turned it around," Belichick said.
But Brady led the Patriots on their next possession, a 79-yard drive ending with his 14-yard touchdown pass to Moss.
It was Moss' first touchdown catch from Brady since he made 23 of them in 2007. Brady was sidelined for all last season after hurting his left knee midway through the first quarter of the opener.
"It was about time," Brady said. "We're finding our way out there, and he's a huge part of this offense. And we need to keep finding ways to get him the ball down there" near the end zone.
Lewis complained about roughing the passer penalties that helped the drives on which Brady scored on a 1-yard keeper and Sammy Morris went in from 12 yards.
"Without totally going off the wall here, it is embarrassing to the game," Lewis said. "Brady is good enough to make his own plays. Let him make the play."
He made enough, completing 21 of 32 passes for 258 yards, one TD and no interceptions. Flacco went 27 for 47 for 264 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
"We thought we had them down; they started coming back," Morris said. "It was one of those tough slugfests. We were able to finish it out."
This program aired on October 5, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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