Ravens Upset Patriots in AFC Championship

 

THE RAVENS ARE HEADED TO THE SUPER BOWL!!!!

Sunday the Baltimore Ravens took care of the second seeded New England Patriots a week removed from beating the one seeded Broncos. Baltimore held Tom Brady and the Patriots to a scoreless second half and won in dominating fashion 28-13.

The Ravens have been riding an emotional high this playoffs, as right before the postseason started Mr. Ray Lewis announced that this would be his final hoorah. And no team has been playing better football in this year’s playoffs than Lewis’ Ravens. On Sunday Baltimore couldn’t have ask for any sweeter of a revenge than how the AFC Championship played out. Last year the Patriots won by 3 against the Ravens to advance to the Super Bowl and yesterday more than made up for the pain of last year’s loss after man handling the Patriots.

This first half was tight throughout as the Patriots headed into halftime with a 13-7 lead and had most people thinking we were going to see Tom Brady lead his Patriots to the Super Bowl once again. Man were we wrong as the Ravens ended a couple absurd streaks the Patriots hung their hats on. Before Sundays game, Tom Brady was 4-0 all time in home AFC title games and 63-0 in home games when leading at intermission. Joe Flacco and the Ravens dug their nails in the second half and ended both of those amazing streaks as Flacco threw for three second half TDs and rallied his Ravens to a 28-13 victory. Let’s take a look at what the Ravens did right to head to the franchise’s second Super Bowl since being in Baltimore, while Patriot fans will be enjoying the Pro Bowl next week.

 

What the Ravens did to win the game

With all the commotion of the recent coordinator hirings and the lack of African-Americans coaching on the offensive side of the ball, Jim Caldwell certainly has cemented his grasp of the offensive coordinator job in Baltimore. Caldwell called another great game where balance was the name of the game. The Ravens gathered 121 rushing yards to go along with 240 passing yards on 33 rushing attempts and 36 passing attempts. If Caldwell isn’t retained as the Ravens’ offensive coordinator, I can say with confidence that the entire football world would be shocked.

Flacco continued his outstanding play and is cementing his legacy as a playoff baller. He is now 8-4 in the playoffs and will be headed to the Super Bowl for the first time in his career. Flacco threw for 240 yards and 3 touchdowns Sunday to up his playoff numbers to an astounding 51 of 93 for 853 yards and 8 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. And what do those numbers say? They say that Flacco Balls So Hard in the Playoffs and is certainly deserving of a huge contract extension.

The rushing attack had another great game but this week the yardage wasn’t dominated by Ray Rice. The Patriots held Ray Rive in check for the most part as he was only able to gain 48 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries. RB Bernard Pierce made the most of his carries though as he was able to gain 52 yards on only nine carries. Ever since Caldwell took the reins of the offense, a three headed monster has emerged for the Ravens: Flacco, Rice, and Pierce.

Baltimore’s defense also played a huge role in their victory on Sunday. The Ravens D held New England to their lowest point total of the season and shut them out the second half. In the second half, Baltimore’s defensive playmakers stepped up and made plays. But it wasn’t playmakers Suggs, Reed, and Lewis that you would think that came up with big plays. It was the Ravens younger guys making plays and sealing the game for the Ravens in the second half. Safety Bernard Pollard came up with a vicious pop that knocked out and caused Stevan Ridley to cough up the football early in the 4th quarter when it was still a one score game. That turnover led the Ravens to Anquan Boldin’s second TD of the day that made it a two score game. Then after the Ravens forced a 4-and out, Dannell Ellerbe and Cary Williams picked off Tom Brady on the Patriots next two drives that sealed the game and punched the Ravens’ ticket to the Super Bowl. Ray Lewis played another inspiring game as he recorded 14 tackles to lead Baltimore in tackles for the third straight week.

 

Key Match-Up Review

This week’s match-up to keep an eye on was Ray Rice versus the Patriots front seven. As I noted above the Patriots did a good job containing Rice in only allowing him 48 rushing yards and one touchdown. The Patriot’s D did have problems containing Bernard Pierce though as he ran for an average of 5.8 yards on his 9 carries for a total of 52 yards. The Ravens rushing attack, not just Ray Rice, won this battle and the Ravens emerged victorious.

 

Prediction Review

Another week of picking the Ravens has turned into another victory. I thought this would have been a more tightly contested ball game than it was as I predicted the score to be 31-28, a three point win for Baltimore. Well the Ravens tightened town the hatchet and dominated the Patriots the second half and won 28-13.

 

What’s Next

The Ravens claimed the AFC Championship on Sunday and will be headed to New Orleans to battle the San Francisco 49ers. This will be the first ever Super Bowl match-up were a pair of brothers are the head coaches of the two teams fighting for the Lombardi Trophy. Super Bowl Sunday will be on February 3rd, two weeks from yesterday’s victory over the Pats. In the meantime enjoy this awesome victory and start pre-gaming for the Super Bowl!

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