FOXBORO (CBS) – After a hard-fought battle with the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship, the New England Patriots are heading to their fifth Super Bowl since 2001.
The Patriots beat the Ravens 23-20 to advance to Super Bowl XLVI. They play will the winner of the 49ers-Giants NFC Championship.
“I want to congratulate these great players and the coaches. They’re an amazing team,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said after accepting the Lamar Hunt Trophy. “They’re a great brotherhood. They’re a family.”
“We’ve won 10 straight. Hopefully we can make it 11,” Quarterback Tom Brady said after the game.
Baltimore kicker Billy Cundiff missed a potential game-tying 32-yard field goal with 11 seconds remaining to clinch the win for New England.
The Patriots survived two Brady interceptions by getting a pair of rushing touchdowns; one by BenJarvis Green-Ellis in the second quarter and another by Brady in the fourth quarter.
Brady took his touchdown in on a fourth-and-goal play, giving the Patriots a 23-20 lead with 11:29 to play in the game.
The Patriots quarterback finished the game 22 for 36 with 239 yards and no touchdown passes.
“You want to hit the open guys, you want to capitalize when you have open receivers; I wish I had done a better job of that today,” said Brady. “I’m glad we won, I’m glad we’re moving on. Hopefully I can go out there and do better in a few weeks. I think offensively, we can do better and that’s what it’s going to take.”
The Ravens had a chance to tie or take the lead on their last possession, but corner Sterling Moore knocked a go-ahead touchdown out of receiver Lee Evan’s hands in the end zone with 22 seconds remaining.
“It wasn’t in my mind to slap the ball out, it was just a split second decision and I’m glad it worked out,” Moore said after the game. “We do that drill every day in practice but it was the first time I had to use it in a game and I just took what I learned from practice into the game.”
He knocked the next pass away as well, setting up the fourth down kick that Cundiff sent wide left.
“We believe in ourselves,” Moore said of the Patriots defense. “We knew we were going to have to go back out there and it would be on us. We want it to be on us. We want to prove to everybody that we’re an elite defense.”
“It was a great play by Sterling,” Brady said after the game. “These games come down to one or two plays and our defense really made some huge plays there, some pretty critical plays. It came down to the end, it was a hell of a game.”
For Brady, it is his 16th postseason win, tying him with Joe Montana for the most all-time. Brady is now 16-5 in the playoffs.
“It’s incredible,” he said of going to his fifth Super Bowl, tying John Elway for the most all time. “You watch this game as a kid growing up, I was a 49ers fan so I got to watch a lot of Super Bowls. You pinch yourself. To get this opportunity, I’m privileged to be a part of an incredible organization, to play with a great group of teammates. It’s really a privilege to play quarterback on this team.”
The Patriots are now 7-1 all-time in AFC Championship games.