It was surprising to see the Ravens roll over the Patriots. I didn't expect that. Not in Foxboro. Not in the playoffs. But that's exactly what Baltimore did, running the ball 52 times and passing just 10 times. Bruising, physical football is the Ravens' calling card, and the beating started on the very first play.
It was two of the league's bullies going toe-to-toe on the first snap, and the Ravens delivered a haymaker.
The key to the play was the intensity level of both teams. The Patriots' defense, collectively, did not attack the line of scrimmage as hard as the Ravens' offense fired out. The three defensive linemen weren't bad, but no one created a stalemate, pile, or penetration, while Mayo and Guyton didn't attack downhill hard enough.
Rice showed patience in letting the hole develop, and then showed speed bursting through it. As Rice said after the game, "It was a 'slow to, fast through' ... once you hit it, you gotta go."
After Rice broke through the line, deep safety Brandon Meriweather needed to make the tackle. As the last line of defense, Meriweather did not protect the end zone.
Rice said with a laugh, "I'm thinking if I get to the one, I'm coming out, so I'd better get in the end zone. ... I'm just being honest."