Ravens swoop for revenge win over Patriots

Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:33am EST
 
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By Larry Fine

FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts (Reuters) - The Baltimore Ravens won their AFC title rematch against the New England Patriots, using a commanding second-half display to pull away for a 28-13 triumph on Sunday that booked a Super Bowl showdown against the San Francisco 49ers.

Baltimore outscored the Pats 21-0 after halftime as coach John Harbaugh gave Joe Flacco the green light to throw more against a depleted Patriots' secondary to complement the hard running by Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce.

"We kind of made a decision on the second half to cut it loose a little bit more," Harbaugh said. "We were running the ball with some effectiveness, but they were doing a good job on defense.

"Their front seven is as good as any in football and we had to get away from that. We had to get away from challenging them and give Joe a chance to make some plays."

Flacco, who threw for 81 yards on 6-of-12 passing in the first half, finished the game completing 21-of-36 for 240 yards and three second-half touchdowns, two to Anquan Boldin.

Along with some big stops by the Baltimore defense that halted New England drives into their territory, that added up to sweet revenge for last year's 23-20 loss to New England in the corresponding game in what was the first repeat clash between the same teams in successive AFC championships for 25 years.

Baltimore's victory also set up the first Super Bowl meeting between sibling head coaches. John Harbaugh's Ravens will face Jim Harbaugh's NFC champion 49ers, who rallied for a 28-24 road win over the Atlanta Falcons.

"I'd like to think our two teams are very similar," said John Harbaugh, at 50 the older brother by 15 months, after turning the February 3 title game in New Orleans into a family affair.   Continued...

 
Baltimore Raven players pray in the dressing room around the AFC Championship Trophy after defeating the New England Patriots in the NFL AFC Championship football game in Foxborough, Massachusetts, January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Young