The Ravens stopped the Patriots last night 3 times on 4th down on the game winning drive, and none counted. The first time, on a 4th and 1, Tom Brady was stuffed in the backfield on a quarterback keeper. But the referees allowed defensive coordinator Rex Ryan to signal timeout, even though the only person on the sidelines allowed to call a timeout is the head coach. Then the Ravens stuffed fullback Heath Evans on a fullback dive, but the Patriots were whistled for a false start. Finally, Brady through an incomplete pass on 4th and 5. But the Jermaine Winbourne was whistled for defensive holding on the tight end, a ticky tack foul that occurred within five yards of the line of scrimmage. On the one 4th down the Patriots did convert, after the false start, Samari Rolle was called for illegal contact, even though from my angle it looked like Randy Moss tackled Rolle in front of the ref. This likely led to one of the incidents of the head linesman calling Rolle "boy."
On the bright side for Baltimore, in a game that featured three sure fire Hall of Famers (Tom Brady, Ray Lewis, Jon Ogden), Haloti Ngata was the best player on the field. The Patriots averaged 4.4 yards a play when Ngata was in the game, 6.2 yards when he wasn't, a staggering difference. Ngata is 9th in the NFL in tackles among defensive lineman, ridiculous for a 340 pounder whose primary responsibility is to occupy blockers. He looks like a great choice for my 25 or Under team, and deserves a spot in the Pro Bowl this year.