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Patriots-Ravens AFC Championship Highs & Lows

By Levan Reid, WBZ-TV Sports
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Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts after an interception by Lardarius Webb (not pictured) #21 of the Baltimore Ravens in the first quarter during their AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts after an interception by Lardarius Webb (not pictured) #21 of the Baltimore Ravens in the first quarter during their AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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New England Patriots

FOXBORO (CBS) – WBZ-TV’s Levan Reid breaks down the Patriots-Ravens AFC Championship at Gillette Stadium.

Fourth Quarter/Final Thoughts

The Patriots are heading to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis after a 23-20 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Tom Brady had an off-day, throwing for 236 yards and two interceptions, but the defense got the job done for New England.

“I sucked pretty bad today, but our defense saved us,” Brady told CBS’ Jim Nance after the win.

Vince Wilfork was HUGE as usual with six tackles, a sack and three tackles for a loss.

The defense has only gotten better as the season progressed, and we’ll see if that trend continues in two weeks in Indianapolis.

Burton, Zolak On Pats D, Robert Kraft: 

The Highs

- The Patriots got two big plays from corner Sterling Moore on the Ravens final drive. First he knocked a pass out of Lee Evan’s hands in the end zone that would have put Baltimore ahead. He knocked another pass away from tight end Dennis Pitta on the next play. That led to Billy Cundiff’s missed field goal.

- The Ravens went for it on fourth and six at the Patriots 33, instead of trying for a 51-yard game tying field goal, and the Patriots defense came up HUGE. Vince Wilfork with pressure on Flacco, who had to throw it away. Patriots took over and

- On fourth and goal from the half-yard mark, Tom Brady went up and over the pile to give the Patriots a 23-20 lead. Brady was short two plays earlier, and the Ravens had stopped Green-Ellis on third and goal, but Brady took care of business on fourth down.

- With the Pats up three, the Ravens were moving the ball down the field on the ground until the Patriots defense made Flacco pay for throwing it. Brandon Spikes comes up with a huge interception with 7:22 left to stop the drive and give the Patriots the ball back.

The Lows

- After the Spikes pick, Brady tried to go deep to Matthew Slater, and gets picked off in the end zone. A great play by Bernard Pollard to tip it to Jimmy Smith. Gave the ball right back to Baltimore.

3rd Quarter

The Highs

- The Patriots opened the quarter with the ball and they scored.  Aaron Hernandez had some big plays on this drive and BenJarvus Green-Ellis added a couple of tough runs.  It ended with a 24-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski.  Tom Brady was fired up on this drive.  He had a four-yard run and got up and started jawing with Ray Lewis.

- Given a short field after the kickoff fumble and the Pats defense held the Ravens to just three yards.  Great sack by James Ihedigbo and Rob Ninkovich on third down holds the Ravens to three points.

The Lows

- Tight End Rob Gronkowski walked off the field after rolling his ankle. He headed to the locker room as the quarter came to a close.

- The Pats again moved the ball but had to settle for a field goal. In four red zone trips they’ve only walked away with one touchdown.

-  On the Ravens first possession of the quarter the Pats defense had trouble getting off the field on third downs.  Baltimore converted on two straight third down plays and then connected on a 29 -yard touchdown from Flacco to Torrey Smith. Great catch and run to give Baltimore their first lead.

- After the Ravens scored the Pats gave them another turnover, this time on the kick return.  Danny Woodhead fumbled and the Ravens recovered. It led to three points on the board for Baltimore.

20 to 16 Ravens at the end of three…

2nd Quarter

The Highs

- Patriots get six on their first possession of the quarter. It was all BenJarvus Green-Ellis on the drive with four carries for 35 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown run. Benny pointed to the “MHK” patch on his jersey after the score, as everyone is trying to win this game for the late Myra Kraft. A good catch by Gronkowski for 20 yards moved the chains on the drive.

- The Patriots get some more on their second possession of the quarter. This was the Aaron Hernandez drive, as the Pats made their way down the field.  It ended with a 35-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski.

- The Patriots defense holds on the Ravens third possession of the quarter.  They force a turnover on downs. This could have been better, as there was a third and 15 and the Ravens converted but the Pats were able to stop them.

The Lows

-Two plays in and the Tom Brady interception cost the Patriots three points. Billy Cundiff boots a 20-yard field goal to tie things up.

- On the Ravens second possession of the quarter they answered the Pats touchdown with a TD of their own.  A couple of long passes got Baltimore down the field; 20 yards to Lee Evans and 37 yards to Anquan Boldin.  They finish with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Dennis Pita.  Patriots defense had no answer on  that drive.

- With one minute left in the half the Pats took two knees to close out the quarter.  Not sure why, this is not the Patriots way.  They played safe to end the half.

Patriots up 13-10 at the half…

1st Quarter

The Highs:

- Right off the bat the crowd was loud, and it was great to see Drew Bledsoe, Ty Law, Tedy Bruschi and Troy Brown on the field as honorary captains.  A great shot and the crowd really got into the game.

- The Ravens got the ball first and the Pats defense forced them into a three and out.  The first play did not go 80-plus yards, which was huge, and they put pressure on Joe Flacco on all three downs.

- The Pats forced the Ravens into another three and out on their second possession. A big sack by Mark Anderson on Flacco.  Pats defense has come to play.

- Pats get on the board on their second possession.  They use a 13-play drive in which the Patriots drove down the field, but only walk away with three. Brady missed Rob Gronkowski for a possible touchdown on this one…

- on the Ravens third possession of the quarter it was more of the same.  Three and out for Baltimore. Vince Wilfork big for the Pats defense as he stopped Ricky Williams in the backfield for a 5-yard loss and then sacked Flacco on third down.

The Lows:

- On the Pats first possession and they go three and out.  There was pressure on Brady.  They got seven on their first down but nothing after that.

- Patriots second possession and even though they scored three they could of had seven.  Brady and  Gronkowski were off on a timing play and Gronk was wide open.  Brady was also sacked on that series.

- Patriots made their first big mistake on their third possession. Brady tried to get the ball to Julian Edelman but gets intercepted by Lardarius Webb.  It was a bad throw by Brady and a great pick by Webb who had two against the Texans last Sunday.

3-0 Pats after one

Tune in to the Patriots-Ravens AFC Championship game on WBZ-TV and 98.5 The Sports Hub. After the game, stay tuned for the Patriots Postgame Show on the Hub, and Patriots Fifth Quarter over on MyTV38.

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