The Ravens take down the Patriots with a controversial last second field goal

NY Times:

Tevin Jones could not wait to turn 20 years old on Oct. 6, and he could not wait to celebrate with his older brother, Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith.

Smith said that Jones planned to come to Baltimore for the Ravens’ home game against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday. He would watch Smith play, and afterward, at some point, he would probably unleash his unforgettable laugh.

But late on Saturday night, Jones, 19, was killed in a motorcycle crash in Westmoreland County in Virginia. Smith decided around 4 p.m. on Sunday that he would play against the New England Patriots that night.

Then he took the field and honored his brother by catching six passes for 127 yards and 2 touchdowns, leading the Ravens to a 31-30 victory over the Patriots.

“It was tough,” Smith said. “Emotionally, I didn’t know how I’d hold up.”

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker converted a 27-yard field goal as time expired, capping Baltimore’s unlikely comeback from a 9-point deficit with less than five minutes remaining.

The surge was sparked by Smith, whose 5-yard touchdown catch on a pass from Joe Flacco made it 30-28 with 4:01 left. The Ravens then forced a New England punt and marched 70 yards on seven plays, setting up Tucker’s winning kick.

Afterward, Smith’s eyes were glassy as he recounted his decision to play. Jones died at 11:58 p.m. on Saturday, and Smith said he got just one hour of sleep that night. He helped raise his six younger brothers and sisters with his mother, Monica Jenkins, who was a single parent.

When he decided to play, he sent a text message to Jenkins to tell her his decision.

“She was like, ‘Of course he’d want you to play,’ ” Smith said.

The Ravens held a moment of silence for Jones before the game, displaying a picture on the scoreboard of the two brothers on the day Smith was drafted by the Ravens in 2011.

The Ravens trailed by 13-0 in the second quarter when they marched 82 yards on 13 plays. With 9:53 left, Flacco fired a 25-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline to Smith.

After the catch, Smith knelt and said a prayer for his brother, and the crowd began chanting Smith’s first name. He then stoically walked toward the sideline, where he was embraced by teammates and coaches.

“His brother probably said, ‘You know what, I want you to play this game. I’m good, I’m up in heaven,’ ” Ravens running back Ray Rice said.

Smith said he was touched by the outpouring of support he received Sunday, from his teammates and fans, but also from the Patriots and even several Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I’m glad I came back up here,” Smith said. “It helped me out a lot.”

The pairing was a rematch of last season’s A.F.C. championship game, but the backdrop was a bit unusual, because both teams were coming off losses and were in danger of falling to 1-2.

The Ravens had won their past 13 games when coming off a loss, and since 2008 the Patriots were 14-2 after losses, the highest percentage in the league during that stretch.

For much of the second half Sunday, the Ravens’ footing appeared shaky. The Patriots took a 27-21 lead on a 3-yard touchdown run by Danny Woodhead with 6:48 left in the third quarter. Stephen Gostkowski, who missed a potential winning field goal in the Patriots’ surprising loss to the Arizona Cardinals last weekend at home, converted a 20-yarder with 14:10 left in the fourth quarter to make it 30-21.

But the Ravens rallied, and Smith refocused and honored his younger brother the best way he knew how.

“Afterward,” Smith said, “is when you sit back and reflect on things.”

When Tucker’s field goal soared just inside the right goal post to give Baltimore the victory, there was brief chaos on the field. The Patriots seemed to think the field goal had missed, and Coach Bill Belichick angrily grabbed an official after time ran out.

“I’m not going to comment about that,” Belichick said. “What did we have, 30 penalties called in that game?” The Patriots had 10 penalties for 83 yards, and the Ravens were whistled for 14 penalties for 135 yards.

But for the Baltimore players, that will not be the everlasting memory from this game. They will remember the time their teammate took the field after letting out his tears, as his time of grief and mourning was just beginning.

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