AFC Championship Game: Ravens vs Patriots

Discussion in 'Game Summaries & Team News' started by Josh Barnes, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. Josh Barnes

    Josh Barnes Walk On

    Aug 12, 2013
    Ravens Upset Top Seeded Patriots, Advance to QSF Super Bowl


    Foxborough, MA -- The Baltimore Ravens (10-6) traveled to New England to take on the Patriots (15-1) in the AFC Championship game. These two teams met back in week 16 of the regular season with the Patriots coming from behind to beat the Ravens 38-31.

    Although the Patriots were able to come from behind and win the previous match up it was done with both teams backups coming in the middle of the third quarter. Baltimore’s defense forced Tom Brady into three interceptions, and was up 17 before both teams pulled their starters in favor of the backups.

    “Based off last game, we felt very confident as a defense coming in this week,” said Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs. “We never for one second underestimated their high powered offense. We know that have the capability to score at will, but based on our success as a unit week 16, we definitely felt like our game plan coming into today’s game would be successful.”

    The Ravens won the opening coin toss and elected to defer to the second half. With the wind to his back, place kicker Justin Tucker was able to boot the ball through the back of the end zone.

    Tom Brady would hand off to running back Stevan Ridley for a gain of two on first down. On 2nd and 8 Brady and the offense lined up in a single back ace formation.

    As soon as they lined up you could tell the Ravens defense had a pretty good idea of what the Pats were trying to do.

    “When they came out in that set, we had a pretty good feeling of what they wanted to do,” explained Ravens MLB Daryl Smith. “Unfortunately, I just wasn’t able to make the play. That’s a play I have to make, no excuses as to why I didn’t get it done. He (Gronk) made the play and I didn’t.”

    Brady hit TE Rob Gronkowski coming across the middle underneath TE Zach Sudfeld’s route. Smith jumped the route, but Gronk made a great adjustment on his route to undercut the breaking linebacker to make the catch.

    Brady would hit WR Aaron Dobson for a gain of 17 on the next play. After an incompletion on first down, Raven CB Lardarius Webb dropped a would be pick on second down. Facing a 3rd and 10 Brady would complete another pass to Gronkowski in tight coverage.

    Ravens SS Bernard Pollard had great coverage on the play, but for as great as his coverage was Brady’s pass was even better.

    The Pats would eventually work their way down to the goal line where Ridley would score on a 1 yard TD on second and goal.

    Trailing 7-0 and receiving the ball for the first time of the game, the Ravens looked to respond to New England’s opening drive.

    Unlike the previous week when FB Vonta Leach fumbled the ball after a completion to start the game, he was able to hold onto the rock for an 18 yard reception on the Ravens first play from scrimmage. After a gain of six yards on first and 10, Flacco connected with WR Torrey Smith for a gain of 25 to get the ball deep into Patriot territory.

    The Ravens would escape a scare a few plays later when running back Ray Rice broke off a 12 yard gain, but fumbled the ball in the process. For the second time this post season, guard Marshall Yanda was Johnny on the spot and recovered the fumble to end the first quarter.

    Rice would proceed to run for a three yard touchdown after a 13 yard completion to TE Dennis Pitta knotting the score at 7.

    Much like in the first game, Patriots return man Joe McKnight would burn the Ravens for a TD on the ensuing kickoff.

    The quick score did not do much to help the Patriots defense though, as they had just gotten off the field from a long Ravens drive. The quick turnaround proved to be evident on Baltimore’s next possession.

    After a nice return to the 34 on the kickoff, Joe Flacco hit TE Dennis Pitta for a gain of 12 on first down. Two plays later Pitta would make an unbelievable one handed catch over the middle for a gain of 15.

    Baltimore would face a tough 3rd and 1 two plays later at the Patriots 27. As he managed to do all throughout the regular season, Ray Rice was able to pick up the first gaining nine yards on the play. Flacco would hit WR Torrey Smith on the following play setting up a first and goal from the 6 yard line.

    On second and goal, the Patriots defense would send quick pressure of the left edge, which would prove to be devastating. Although the slot corner was able to come free untouched, there was a miscommunication in the secondary as to who was to either cover the running back or the flats to the left. Seeing the free rusher barreling down on him, Flacco threw a swing pass to Rice to the left who proceeded to march into the end zone for the easy touchdown knotting the game at 14 with three minutes left in the half.

    Many wondered if the Ravens would kick to McKnight again, but consistent with their team motto the Ravens showed no fear and kicked off this time stopping the return at the 22. Tied with the ball and three minutes left, Tom Brady and the Patriots offense looked to drive the field and score while chewing away the clock.

    The Ravens defense had other plans.

    After gaining a first down, Brady would be picked off by OLB Elvis Dumerville two plays later at the Patriots 35 with 1:15 left in the half.

    Knowing how powerful New England’s offense is, the Ravens decided to take their time with trying to score. As head coach John Harbaugh mentioned after the game, the team was content settling for a FG.

    “We obviously were looking to score a touchdown there at the end of the half, but at the same time we wanted to leave as little time on the clock as possible. That offense can score at will so we looked at draining the clock, and being content going into the half only up by three.”

    After a Rice draw only netted three yards on first down, the Ravens went back to the huddle instead of hurrying to the line. Flacco found receiver Deonte Thompson on 2nd and 7 for a gain of 12 yards. Once again instead of hurrying to the line or calling a timeout, the Ravens opted to huddle once again.

    Much to everyone’s surprise, the Patriots elected not to call a time out either, which had many fans and analysts scratching their head.

    “It is easy to second guess things after the fact. At the point in time, we felt like calling a timeout helped them more than it helped us. It obviously would have left more time for our offense, but ultimately we thought that not calling a timeout there increased the odds they would rush things and make a mistake,” explained Patriots head coach Bill Belichick after the game.

    Breaking the huddle with just under 30 seconds left, Flacco would hit WR Jacoby Jones for a twenty yard TD to take a 21-14 lead.

    With only 19 seconds, but having all three timeouts, the Patriots hoped to at least get into FG range. After a couple of completions got them to the 48 yard line, the Pats brought in backup QB Tim Tebow with only 6 seconds left in the half. This move once again left many folks scratching their heads.

    Tebow had two long runs off the read option against the Ravens in their previous meeting, so the team felt more confident in a successful read option for a big play versus attempting a Hail Mary. After faking the handoff to Ridley, Tebow was able to get around the edge; however, he was brought down after a minimal gain ending the first half.

    Baltimore received the opening second half kickoff up 21-14 and looking to add to their lead. After another solid return, the Ravens started at their own 34. It was clear from the get go they wanted to get Rice more involved in the running game.

    Rice carried the first three plays of the second half for a total of 11 yards, with 5 of them coming on a 3rd and 2. Following the successful conversion, Baltimore came out in another run heavy formation; however, this time Flacco would hook up with Smith who took a ten yard curl 55 yards to the house pushing Baltimore’s lead to 14.

    The Patriots would not be discouraged though traveling the length of the field their next possession thanks to several big time completions. Tom Brady hit WR Wes Welker on consecutive plays for a total of 22 yards, and then found Danny Amendola for a gain of 25 shortly thereafter.

    On 1st and 10 from the Ravens 21 Tebow absolutely trucked OLB Terrell Suggs in the backfield leading to a nine yard gain on the quarterback keep. Dobson would then drop a pass on second down, setting up a big third and inches for the Pats.

    HB Stevan Ridley would run for four yards converting the third and very short setting up first and goal at the seven yard line. Baltimore would dial up a blitz on first and goal nearly causing a turnover. Suggs forced a terrible pass as he hit Brady, but fellow OLB Dumerville was unable to come up with the interception.

    Now second and goal, Tebow would once again enter the game. Knowing that most teams look for the read option first and foremost when Tebow enters the game, the Patriots looked to catch the Ravens difference off guard. Instead of running the option, Tebow tried hitting Dobson breaking on a slant for the quick score, but was picked by rookie safety Matt Elam.

    Up 14 and with the ball at their own 10 yard line, the Ravens would execute possibly their best drive of the game.

    Flacco hit his two favorite targets Pitta and Smith on back to back plays for 18 and 35 yards respectfully. After a couple of Ray Rice runs for a first down, Flacco completed his seventh consecutive pass in a row on a HB screen to Rice for a gain of 13 yards to end the third quarter.

    Rice got the fourth started with a bang taking a counter 23 yards for six extending the Ravens lead 35-14 with 6:54 remaining in the game.

    Knowing that time was against them, the Patriots went to their no huddle offense on their next drive. After a 14 yard run by Tebow, Brady came back into the game completing passes to Ridley and Amendola on first and second down to secure a first. Raven CB Corey Graham would drop an interception on the following play to help keep New England’s drive alive. Three plays later, after New England gained a first down, veteran safety Brian Pollard would drop an interception in the end zone.

    Facing a 3rd and goal from the 3, Brady would take advantage of the dropped interceptions by hitting Dobson for a TD, closing the gap to 14 with 3:58 left.

    Looking to put the game away, Baltimore Flacco completed a 3rd and 9 pass to Michael Jenkins for his only catch of the contest. Baltimore was forced to run one more play prior to the two minute warning.

    “We came out looking to run the ball just before the two minute warning,” said Flacco. "Once we got to the line and saw the shifts the defense made, I knew the play we called was going to be a disaster. Instead of trying to force the run for the sake of running it and risking a fumble, I decided to check to a quick pass. Torrey seeing that he was getting pressed with no over the top help checked with me at the line and ran a streak,” explained Flacco of the audible.

    “Knowing how they came back against us earlier in the year, we certainly didn’t want to leave anything to chance. To us a 14 point lead was not safe at that point. With them still have all three timeouts; it would have only taken one mistake for that game to change dramatically.”

    The Patriots definitely knew the Ravens were running the ball right. Not only did they have an overload blitz coming from that side, but everyone on the defense also committed to the run to the right leaving Smith streaking down the field all alone for 6.

    With just over two minutes left in the game and down by 21 the Patriots would turn the ball over on downs after attempting three consecutive draws. The Ravens proceeded to kneel the remaining 1:30 off the clock to advance to the Super Bowl for the second straight year.

    The Ravens (10-6) will host the Carolina Panthers (11-5) in New York in two weeks to see who will be crowned the QSF Champion for the 2013 season. Forecasts are calling for heavy snow and sleet, which would certainly make things more interesting.

    Key Game Stats:

    QB Joe Flacco – 15 of 17 for 330 yards with 4 TD’s and 0 INT. Flacco completed his final 8 attempts of the game.
    HB Ray Rice – 149 yards on 22 attempts with 2 rushing TD’s. Rice also added a receiving TD.
    Baltimore’s offense did not turn the ball over, while the defense forced 3 turnovers (2 INT’s and 1 turnover on downs)

    QB Tom Brady – 16 of 25 for 235 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT
    QB Tim Tebow – 0 for 1 with and INT. Tebow had 5 rushes for 40 yards.
    HB Stevan Ridley – 11 attempts for 11 yards and 1 TD
    gg PepperNY I am definitely looking forward to more games against you in the future
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
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  2. PepperNY

    PepperNY Fear the Spear

    May 9, 2010
    Congrats on your run to the title. You outplayed me and my defense couldn't get off the field. I will make adjustments and hope to see you again in the future.
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