Going back to the scene of the crime, the Baltimore Ravens returned to New England to face the Patriots in the AFC Championship for the 2nd consecutive year. Outscoring the Patriots 21-0 in the 2nd half, the Ravens are leaving New England with a 28-13 win, and the Lamar Hunt Trophy as the AFC Champions.
With the win, Baltimore is heading to New Orleans to face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 47 on February 3rd.
1) After one first down from the Patriots, on New England’s first series, the Ravens were able to get Brady and the Pats off the field. On 3rd and 2, there was minimal pressure, but Brady’s throw down the field to Welker went incomplete.
2) Graham made an important 3rd down play on the Patriots 2nd drive, helping to hold New England to a FG attempt. Gostkowski would make that 31 yard kick, for a 3-0 NE lead.
3) On the Patriots 3rd series, Ngata had a good tackle on 2nd and 3 from the NE 40. On 1st and 10 from the Ravens 36, Kruger disrupted a Brady pass attempt by getting up in the air. Facing 3rd and 9 from the Ravens 35, Lloyd was unable to come up with a diving grab, and NE had to punt.
4) Starting from their own 8 yard line, Baltimore’s 3rd drive began with a Pierce run for 11 yards between the tackles.
5) Good 1st Quarter overall for the Ravens defense, holding NE to 1 for 5 on 3rd down.
6) The Ravens 4th series started with seconds remaining in the 1st Quarter. Facing 3rd and 4 from their 16, Flacco found Pitta for 17 yards, and a Ravens 1st down. A drop off to Rice, again moved the chains, as the Ravens picked up 11 yards to their own 46. On 2nd and 8, another screen to Pierce gained a 3rd 1st down on the drive. This moved Baltimore into NE territory for the first time. On 2nd and 6, Flacco had time, and found Smith for 25 yards. Great play-action fake. On 1st and 10 from the NE 15, Rice gained 8 yards on the ground. With strong blocking on the right side, Rice picked up the 1st, taking the ball to the Patriots 2. On 2nd and 2, Rice broke away from both Mayo and Hightower to find the end zone. This culminated a 13 play, 90 yard, 5 minute 51 second drive. With the extra point, the Ravens took the 7-3 lead.
7) The Ravens were down 10-7, with 2 and 1/2 minutes left in the 1st half, when NE took over at the Baltimore 43. On 3rd and 3 from the Ravens 36, the Ravens came up with a stop. A direct snap to Woodhead on 4th and 1, gave NE a 1st down. A 17 yard gain to Hernandez took the Patriots to the Ravens 10. Baltimore’s defense did well overall though, holding NE to a FG as time ran out on the 1st half.
8) Baltimore’s first series of the 2nd half, began at the 25 – their best starting fielding position of the game. On 3rd and 9, Flacco and Boldin connected for an important 1st down. There was good coverage on Boldin, but the veteran WR made the play for a 26 yard gain. The Ravens would punt for the 5th time, but getting to midfield had the Pats facing their worst field position of the day.
9) NE’s first series of the 2nd half, reached the Ravens 34. Baltimore, helped by a drop on Welker on 3rd down, was able to force a NE punt. The ‘good’ here is that the Ravens got the ball back without NE stretching out their lead.
10) Baltimore came out throwing on their 2nd drive of the 3rd Quarter. Pass interference on Dennard, gave the Ravens a 1st down at their 28. Flacco was attempting to find Doss on a back shoulder throw. A quick strike to Pitta over the middle, gave Baltimore a 22 yard gain to midfield. On 2nd and 10, Rice made something out of nothing, and gave the Ravens another 1st. On 1st and 10 from the Pats 35, Smith caught a 5 yard slant. Pierce moved the chains, making a man miss and gaining 8 yards. Beautiful slant pass to Boldin for another 1st, taking the ball to the Pats 10. Somehow Pitta held on for a 5 yard catch, despite a huge hit. On 2nd and 5, Pitta had a TD reception. With the extra point, the Ravens took a 14-13 lead with 6:14 left in the 3rd Quarter. Baltimore’s drive went 87 yards, over 10 plays, taking 3:43 off the clock. It was good to see Baltimore make the adjustment of throwing more on 1st down.
11) Playing with that 14-13 lead, Baltimore’s defense was able to force a 3 and out on NE on the following series. McPhee got pressure on 3rd and 12.
12) The Ravens 3rd series of the 3rd Quarter, saw Rice lose 4 yards on 1st down. On 2nd and 14, Flacco found Smith for 23 yards. That took the Ravens to the NE 44. A penalty on NE, moved the Ravens to the 39. On 3rd and 2, Pierce bounced it outside, and beat Ninkovich for an 11 yard gain. On 2nd and 4, a quick slant to Pitta again moved the chains. This set up 1st and 10 from the NE 13. Closing out the 3rd Quarter, Rice picked up 2 yards for another 1st. The 4th Quarter began with 1st and Goal from the NE 3. A play action fake, set-up a pass to Boldin over the middle. Boldin went up and grabbed the pass, and just took it away with his strong hands. The extra point gave the Ravens a 21-13 lead with 14:56 left in the game. The Ravens went 63 yards over 10 plays, taking 4 minutes and 50 seconds off the clock.
13) The Ravens were up 21-13, when NE began their first series of the 4th Quarter. A Lloyd catch for 12 yard took the Pats to the NE 39. On the next play, Pollard and Ridley would collide on a vicious hit, which left Ridley appearing knocked out, and fumbling the ball. The fumble was recovered by Jones, and Baltimore took over at the NE 47.
14) Following the Ridley fumble, Flacco immediately found Smith for 16 yards. On the following 1st down, Flacco ran for 14 yards and another 1st down. On 2nd and 4 from the Patriots 11, Flacco again found Boldin for another Ravens TD. With the XP, Baltimore went up 28-13 with 11:13 left in the 4th. Baltimore’s 4 play, 47 yard drive lasted just 1 minute and 33 seconds. The Ravens taking advantage of the Ridley fumble, and getting any points was great. Getting the TD was superb, as it allowed the Ravens to really take control of the game.
15) The Patriots started their 2nd drive of the 4th Quarter with 11 minutes left, from their 29. Playing with pace, Brady had two quick hits to get NE to midfield. On 3rd and 1, Vereen picked up a Patriots 1st down with a 7 yard gain. Welker had a catch on the following 1st down, with Cary Williams and Ngata making the hit. Vereen moved the Pats to the 25 with a 13 yard gain. On 1st and 10 Brady found Branch for 6 yards in-front of Smith. Ultimately, the Patriots were facing 4th and 4 from the Ravens 19. Baltimore forced Brady from the pocket, and had the NE receivers covered. Brady’s throw went incomplete, and Baltimore took over on downs with 8:27 left in the game.
16) NE had a 1st and 10 from the Ravens 24, when McPhee tipped a Brady pass, leading to an Ellerbe interception. Baltimore took over on downs, with the 15 point lead, and less than 7 minutes remaining in the game.
17) Leach sealed the game with a 1st down run on 3rd and 1 with under 3 minutes remaining in the game.
18) Flacco threw 3 TD’s, and really took control of the game in the 2nd half. Great decision making, and he made the throws to win.
19) Baltimore’s defense did a great job against the Patriots high-scoring, high-octane offense.
20) CBS’s Bill Cowher said at halftime the game would be won by who made the better adjustments. Credit goes to the Ravens Coaching staff.
21) The Ravens had to win 3 games here in the Playoffs to earn their trip to New Orleans. They beat the Colts in a game they were never in danger of losing. They went to Denver, and beat Manning and the Broncos. They went to New England, and beat Brady and the Patriots. They have certainly earned the opportunity to play for the organizations 2nd Lombardi Trophy.
22) Williams completely ended things with his interception of Brady.
1) New England’s hurry-up offense made a difference on their initial series, with Brady finding Hernandez over the middle on 2nd down. After a 3rd and 2 pass to Welker went incomplete, it appeared that the Ravens had forced the Patriots to punt. A formation with back-up QB Ryan Mallet on the field, had the Ravens using a timeout.
2) The Ravens went 3 and out on their first series. Two runs for Rice for 6 yards, and a attempted screen pass to Rice that went incomplete on 3rd and 4.
3) The Patriots 2nd drive started from their 21. They quickly picked up a 1st down. Hernandez gained 8 yards on the following 1st and 10. Pollard missed a tackle, allowing Hernandez to gain additional yards. On 3rd and 2, Brady had a clean pocket, an found Lloyd for 14 yards. Lloyd held on despite a good hit from Reed. An inside screen to Hernandez on 2nd and 10 gave NE another 1st. A quick snap on 2nd and 9 caught the Ravens flat-footed. Lloyd made Baltimore pay with a 16 yard reception to the Baltimore 20. An end-around to Hernandez took the Pats to the 12. NE’s 5+ minute drive used 13 plays to go 67 yards – resulting in a Gostkowski FG for a 3-0 lead.
4) Prior to the Ravens starting their 2nd drive, Bynes was charged with an illegal block-in-the-back, on the Patriots kickoff. This caused the Ravens to start from their 10.
5) The Ravens 2nd drive had a positive start with a 17 yard gain dump off to Leach. On 2nd and 8, the Ravens went down the field, incomplete to Boldin. On 3rd and 8, Rice was charged with a false start. Facing 3rd and 13, the Ravens were not able to pick up a 1st, and had to punt.
6) On New England’s 3rd series, the Pats faced 3rd and 2 from their 41. Jimmy Smith missed a potential pick, and Lewis was charged with unnecessary roughness on the catch from Hernandez. With the penalty, New England advanced to the Ravens 36.
7) During the Ravens 3rd series, Flacco rolled out, trying to find Dickson on 2nd and 7. Dickson was unable to come up with the catch. On 3rd and 7, Flacco led Pitta too far up the sideline. Baltimore was forced to punt for a 3rd time. There was a 28 yard return from Welker on the punt, allowing New England to start at around midfield.
8) After Baltimore took the 7-3 lead, Ellerbe picked up a personal foul on the following NE drive. Aided by that penalty, a drive which started at the NE 21, quickly had the Patriots at midfield. A 4 yard gain by Ridley on 2nd and 3, picked up a 1st down to the Ravens 40. An inside screen to Welker picked up 24 more yards. Reed missed a tackle on the play. On 3rd and Goal from the Ravens 1, Welker found himself open in the end zone. Graham and Brown were upset with each other on the play. New England went 79 yards over 11 plays, and 5 minutes to reclaim the lead. With the extra point, the Pats led 10-7. You hated seeing the immediate answer to the Ravens score.
9) Baltimore’s 1st full drive of the 2nd Quarter, started at their 14. It was the best field position of any of the Ravens first 5 drives. Ninkovich would sack Flacco on 3rd and 6, causing Baltimore to punt back to New England with just under 3 minutes left in the 1st half. McKinnie was beat badly on the play. A positive Welker return, had NE starting in Baltimore territory.
10) With time running out on the 1st half, NE faced 4th and 1 from the Ravens 34. Woodhead picked up a NE 1st down on a direct snap, that Baltimore seemed unprepared for. This kept the Patriots offense on the field. On 3rd and 10 from the Ravens 27, Hernandez gained 17 yards. This put NE at the Baltimore 10, with 26 seconds left in the half. Gostkowski would kick his 2nd FG as time ran out on the 1st half, putting NE up 13-7.
11) In the 1st half, NE won the time of possession battle 18:12 to 11:48. In the 2nd Quarter, NE was 3 of 4 on 3rd downs.
12) Baltimore’s offense was a bit too predictable on 1st down in the 1st half. With Talib out for most of the 1st half, it should have been difficult to take away both Smith and Boldin. Even if they were covered, that should have allowed for single coverage on the TE’s. I liked getting the ball to the Ravens RB’s, but felt there were opportunities to attack the NE Secondary.
13) Boldin’s 26 yard catch to begin the 2nd half, gave the Ravens a 1st and 10 from the NE 48. After that though, the drive stalled and Baltimore was forced to punt.
14) New England’s first drive of the 2nd half started from their 9. Lloyd started things with a 6 yard catch. Ridley would pick up a 1st with a run between the tackles. A 5 yard catch from Hernandez took the Patriots to their 25. A 24 yard gain to Welker was made worse by a 15 yard penalty on Pollard. This took NE to the Ravens 36.
15) Leading 28-13, the Ravens took over on downs from their 19, with 8:27 left in the game. Baltimore would go 3 and out, with a drive that lasted just 1 minute. You would have liked to have seen Baltimore run the ball there, and use the clock a bit.
1) The Ravens offense had a poor 1st Quarter, with Baltimore being forced to punt during each of their 3 full series, holding the ball for just 4 minutes, and 11 seconds. Their drives started at their 13, 10, and 8 yard lines.