The Second Half
The Patriots had deferred the kick off after winning the toss in the first half. Therefore, they received the ball to open the third quarter.
When they got the ball, took the ball on a long 14 play drive that lasted 5 minutes and 54 seconds. However, they failed to score a touchdown and were forced to kick a field goal. Stephen Gostkowski made a 24 yard field goal to bring the Patriots up by 6 points.
Patriots 16 Ravens 10
The Ravens got the ball back on their 22 yard line. Flacco drove the Ravens down the field on 10 plays to the 29 yard line. Then on the next play, Flacco hit Torrey Smith on a short pass to the right. Smith shook off the defender and rumbled 23 more yards before he leaped into the end zone for the score. The Ravens had their first lead of the game.
Ravens 17 Patriots 16
Cundiff kicked the ball off to the Patriots. It landed in the arms of Danny Woodhead 4 yards deep in the end zone. Woodhead took it out to run and looked like he was making a great run all the way to the New England 31 before he got stripped from the side and fumbled giving the ball right back to the Ravens.
The Ravens then held the ball for another 4 plays. Then on the next play, Joe Flacco was sacked for a 12 yards loss. The Patriots defense had stopped them. Baltimore was forced to kick another field goal. This time, a 39 yarder.
Ravens 20 Patriots 16
When the Patriots got the ball back there was only 43 seconds left in the third quarter. They ran three plays before the third period ended.
When the fourth quarter began, the Patriots were on Baltimore’s 26 yard line. After a couple of runs and few passes the Patriots found themselves on the Baltimore 1 yard line. After what seemed like a Tom Brady touchdown off of a quarterback sneak, the Patriots had the call reversed and had to run a few more plays before Tom Brady punched it in for the score.
Patriots 23 Ravens 20
The Ravens got the ball back and drove 6 plays. On the seventh play, Flacco threw a pass intended for tight end Ed Dickson over the middle. However, linebacker Brandon Spikes intercepted it and returned the ball to the 50 yard line for a 19 yard return.
At this point it seemed like the Patriots had the game in hand. They had the lead and the ball. Everything seemed to be in hand. But, it was not to be.
On the next offensive play, Brady threw his second interception of the afternoon to Jimmy Smith. This gave the ball right back to Baltimore.
When the Ravens got the ball back they drove the ball 7 plays before eventually missing a fourth down conversion, instead of going for a field goal, at the New England 33 yard line. This gave the Patriots the ball back.
New England could do nothing with the ball though, and after only a few plays they were forced to punt right back to the Ravens. The ball was punted to the Baltimore 17 yard line before Lardarius Webb returned it 4 yards to the Ravens 21 yard line. At this point there was only one minute and 44 seconds remaining in an extremely tight back and forth game.
The Ravens drove down the field, until they faced a third down conversion which they made on a 29 yard pass play to Anquan Boldin down to New England’s 23 yard line. This gave them a fresh set of downs.
There were 51 seconds left on first down. Flacco took the ball all the way down to the New England 10 yard line on first down. Then he threw two consecutive incomplete passes, one of which looked like a sure touchdown, but was broken up in the end zone by defensive back Sterling Moore who began the year on the Oakland Raiders practice squad.
This left the game in the hands, or should I say the foot of Billy Cundiff who had been perfect on the afternoon. He only needed to chip in a 32 yard field goal to tie the game and most likely send it to overtime.
Patriots and Ravens fans both held their breath in anticipation. Cundiff’s kick was snapped out of place and the holder did not get the laces around properly. Cundiff made contact and the kick sailed wide left.
The crowd exploded with elation. The Patriots were going to the Super Bowl for the 5th time under head coach Bill Belichick.
They had fulfilled three of their 4 goals on the season. The first was to win their division, which they did easily. The second was to win their first playoff game in their last three tries. Their third was to win the AFC Championship. Now, they will be striving to meet their fourth goal, to win the Super Bowl for the 4th time under Belichick’s brilliant coaching and Tom Brady’s Hall of Fame play!
FINAL SCORE Patriots 23 Ravens 20
Time to celebrate Patriots Nation. You are going to the SUPER BOWL!