Analysis by Tim Keeney
(BleacherReport) — With a 28-13 win over the New England Patriots in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, the Baltimore Ravens set up a battle with the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.
And Harbaughs everywhere can now rejoice.
The first quarter was eerily reminiscent to last year’s AFC title game. Both defenses held steady, and the Patriots were only able to grab a field goal, while Baltimore was held scoreless.
But with Pats cornerback Aqib Talib sidelined due to a thigh injury, the Ravens were able to move the ball much more easily in the second quarter. Fueled by a 25-yard completion to Torrey Smith, who beat Talib’s replacement, Kyle Arrington, Joe Flacco led an impressive 90-yard drive that was capped off by a Ray Rice two-yard touchdown run.
Not to be outdone, Tom Brady found Wes Welker for a short touchdown to finish off the very next drive. Soon after, Stephen Gostkowski added his second field goal to give the Pats a 13-7 lead at halftime.
But in the third quarter, Flacco took over.
The oft-criticized quarterback looked nearly unstoppable as he led two long touchdown drives, while his defense tightened up and forced Brady and the Pats to unsuccessfully dink and dunk underneath.
A monstrous hit by Bernard Pollard caused a Steven Ridley fumble a few minutes into the fourth, and Flacco immediately connected with Anquan Boldin three plays later to put the Ravens up 28-13 with 11 minutes to go.
The Patriots threatened to work back into contention, but Dannell Ellerbe picked off a tipped Tom Brady throw to seal a trip to New Orleans for the Ravens.
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