BALTIMORE — Somewhere between penalty No. 1 and penalty No. 3, there was an ominous sign that Sunday night’s game was going to be New England’s personal case against replacement officials. The game was marked by 24 penalties totaling 218 yards. It got so far out of control that Patriots coach Bill Belichick tried to chase down umpire Ali Shetula after the game, wildly bumping into him as Shetula tried to get off the field with the rest of his crew.
It will be something the team will remember for a long time. But if there is any small comfort in the performance of the officials Sunday night, it’s that their poor calls overwhelmingly affected the Baltimore Ravens.
1) The Ravens, as do the Patriots, have a legitimate beef with the league over the officials Sunday night — Lardarius Webb’s illegal contact on Wes Welker (that didn’t happen) and the subsequent interception it negated, followed by the unsportsmanlike conduct on the Ravens bench for arguing the call, was just a baffling display of officialdom. Add to that the bungling of a penalty on a punt by the Ravens that almost led to the penalty being tacked on improperly after the kick; Courtney Upshaw’s phantom personal foul on Tom Brady; Julian Edelman’s offensive pass interference; And the numerous holding calls that left your head scratching. This was a tough one for all three sides. There’s no way the league, despite Belichick’s bump and Ravens coach John Harbaugh’s pestering, can excuse away the performance of the scabs. It was an atrocity for a national television audience to stomach.
2) The secondary is not where it wants to be right now — For all the talk about improvement after last season, including having a healthy crew with Patrick Chung and Ras-I Dowling this season, there was no escaping the unit’s dismal performance Sunday night. Joe Flacco carved them up for 382 yards and three touchdowns, doing most of his damage down the field and toward the sideline. Jacoby Jones and Torrey Smith both averaged more than 20 yards per catch. Sure, Steve Gregory came away with an interception. Devin McCourty let two interceptions slip through his hands and Kyle Arrington could have had another on the last drive. Those missed opportunities, and the inability to matchup well one-on-one with speedy receivers, is cause for concern going forward.
For the rest of this entry, visit the Extra Points blog on Boston.com.