Ravens Win AFC Championship, Defeat Patriots, 28-13
Anquan Boldin #81 of the Baltimore Ravens scores a touchdown passed by Joe Flacco #5 in the fourth quarter against Devin McCourty #32 of the New England Patriots during the 2013 AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium on January 20, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts
For the second time in franchise history, and for the first time in 12 years, the Baltimore Ravens are headed to the Super Bowl.
Baltimore qualified for Super Bowl XLVII, scheduled for Sunday, February 3, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, by defeating the New England Patriots, 28-13, on Sunday, at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
The win avenges a 23-20 Baltimore loss to New England in last year’s AFC Championship Game.
The Patriots scored the only points of the opening quarter, when Stephen Gostkowski capped off a 13-play, 67-yard drive by booting home a 31-yard field goal at the 6:25 mark of the period, giving them a 3-0 lead.
Baltimore grabbed it’s first lead of the game at the 9:33 mark of the second quarter, when Ray Rice scored on a 2-yard run, capping off a 13-play, 90-yard drive, to make it 7-3, Ravens.
Later in the quarter, New England regained the lead, when quarterback Tom Brady connected with receiver Wes Welker on a 1-yard pass, to cap off an 11-play, 79-yard drive, to give the Patriots a 10-7 advantage.
Later, on the final play of the half, Gostkowski capped of a 9-play, 36-yard drive, by nailing a 25-yard field goal, giving the Patriots a 13-7 halftime lead.
New England out-gained Baltimore, in term of first half total yardage, 214-130, including a 139-77 advantage through the air.
The lead changed hands for the third and final time at the 6:14 mark of the third quarter, when Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco connected with Dennis Pitta on a 5-yard touchdown pass, capping off a 10-play, 87 yard drive, to give the Ravens a 14-13 lead, a score which held up through the end of the quarter.
The Ravens extended their lead on the first play of the fourth quarter, when Flacco floated a 3-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin, capping off a 10-play, 67-yard drive, to make it 21-13.
Flacco and Boldin connected again on Baltimore’s next possession, this time from 11-yards out, as the Ravens took advantage of a New England turnover, going on a 4-play, 47-yard drive, and extending their lead to 28-13 at the 11:19 mark of the final frame.
That turned out to be the final score of the game, as Baltimore, for the second-consecutive week, goes on the road as underdogs, and comes away a winner.
New England wound up out-gaining Baltimore, in terms of total yards, 428-356, but suffered the three turnovers, including a fumble, which the Ravens turned into a touchdown, an interception, which may have sealed the Patriots’ fate, midway through the final period, and another interception with just over a minute remaining, which turned out to be Brady’s final pass attempt of the year.
Flacco led the way for the Ravens, completing 21-of-36 passes, for 240 yards, and three touchdowns.
In a losing cause for New England, Brady completed 29-of-54 passes, for 320 yards, with one touchdown, and two interceptions.
With the win, the Ravens are now 13-6, while the Patriots end their season with a record of 13-5.
Baltimore will be competing in their first Super Bowl since 2001, when they won Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa, Florida, defeating the New York Giants, 34-7, to win the 2000 title.
For New England, it’s only their second loss in an AFC Championship Game, compared to seven wins.
The Ravens will meet the San Francisco 49ers, who won the NFC Championship on Sunday, in Super Bowl XLVII on February 3.