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Anquan Boldin, Bernard Pollard help Ravens end Super Bowl dreams of the Patriots

Posted By Mike Petraglia On January 20, 2013 @ 9:47 pm In General | 91 Comments

Tom Brady was left looking for answers as the Ravens beat the Patriots Sunday in the AFC championship. (AP)

Tom Brady was left looking for answers as the Ravens beat the Patriots Sunday in the AFC championship. (AP)

The Ravens scored 21 straight points in the second half and the Patriots offense could not overcome several costly mistakes on offense as Baltimore beat the Patriots, 28-13, Sunday at Gillette Stadium in the AFC championship. Anquan Boldin, who predicted a Ravens win earlier in the week, caught a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes from Joe Flacco as the Ravens earn revenge for last year’s loss in the AFC title game at Gillette. The win sets up a matchup of the Harbaugh brothers in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans as John Harbaugh leads his Ravens against Jim Harbaugh‘s 49ers on Feb. 3.

Tom Brady lost a game at home for the first time when leading at the half. He had been 67-0 before losing Sunday. The Patriots also lost an AFC championship game at home for the first time in five tries and for just the second time in their history.

Wes Welker dropped a key third-down pass on a third-quarter drive deep in Baltimore territory, Brady mismanaged the clock at the end of the first half and Nate Solder had a holding penalty that wiped a first down in the third quarter. But the biggest play of the game came when Patriots nemesis Bernard Pollard knocked out Stevan Ridley with nine minutes left in the fourth, causing a fumble that resulted in Boldin’s second TD catch of the fourth quarter and a 28-13 lead. Ridley left with head injury and did not return.

Early on, the Patriots won the field position battle, as all five Baltimore first-half drives started inside their 15.

The Patriots took an early lead when Stephen Gostkowski hit a 31-yard field goal on their second possession of the first quarter. The Patriots then got some bad news when starting right cornerback Aqib Talib injured his right thigh on a pass breakup of a pass intended for Boldin.

He came off the field and was replaced by Kyle Arrington for the rest of the game.

On the Ravens’ fourth possession, they started at their 10 and drove 90 yards to take their only lead of the first half. Going no huddle for most of the drive, Flacco completed a pass to Torrey Smith to the Patriots’ 15. Ray Rice capped it off with a two-yard run around the left end to put Baltimore up, 7-3, with 9:33 left in the second quarter.

Brady came back immediately to engineer a 79-yard drive in 11 plays, capped by a one-yard TD strike to Wes Welker on third-and-goal that put the Patriots up, 10-7. The Patriots appeared ready to go in for another touchdown moments before halftime. After a short punt, the Patriots got the ball at the Baltimore 43 with 2:32 left in the half. A Brady 17-yard pass to Aaron Hernandez advanced the ball down to the Ravens’ 10 with 26 seconds left in the half.

But on the next play, Brady scrambled on first down to the 7 and was forced to burn his final timeout and the Patriots had to settle for a 25-yard field Gostkowski field goal and only a 13-7 halftime lead.

The Patriots defense held the Ravens on the first drive of the third quarter and appeared to be driving for another score but Welker dropped a third-down pass that would have been a first-down and kept the drive going. The Ravens answered with an 87-yard drive in 10 plays, capped off by Flacco TD pass to Dennis Pitta that gave the Ravens the lead for good.

The Ravens scored twice in the fourth on Flacco TD passes to Boldin to build the lead to 28-13. Brady connected with Welker for 36 yards down to the Baltimore 24. But Brady’s next pass was tipped and intercepted by Dannell Ellerbe at the Baltimore 18 with 6:49 left in the fourth. Cary Williams intercepted Brady in the end zone with 1:06 left to seal the game.

For complete coverage from Chris Price and Mike Petraglia on scene at Gillette, visit the Patriots team page at weei.com/patriots [1].


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