One kick can mean a lot. Just ask the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens. They each know the importance of making their field goals, or in their cases, missing them. A 42-yard miss by kicker Stephen Gostkowski last Sunday resulted in an improbable win for the Arizona Cardinals. As for the Ravens, Billy Cundiff... well, Billy Cundiff did this.
Painful misses in the past, the Patriots and Ravens will get together for what should be another all out battle inside M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, MD on Sunday Night Football.
New England has never lost to Baltimore in the regular season, but fluffy stats like that have little meaning. In case you hadn't heard, the Patriots had never lost a home opener at Gillette Stadium before last weekend's date with the Cardinals. A bunch of mistakes later, the Pats were left staring at a 20-18 loss and a 1-1 overall record.
Tom Brady topped 300 yards passing for the first time this year, throwing for 316 yards and a score, but threw an interception on his first pass attempt of the game. Stevan Ridley, who rushed for 125 yards in New England's win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 1, followed that up with a 71-yard outing. Wes Welker, after not factoring into the win in Nashville, had five receptions on 11 targets for 95 yards and Rob Gronkowski had six grabs for 75 yards and a score. To top it all off, the Pats lost Aaron Hernandez to a low ankle sprain which will keep him sidelined for at least a month.
Baltimore didn't fare much better last week, falling short at Lincoln FInancial Field against an erratic Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-23. Vick's Eagles fell behind, 17-7, after one half, but two second half touchdowns and a field goal helped bump Philly to 2-0. Vick put up 371 yards through the air and had a touchdown pass but was picked off twice. Joe Flacco had 232 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception, Ray Rice picked up 99 rushing yards and Dennis Pitta grabbed eight passes for a team-leading 65 yards.
The Patriots haven't lost many back-to-back games in the Bill Belichick era , but against a stingy Ravens defense and ground-and-pound offense, they will have their hands full.