by Paul Williams
The Patriots were coming off a big 45-10 win against the Denver Broncos and the Ravens were coming off a tight 20-13 win against the Texans. The Patriots beat the Broncos in every aspect of the game, but the Ravens struggled mightily against the Texans. If not for a few costly turnovers by the Texans, the Ravens would have lost this game. However this being the case, the Pats and Ravens met up in Foxboro on a mild day in the AFC Championship Game. The Pats won the kickoff and elected to let the Ravens have the ball first. The Ravens punted on their first two possessions, and the Pats kicked a field goal on their second possession to give them an early 3-0 lead. The teams traded possessions until late in the first, when Joe Flacco completed a 42 yard pass to Torrey Smith to set up a 20 yard field goal by Billy Cundiff early in the second to tie the score 3-3.
On their next possession, the Pats marched the ball right down the field and capped off the drive with a 7 yard rush touchdown by Benjarvus Green-Ellis. The Ravens did the same thing and capped off their drive with a 6 yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Dennis Pitta to tie the game at 10-10. The Patriots took the ball back down the field, but settled for a 35 yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski, giving the Pats a 13-10 halftime lead. The Pats got the ball to start the second half and they once again had to settle for a 24 yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski giving them a 16-10 lead. After a long drive by the Ravens, Joe Flacco threw a 29 yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith to give them a 17-16 lead. Danny Woodhead fumbled on the ensuing kickoff and the Ravens recovered. The Ravens offense stalled and settled for a 39 yard field goal by Billy Cundiff to give them a 20-16 lead.
The Patriots got the ball back and after a long drive, Tom Brady ran the ball in from a yard away. On the next possession, Brandon Spikes intercepted Joe Flacco and then Lardarius Webb intercepted Tom Brady. Both teams punted on their next possession, giving the Ravens the ball down 3 with under 2 minutes to play. Joe Flacco connected with Anquan Boldin 4 times on the next drive to bring the Ravens down to the Patriots 14. After a drop in the endzone by Lee Evans, the Ravens set up a 32 yard field goal attempt by Billy Cundiff to tie the game. With the game on the line and looking at overtime, Cundiff missed the 32 yard field goal to end the game.
Both teams played a poor game, but in the end it came down to a missed kick by Cundiff. Cundiff has been an inconsistent kicker his whole career, especially from long range kicks. He has also been cut by the Packers, Chiefs, and Lions over the course of his career. The Patriots will now take on the New York Giants in the Super Bowl on February 5th. This is a rematch of the 2008 Super Bowl where the Giants won 13-10.