John Harbaugh and his Baltimore Ravens set up a family reunion at the Super Bowl, shutting down the New England Patriots 28 13 Sunday in the AFC Championship Game.
The Ravens reached their first Super Bowl in 12 years thanks to three touchdown passes from Joe Flacco and a defence led by Ray Lewis that made Tom Brady look downright ordinary.
It will be quite a last game for Lew is, the emotional linebacker who will retire after the game against the 49ers, who opened as a five point favourite.
Driven by Lewis pending departure from the NFL, Baltimore defence stepped up in the playoffs. Brady was 67 0 at home when leading at halftime, but this was no contest in the second half.
It was a first for the Patriots, who hadn lost an AFC championship at home. After they had avenged last year AFC title game loss at Gillette Stadium, many of the Ravens gathered on the field jumping, chest bumping and whooping before several thousand fans wearing Ravens jerseys mostly Lewis No. 52 who remained in the stands.
As in the previous two playoff wins against Indianapolis and Denver, the Ravens (13 6) were brilliant in spots. Cheap Jerseys china This might be 17 year veteran Lew is team, but it also Flacco and the quarterback six road wins are the most in playoff history.
was pretty awesome, Flacco said. were here last year and thought we had it, but came up a little short. Guys came out in the second half and made plays. We put pressure on them and it worked pretty well. the only quarterback to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons, was dynamic with his arm and precise with his decision making. Looking much more the championship passer than Brady did, his throws of 11 and three yards to Anquan Boldin and five to Dennis Pitta all were perfect.
New England (13 5) lost a home AFC title matchup for the first time in five home games. The loss denied Brady and coach Bill Belichick a shot at their sixth Super Bowl. They gone 3 2, losing their last two times in the big game.
Instead, it the AFC North champion Ravens heading to the Big Easy, seeking their second NFL championship. San Francisco has won five.
is our time. This is our time, Lewis said as he and a few teammates were receiving the AFC championship trophy.
The Ravens have gotten there the hard way, with no post season bye. Then again, five of the last seven Super Bowl champions took that route.
The Ravens were pushed into a second overtime in frigid Denver last weekend before eliminating Peyton Manning and the top seeded Broncos.
And now they cast aside the league most successful franchise of the last dozen years.
New England (13 5), who hasn won a Super Bowl since the 2004 season, had four injuries, the scariest when running back Stevan Ridley was knocked flat by Bernard Pollard in the fourth quarter, forcing a fumble. Baltimore turned that into the final touchdown, on the only short scoring drive it had, 47 yards.
The Ravens gained just 130 yards in the first half.
Brady guided a 13 play drive to Stephen Gostkowski 31 yard field goal for a 3 0 lead. Neither defence yielded a big play and punters Zoltan Mesko and Sam Koch were the busiest guys on the field.
That changed when the teams switched sides for the second quarter. Baltimore again was pinned deep, at its 10, but Flacco led a 13 play drive. Ray Rice, whose 83 yard run on the Ravens first play from scrimmage in their wild card round victory here three years ago, ran left untouched for the TD.