The New England Patriots dominated the Baltimore Ravens on the national stage in CBS’s featured game Sunday afternoon, scoring two defensive touchdowns and shutting down last season’s Super Bowl MVP.
Numerous storylines emerged from the beatdown. New England landed their tenth division title in eleven years, the best string since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. The Ravens suffered their worst home loss in team history. The Pats exacted revenge on the Ravens for their 2012 AFC Championship game loss, itself revenge for Baltimore’s loss to the Patriots in the previous year’s AFC Championship game. The Ravens enter the last week of the NFL regular season needing not only a tough road win over division rival Cincinnati, but help from either San Diego or Miami to make the playoffs.
Despite all that to discuss, water-cooler talk will undoubtedly focus on an end zone dance. Bowling-ball running back LaGarrette Blount, after his second touchdown of the game, erupted into a Ray Lewis “squirrel” dance. Coming in the very stadium where Lewis plied his trade, the dance naturally struck Ravens fans as more taunt than homage.
Not since the Patriots’ victory over the favored San Diego Chargers in the playoffs after the 2006 season, when Vince Wilfork and other players performed mocking imitations of then Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman’s sack dance, have members of the franchise so veered from the drab, emotionless persona of their coach.
Blount, who infamously cold-cocked a Boise State defensive end after a humiliating loss for Oregon in what was Chip Kelly’s first game with the Ducks in 2009, claimed after the game that Ray Lewis granted permission for the end-zone impersonation. No word yet on Lewis’s reaction–and whether it will come in the form of words or coming out of retirement.