Patriots rally to beat Ravens in overtime

Posted Oct. 17, 2010 @ 5:46 p.m.
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By Howard Ulman, AP Sports Writer

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Deion Branch gave New England Patriots fans plenty of reasons to forget Randy Moss and the team's embarrassing playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Branch caught nine passes - the same number of receptions Moss had in four games this season - spearheading a 23-20 comeback win in overtime over the Ravens on Sunday. The Patriots reacquired Branch on Monday from Seattle five days after trading Moss to Minnesota.

Stephen Gostkowski's 35-yard field goal with 1:56 left in overtime gave the Patriots their eighth straight win after a bye week.

In the teams' last meeting, the Ravens won 33-14 in the first round of last season's playoffs, scoring on Ray Rice's 83-yard run on their first offensive play and leading 24-0 after one quarter.

Branch sparked Sunday's rally from a 20-10 deficit starting with a 5-yard scoring pass from Tom Brady four minutes into the fourth quarter. The Patriots (4-1) then forced the Ravens (4-2) to punt and marched from their 14-yard line to a third down at the Baltimore 3 - with the help of four catches by Branch - and settled for Gostkowski's 24-yard tying field goal with 1:51 left in the fourth quarter.

On the last possession of overtime, Branch caught passes for 23 and 10 yards, setting up the winning kick.

In the extra session, the Ravens had punted three times and the Patriots punted twice. The winning drive started at the New England 38-yard line and Brady immediately went to Branch for the 23-yard gain on the first play. The 10-yarder produced a first down at the Ravens 21 and Gostkowski kicked the winning field goal after two runs by BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

Branch finished with 98 yards receiving while Brady completed 27 of 44 passes for 292 yards and one touchdown. For the Ravens, Joe Flacco completed 27 of 35 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns.

Baltimore scored on its opening drive, as it did in the playoff game, but needed 15 plays before Billy Cundiff kicked a 26-yard field goal. After the teams exchanged punts, Green-Ellis put New England ahead with a 2-yard touchdown run.

The Ravens took a 10-7 halftime lead after Flacco's 16-yard touchdown pass to Todd Heap then made it 17-7 when Flacco connected on a 5-yarder to Anquan Boldin on the left side of the end zone that was set up by Chris Carr's interception.

Field goals Gostkowski of 38 yards and Cundiff of 25 yards left Baltimore with a 20-10 lead with seven seconds gone in the fourth quarter.

Brady then hit Branch in the left back corner of the end zone as the Patriots cut the lead to 3.

Midway through the first half, Heap left the game after being hit on a helmet-to-helmet collision with safety Brandon Meriweather, who was penalized. Heap lay on the ground for several minutes, left the game but returned before intermission.

In the second half, Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman left the game with a head injury.

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