Here we go again.
In a rematch of last year's AFC title game, the New England Patriots will once again host the Baltimore Ravens with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.
In what could be the last stop of Ray Lewis' last ride, the Ravens take on yet another future Hall of Fame quarterback in Tom Brady. Last week in the Divisional Round, Baltimore faced Peyton Manning, rallying in the final seconds to force overtime with a miraculous touchdown pass from Joe Flacco. It was in the second OT session when the Ravens' defense came through and intercepted an ill-advised pass from Manning to set up the game-winning field goal.
But now they take on Brady, who with New England's win over Houston last week, broke Joe Montana's record for most playoff victories. He's also just four postseason touchdown passes shy of tying Joe Montana's record of 45.
"It's a chess match, because he understands every coverage, he understands every defense," Lewis said about Brady's ability to read defenses, via NFL.com. "And if you give it away too early, then the game is like checkers for him."
While much of the focus will be on the Brady-Lewis narrative, the x-factor of the AFC Championship game might be Baltimore's quarterback. Flacco 7-4 record in the postseason isn't too shabby, and five of those wins have come on the road (tied with Eli Manning for the most in NFL history).
"I would like to think that I go out there and play consistently and approach everything the same way," Flacco said earlier this week. "I think that's been proved out. We win a lot of football games around here, and this is actually the third time I'm standing up here getting ready to play in an AFC championship game."
Will Flacco finally get over the hump and help extend Lewis' last ride to New Orleans for the Super Bowl? Or will Brady and the Patriots send the Ravens home for the second year in a row?
Scroll down for live updates.
|@ _BLowe : The Pats fall to 5-2 under Bill Belichick in AFC championship games.|
|@ RVacchianoNYDN : I'm now looking forward to two weeks of skipping the coaches press conferences during Super Bowl week.|
Harbaugh and Belichick had a nice postgame handshake. Let's see if Tom Brady will wait around to congratulate Ray Lewis.
Flacco takes 2 knees and the Ravens have beat the Patriots 28-13.
Brady looks deep to the end zone and Cary Williams picks it off. BALTIMORE IS GOING TO THE SUPERBOWL. HARBOWL!
Brady hits Hernandez with a short pass on his the left side and he fights his way for the first down. Brady spikes it with 1:13 left in the game.
Another Brady pass is deflected at the line and falls incomplete. It's McPhee again.
Welker makes another catch for 12 yards and makes it out of bounds. But Brady gets hit as he threw (by Suggs) and throws an incomplete pass on the next first down.
Brady hits Welker in the middle of the field for a gain of 12. Then they spike the ball. 1:44 left in the game.
|@ RossTuckerNFL : Better team won both games. Way it should be. Non-"elite" QB going to win SB first time long time.|
|@ ProFootballTalk : Joe Flacco should be very happy the Ravens never tried to sign him to a new contract during the regular season.|
Baltimore punts it out of bounds at the 33. Brady finds Lloyd on the sideline on first down for 10 yards. But then he gets hit by Ngata as he throws on first down, resulting in an incomplete pass. TWO MINUTE WARNING.
|@ AdamSchefter : Who has it better than the Harbaugh's?|
Ray Rice gets stopped for a loss and NE calls its final timeout at 2:11.
Rice runs up the middle for about 4 yards. And Ray Lewis is crying on the field. Pats call timeout.
|@ mattvensel : Ray Lewis looks fairly certain that this one is over.|
Rice runs left and gets stopped for a loss of a yard and New England finally calls its first timeout. 2:20 left in the game.
Leach powers his way for another first down up the middle and Ray Lewis is celebrating on the sideline.
Leach gets the handoff this time and steamrolls his way for a 4-yard gain. 3:40 left.
Pearce runs up the middle for 5 more. That's four straight runs by the Ravens. Smart..
Ray Rice gets another carry and keeps his feet moving for a 3-yard gain and a first down.
Ray Rice runs left again, gets to the outside and picks up about 8 yards down the sideline.
Ray Rice gets the carry and runs left for 1 yard. 6:30 left in the game.
Ruling on the field is confirmed. Interception.
|@ brian_mcintyre : If the Ravens don't run the ball right now...|
|@ _BLowe : And just like that, after a huge gain by Welker, life gets sucked out of Gillette Stadium with Brady's tipped pass INT.|
All turnovers are reviewed. But this one looks good. Maybe the Ravens will run the ball on their next drive?
Brady hurries up the offense, drops back quickly and fires a pass that gets deflected at the line by Pernell McPhee and INTERCEPTED BY DANELL ELLERBE. RAVENS BALL WITH 6:49 LEFT.
Brady finds Welker deep down the left side for a huge gain of 36. He was wide open. Hurry up offense.
|@ mattvensel : The drive took 48 seconds off the clock.|