Brady leads Patriots past Ravens in thriller

Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:56pm EST
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(Reuters) - The New England Patriots fought back from 14-point deficits twice to beat the Baltimore Ravens 35-31 in a thrilling playoff contest as they advanced to the AFC Championship game for the fourth straight year on Saturday.

The Patriots will now host the winners of Sunday’s game between Denver and Indianapolis with a place in the Super Bowl on the line.

New England did not lead until quarterback Tom Brady connected with Brandon LaFell for a 23-yard touchdown with five minutes to play to give the Patriots their 35-31 advantage.

The score allowed Brady, who threw for three touchdowns, to break Joe Montana’s record of 45 playoff touchdowns.

"We showed a lot of toughness coming back from those two deficits," said Brady.

"It took a lot of effort, a lot of guys making a lot of good plays and we are happy to host the championship game next week."

The Ravens, who twice since 2000 had beaten the Patriots in playoff games, demonstrated their intent on the game's first drive with Joe Flacco leading them on a five-play, 71-yard drive culminating in a 19-yard touchdown pass to Kamar Aiken.

The freezing Foxborough crowd were stunned when, on their second possession, the Ravens scored again, Flacco, who threw for four touchdowns, finding Steve Smith who beat Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis on a slant.

Brady, who passed for 367 yards, brought the Patriots back with a clever four-yard touchdown run.   Continued...

Jan 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) throws the ball over New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones (95) during the second quarter in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports