Ravens 28, Patriots 13

Mike Shalin, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It is going to be a Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh Super Bowl.
Hours after Jim Harbaugh directed the San Francisco 49ers into the NFL's title game, his brother John's Baltimore Ravens upset the New England Patriots with a second-half rally that produced a 28-13 win Sunday in the AFC Championship Game.
The coaching brothers and their teams will square off in New Orleans on Feb. 3.
Joe Flacco, whose unlikely bomb tied the game in Denver last week and who clearly came into Sunday's game as the "other" quarterback (to Tom Brady), threw three second-half touchdown passes. Flacco rallied the Ravens from a 13-7 halftime deficit to their third playoff win in three weeks.
The victory means linebacker Ray Lewis will get the chance to win his second Super Bowl, as his retirement tour enters its fourth game.
With the Patriots suffering a series of defensive injuries, the biggest to cornerback Aqib Talib, Flacco picked the undermanned New England secondary apart. He was just 6-for-12 for 81 yards in the first half, but he went 15-for-22 with the three TDs after the break. Flacco finished 21-for-36 for 240 yards as he advanced to his first Super Bowl. He lost both of his previous AFC title games.
Two of the touchdown passes were to Anquan Boldin, the other to tight end Dennis Pitta. Baltimore's Ray Rice also ran for a score as the Ravens, who beat the Patriots back in September, avenged last year's painful AFC Championship Game loss on the same field.
Brady threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker in the second quarter, and Stephen Gostkowski kicked two field goals.
Lewis, who did his trademark "squirrel dance" before the game, got to celebrate on the field when the game ended, as the favored Patriots quietly walked away. Several Baltimore players ran to their fans in the stands.
The Patriots came into the game leading the league with a plus-25 turnover ratio but failed to get a takeaway. New England also lost the ball three times, all in a scoreless second half, another reason the home team wasn't able to make it to its sixth Super Bowl in the past 12 years.
New England won three Super Bowls in a four-year span but hasn't won one since the game that ended the 2004-05 season.
Brady finished 29-for-54 for 320 yards and a deflected interception on a windy night. He threw for enough yards to roar past Brett Favre to become the all-time leader in postseason passing yardage.
Aaron Hernandez had nine catches for 83 yards and Welker eight for 117 yards and a touchdown for New England.
Boldin finished with five receptions for 60 yards and the two scores.
The Ravens' first four possessions began at their 13-, 10-, 8- and 10-yard lines, respectively, but Flacco cashed on the fourth chance, leading a 90-yard drive that took 13 plays and 5:51 off the clock.
With Talib in the locker room, the big play on the drive was a 25-yard pass from Flacco to Torrey Smith that took the ball down to the New England 15. It took four plays from there to get into the end zone, as Rice scored with 9:28 left in the half.
But Brady then took his team right down the field in the no-huddle, an 11-play drive ending with the 1-yard TD pass to Welker on third-and-goal. Ravens teammates Corey Graham and Chykie Brown were yelling at each other after the play.
New England then took advantage of a poor punt by Sam Koch to take possession at the Baltimore 43. A fourth-and-1 direct snap to Danny Woodhead (playing with a thumb injury) gained 7 yards to the 27. A third-down pass to Aaron Hernandez brought the ball to the 10 with 26 seconds left. Brady scrambled to the 7, but poor clock management by the quarterback forced the Patriots to settle for Gostkowski's second field goal and a 13-7 halftime lead.
The Patriots took a 3-0 lead on their second possession. They got as far as the Baltimore 12 before settling for Gostkowski's 31-yard field goal. Brandon Lloyd made two big catches on the drive.
NOTES: New England rookie defensive end Chandler Jones was questionable with an ankle injury but was active entered the game in the second quarter. His brother Arthur is a defensive end for the Ravens who recovered a key fumble Sunday. This season marks the first time (this the second game) the brothers, teammates at Syracuse, have been on opposing teams. Their family came up from Long Island for the game. "It's fortunate that I have the opportunity to play against my brother," Chandler Jones said, "but it all boils down to us trying to win and achieve that goal." ... The temperature was over 50 degrees during the daytime hours but dropped to 41 by game time, with a 32-degree wind-chill factor thanks to the gusty wind. ... The Patriots came in with a 14-3 all-time home playoff record, 4-0 in AFC title games. ... Flacco entered the game with nine touchdowns and four interceptions while going 2-3 against New England, while Brady had seven TD passes and eight interceptions while going 5-2 against Baltimore. ... The Patriots will play at Baltimore during the 2013 regular season. ... Former Patriots Kevin Faulk and Matt Light were the honorary captains Sunday night. ... Baltimore is the only team to make the playoffs each of the past five years. The Ravens have played in six of the past seven postseasons.

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