How the Patriots-Ravens showdown played out in real time on CBS:
4:15 p.m. EDT – Before the game between the Patriots and Ravens even kicked off, New England clinched its 10th AFC East title in 11 years (and fifth consecutive year) after Miami got shut out in Buffalo, 19-10. I can’t imagine there has been a worse division in sports over the past decade. Sure the Patriots have been consistently very good, but the other three teams usually screw everything up without fail.
4:25-Logan Mankins gets his second career start at left tackle (what he played at Fresno State). Patriots offense promptly goes three-and-out to start.
4:30-Phil Simms is pretty concerned about Joe Flacco’s knee that was banged up on Monday night in Detroit. Apparently this is his first Baltimore game since he thought Flacco’s usual deep lollipop to Torrey Smith was unlike him. Huh? Ravens also go three-and-out.
4:35-14-yard run by LeGarrette Blount. Remember Stevan Ridley?
4:38-9-yard catch by Michael Hoomanawanui on third-and-4.
4:40- Even Pats fans must admit, that 34-yard pass interference call on Jimmy Smith was pretty weak. Honestly, how are defensive backs supposed to stop anything these days? Next play, a 1-yard TD run by Blount (7-0, Patriots).
4:46-Dont’a Hightower tips a poor pass from Flacco and it’s intercepted by Logan Ryan (his fourth of the season, tying Aqib Talib for the team lead).
4:50-34-yard catch and run by Danny Amendola. He finally seems comfortable with the Patriots (and healthy).
4:53-Hell of a start by the Pats in their biggest game of the season: 4-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Shane Vereen (14-0 Patriots).
5:00-So yeah, Flacco is hurt as he trips over his own feet on third down and falls down for a sack. Ravens aren’t helping themselves either with a bunch of penalties.
5:04-17-yard catch by Edelman who holds on despite getting drilled by former Patriot James Ihedigbo.
5:05-11-yard run by Blount. Next play Terrell Suggs takes him down for a loss of three yards (first good play by the Ravens).
5:06-Yikes, Vereen limps to the sideline.
5:07-12-yard screen to Bolden, unfortunately he had to get 13 yards. First quarter is over, with Patriots leading Ravens, 14-10, and lining up a 45-yard field goal.
5:10-Gostkowski makes it 17-0 Patriots.
5:12-Nice play by Brandon Spikes to tackle Bernard Pierce for a loss of 1.
5:13-Big third down conversion for Baltimore, a 15-yard dump off to Pierce who was wide open up the middle.
5:14-Devin McCourty shows why he’s not a wide receiver, dropping an easy interception on Flacco’s patented soft toss.
5:15-Kyle Arrington sacks Flacco for a loss of seven on third down. Baltimore still hasn’t crossed midfield.
5:19-While explaining New England’s ability to overcome injuries Simms goes a bit too far saying, “injuries don’t matter to them.” I’d tend to disagree with that blanket statement.
5:22-A couple have been shady and that’s five penalties (for 55 yards) for Baltimore. None so far on New England.
5:23-Vereen is questionable to return with a groin injury, ugh.
5:26-Courtney Upshaw takes down Brady for a 10-yard sack on third down. The refs have hit the holiday egg nog early or something, it takes them about an hour to come to that simple conclusion.
5:27-Great special teams tackle by Matthew Slater. Jacoby Jones could only return the punt two yards to his own 10.
5:30-17-yard catch by Ed Dickson. Even worse, Hightower is shaken up on the play.
5:31-10-yard screen pass to Ray Rice and Steve Gregory goes down with a knee injury. How many more injuries can one team have? Rookie Duron Harmon replaces him.
5:35-5-yard sack by Rob Ninkovich on third down.
5:41-19-yard catch by Edelman. He’s having another really nice game. Might be time to get him an extension, he’s earned it.
5:43-Amendola had a 12-yard catch but the ball popped out. It’s being reviewed but I’m with Jim Nantz, who might have made the first good call of his long and vastly overrated career: his elbow was down before he fumbled.
5:47-It takes about a week to make the call but the refs get it right, Patriots retain possession while the sad Ravens fans chant “bull-sh**, bull-sh**.”
5:47-Poor Ron Winter’s microphone isn’t working, but Nantz compares it to Flacco’s sorry completion percentage today. Zing!
5:51-18-yard run for Blount gets wiped out by a holding call on Marcus Cannon. Next play is a 14-yard run by him followed by an 8-yard run.
5:55-Three holding calls on this series for the Patriots, so not surprisingly, it ends with a punt.
5:57-Running into the kicker on Baltimore. Cue the Benny Hill music.
6:01-Patriots lead 17-0 at halftime. That might have been the longest and most tedious second quarter in NFL history. I lost track of the penalties when they reached triple digits. Good grief, that was absurd. Otherwise, incredible effort by New England to hold Baltimore to 71 total yards. I’m sure that’ll keep up.
6:15-Flacco magic? 14-yard catch by Marlon Brown, the first for a Ravens wide receiver in this game.
6:16-15-yard catch for Dickson and Devin McCourty’s head bounces right off his butt which isn’t is funny as it sounds since it looked like he sustained a concussion. Harmon is back in and Gregory started the second half.
6:21-Fourth-and-3, Ravens go for it but Ryan knocks down Flacco’s pass intended for Jacoby Jones.
6:28-11-yard catch for Jones, his first of the game.
6:29-Nantz calls Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, “Mike.”
6:30-Wow, Dennis Pitta drops a catch and it deflects right to Ryan for an interception.
6:33-McCourty is done for the day with a concussion as I suspected.
6:36-Nantz asks Simms for a take on the AFC playoff picture and he says “I don’t know.” Seriously. This happened. I guess that’s why he gets paid the big bucks.
6:38-48-yard field goal by Gostkowski, Patriots lead Ravens 20-0. It feels like New England should be up by about 40, but I guess three scores is OK.
6:45-First catch of the game for Torrey Smith is good for 42 yards after he breaks a tackle by Gregory.
6:49-Flacco threw a hopeless pass out of the back of the end zone on third-and-1. Rice gets a carry up the middle on fourth-and-1, but he’s stopped inches short at New England’s 4. Huge stop by the Patriots defense, their biggest of the season thus far.
6:52-Suggs sacks Brady on third-and-2. Patriots keep letting Baltimore hang around just a little.
6:55-Pats are up 17-0 after three quarters but Baltimore has it at New England’s 19 when they return.
6:59-Ravens kicker Justin Tucker had made 33 field goals in a row, including six on Monday (61-yarder that won it), so naturally his first kick today is a 37-yard attempt that goes inches wide. It is not Baltimore’s night.
7:01-15-yard catch and run by Edelman, Patriots could use a long drive here.
7:03-Welcome back Aaron Dobson, 21-yard catch.
7:06-7-yard sack by Sealver Siliga backs Baltimore up to their own 3.
7:10-15-yard catch by Pitta.
7:11-Another 15-yard catch was ruled not a catch at first but after another lengthy review it was correctly overturned.
7:17-Pass interference on Gregory covering Smith by the goal-line places the ball at the 1.
7:19-Two plays later, gimpy Flacco plunges for the 1-yard TD run (his first of the season). Ravens cut it to 20-7 with 9:21 left.
7:25-Crappy series by the Patriots, incomplete pass on first down leads to an eventual three-and-out. They have three first downs in the second half and 53 total yards. Is that bad?
7:27-17-yard catch by Smith.
7:28-Ravens turn it over on fourth down, Hightower pressured Flacco and Jamie Collins knocked the pass away that was intended for Pitta.
7:32-What a concept, running the ball successfully to keep the clock moving. Way to go Josh McDaniels. Nice to see Ridley come out of mothballs to get some key carries here.
7:35-7-yard TD run by Blount, his first multi-TD game as a Patriot. What a performance by the Patriots. 27-7 with 2:05 left.
7:45-Haha, poor Tyrod Taylor. He relieves Flacco and the first snap is terrible so he can’t pick it up and Chandler Jones recovers it in the end zone for a TD. 34-7 Patriots and this has gotten out of hand in a hurry.
7:52-And now a 74-yard interception returned for a TD by Tavon Wilson. If the score holds (41-7), it’ll be the largest loss for Baltimore at home in franchise history.
7:55-Patriots win, 41-7. Who could have predicted that? Needless to say it’s the biggest win of the season for New England. With a win against Buffalo at Gillette Stadium next Sunday in the regular season finale, they clinch the No. 2 seed and the all-important first-round bye. In many ways, this was a throwback victory for the Pats: many people doubting them, numerous guys hurt or got injured, hot opponent, on the road, but they got the job done. If for nothing else, this gives us some hope for the next few weeks. Who is there to fear in the AFC?
Follow Metro Boston sports writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate