Kyle Boller has his critics (many of whom he has attracted with his uneven play), but the Ravens quarterback has outshone MVP favorite Tom Brady thus far in the first half.
Aside from the fact that Boller has bested the New England Patriots quarterback in touchdowns (1 to 0) and interceptions (0 to 1), Boller has been throwing his passes with more authority and zip than Brady. He perfectly threaded a 4-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Derrick Mason between linebacker Adalius Thomas and safety Rodney Harrison, and his 12-yard throw to Mason on fourth-and-six -- during a drive which set up a second-quarter filed goal by Matt Stover -- was an example of touch and accuracy.
Boller's best play, however, occurred when he escaped Thomas' sack attempt, scrambled some more to buy time, and then fired a pass 16 yards downfield to wide receiver Devard Darling, who added 37 yards with a gallop down the right sideline. If the Ravens have any hope of upsetting New England, Boller must maintain his level of play. Other notes:
* Defensive penalties are killing the Ravens. The defense committed three for 22 yards on the Patriots' opening possession (culminating in a Stephen Gostkowski 21-yard field goal) and two more for eight yards and two first downs on Heath Evans' 1-yard touchdown plunge. Giving the Patriots new life can't be a recipe for success for the Ravens' defense.
* Samari Rolle is playing like a man 10 years his junior. He delivered a hard tackle on Patriots running back Laurence Maroney and then batted away a Brady pass to Randy Moss on third-and-eight.
* The normally sure-handed Patriots receivers are dropping passes like they're coated with butter. Tight end Ben Watson has dropped two in the end zone, and wide receiver Jabar Gaffney couldn't hold onto a lob that would have been good for a first down.
* The wind is having an effect on playing conditions. With the wind at his back, Matt Stover sailed his first kickoff out of the end zone, while Stephen Gostkowski's first offering into the wind only reached the Ravens' 20-yard line. One of Brady's passes got caught up in the wind and fluttered over wide receiver Wes Welker.
* When New England ran onto the field during introductions, Thomas, a former Raven, was the last player to emerge from the tunnel.