Patriots working to eliminate last-second scores

Patriots working to eliminate last-second scores
January 15, 2013, 8:07 pm
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The Baltimore Ravens have recently enjoyed sneaking in a punch before the bell.
Last Saturday against Denver, quarterback Joe Flacco turned the tide with a lightning-quick drive. It looked certain Baltimore would enter the break down 21-14 to the Broncos. But any offensive frustration from earlier in the half disappeared as Flacco completed passes of 11, 15, and 32 yards to get the Ravens into the end zone. The game-tying drive took all of 40 seconds.
Which is longer than the "series" that tied the game at the end of regulation.
With Denver up 35-28 and 31 seconds to play. After one incomplete pass and a 7-yard rush, the Ravens were facing third-and-3 from the 30 and had zero timeouts to work with. Flacco threw up a 70-yard prayer that flew faster and farther down the sideline than a pair of Denver defenders and got caught by receiver Jacoby Jones.
The Patriots have watched the film.
"We never want to do that," head coach Bill Belichick said. "We always think that the end of the half can get a little different than the rest of the game because of situational play and also sometimes offensively teams change their method of attack and what theyre doing and how theyre doing it and that kind of thing. So you have to adapt and adjust to what they do."
As the Ravens are enjoying their last-second scores, New England has been allowing them.
The Patriots had a 17-3 lead in last weekend's Divisional Playoff against Houston with more than three minutes left before halftime. Quarterback Matt Schaub used more than half of the time to drive his team 47 yards on five plays for a touchdown. The series made it a one-possession game.
"We have to do what were doing better," Belichick said. "Its definitely a point of emphasis and Im sure it will be important in this game. Well definitely work on it."
Belichick doesn't think his defense let down its emotional guard when the Texans scored before the break. He said it's not so much about the Patriots failing to maintain their mental toughness as it is about execution. Plain and simple."We were trying to do the right things and we did some things that were good, but then we did some other things that werent as good as they need to be. Houston was able to take advantage of some of the things we were doing."
A sense of urgency is added now as there's no next week's game to fix problems for. Allowing those touchdowns, as the Patriots did for Houston, won't fly against Baltimore.
"Its a combination of better coaching, better playing, maybe better preparation, and hopefully it will be better this week."