FOXBOROUGH — Tom Brady threw two interceptions and Stevan Ridley had a crucial fumble down the stretch as the Patriots were upset by the Baltimore Ravens, 28-13, in the AFC championship.
The Ravens will move on to play the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.
Brady finished 29 of 54 for 320 yards and a touchdown along with the two picks. He had a 62.3 quarterback rating. He had several miscues in the game, badly mismanaging the clock at the end of the first half, passing up an opportunity to scramble for a first down on a 4th-and-4 in the fourth quarter, and his last interception with a little more than a minute remaning, a desperation heave down the field to Brandon Lloyd in the end zone.
But he also missed open targets early, a deep pass to Wes Welker that would’ve opened the game up with a first-series touchdown.
The Patriots were outscored 21-0 in the second half.
Brady wasn’t helped by Welker, who had a crucial drop in the third quarter on third down. Or by Ridley’s fumble in the fourth quarter, a play in which Ridley was knocked unconscious by Ravens safety Bernard Pollard. He didn’t return to the game.
And when the Patriots did get going on offense, they found themselves having trouble in the red zone. The Patriots were 1 for 3 when they got within 20 yards of the end zone.
“I’d say we came up a little short in every area,” head coach Bill Belichick said.
After being down 13-7 at the half, Joe Flacco warmed up nicely for Baltimore. He finished 21 of 36 for 240 yards and three touchdowns. He had a QB rating of 106.2. Two of his touchdown passes went Anquan Boldin, who caught five passes for 60 yards.
The Patriots lost defensive tackle Kyle Love and cornerback Aqib Talib early in the game to injury. Talib injured his thigh and Love hurt his knee. Backup safety Patrick Chung was also shaken up in the game.
1:06 4th quarter: Ravens 28, Patriots 13 — Tom Brady was picked off in the end zone by Cary Williams, sealing what is now an inevitable win by the Baltimore Ravens.
2:11 4th quarter: Ravens 28, Patriots 13 — When the Patriots defense needed to get off the field quickly, it did — once. But not on this series. The Ravens picked up two first downs running the ball before the Patriots forced a punt. But in doing so, they burned all three of their timeouts.
6:49 4th quarter: Ravens 28, Patriots 13 — A Tom Brady pass was tipped by Pernell McPhee and intercepted by Dannell Ellerbe.
The Ravens now have an opportunity to wipe minutes off the clock and keep the game out of the Patriots’ reach.
This is a crushing play.
7:34 4th quarter: Ravens 28, Patriots 13 — The Patriots forced the Ravens into a three-and-out, with Rob Ninkovich coming up with two big plays on the series. He sacked Joe Flacco for a 1-yard loss and hurried him on third down into a bad pass.
The Patriots still have hope. They need a touchdown ASAP.
8:27 4th quarter: Ravens 28, Patriots 13 — After a promising drive, the Patriots turned the ball over on downs after Tom Brady couldn’t find an open receiver on fourth down. He had open field to run, but chose to throw it over the middle of the field where it was out of reach for Deion Branch.
This could be the failed drive that killed the Patriots’ Super Bowl hopes.
10:34 4th quarter: Ravens 28, Patriots 13 — Stevan Ridley has a head injury, according to the Patriots, and his return is questionable. He likely has a concussion.
11:13 4th quarter: Ravens 28, Patriots 13 — Anquan Boldin beat Patriots corner Marquice Cole soundly up the seam and caught an 11-yard touchdown pass as the Ravens capitalized on the Stevan Ridley fumble.
Ridley went to the locker room. We’ll have an update as soon as we know something concrete.
12:46 4th quarter: Ravens 21, Patriots 13 — Ravens safety Bernard Pollard gave a crushing hit to Patriots running back Stevan Ridley, knocking him out cold and forcing what appeared to be a fumble. After review, the play was upheld as a fumble and was recovered by Arthur Jones. It was a scary moment for Ridley, who ended up walking off the field under his own power.
Pollard, if you recall, knocked out Tom Brady in 2008. He was also the closest guy on the field when Wes Welker went down with an ACL injury and took out Rob Gronkowski last season. He did so for three different teams.
14:56 4th quarter: Ravens 21, Patriots 13 — Joe Flacco hit Anquan Boldin over the middle of the field for a 3-yard touchdown. Boldin grabbed the football over the top of Patriots safety Devin McCourty, who was matched up with Boldin in one-on-one coverage.
The touchdown capped a 10-play, 63-yard drive and put the Patriots down by more than a touchdown.
End of the 3d quarter: Ravens 14, Patriots 13 — The Ravens, when leading after three quarters, are 107-11 since the year 2000. Since 2008, they’re 49-9 when leading at the beginning of the fourth quarter. In 2012, they were 8-2 going into the fourth quarter with a lead.
4:46 3d quarter: Ravens 14, Patriots 13 — A holding call on Nate Solder killed the Patriots’ latest drive. On 3rd-and-12, Tom Brady threw behind Aaron Hernandez, forcing a Patriots punt.
Zoltan Mesko now has five punts on the game.
6:14 3d quarter: Ravens 14, Patriots 13 — Dennis Pitta put a nice little shimmy on Patriots safety Steve Gregory to get open for a 5-yard touchdown reception as the Ravens re-took the lead.
Joe Flacco led the Ravens on a 10-play, 87-yard drive down the field, going no-huddle toward the end.
He completed three passes to Pitta for 32 yards. A play prior to the touchdown, he hit Pitta for another 5-yard gain. Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo crushed Pitta on the reception, but it didn’t seem to faze the tight end.
10:03 3d quarter: Patriots 13, Ravens 7 — Wes Welker dropped a third down pass that hit him in his hands and his face mask as the Patriots were forced to punt in Ravens territory.
Zoltan Mesko’s punt went 21 yards, just to give you an idea of how short a punt it was. And it was one of Welker’s more egregious drops this season.
12:46 3d quarter: Patriots 13, Ravens 7 — The Patriots forced another Ravens punt, getting Joe Flacco to throw two incomplete passes in a row and stuffing Ray Rice on a run up the middle.
Brandon Spikes came up with the tackle for a loss and Alfonzo Dennard had tight coverage (maybe too tight) on Torrey Smith on the sideline. In a case of what appeared to be miscommunication, Flacco misfired to Smith on 3rd-and-12.
15:00 3d quarter: Patriots 13, Ravens 7 — The second half is now underway.
End of the 2d quarter: Patriots 13, Ravens 7 — Stephen Gostkowski chipped in a 25-yard field goal as time expired in the first half after Tom Brady failed to call timeout with enough time to take another shot at the end zone.
Brady scrambled for a 3-yard gain just the play prior to Gostkowski’s field goal, and tried to get his teammates to the line of scrimmage to run another play as time was dwindling before he called the timeout.
At the half, Brady is 14 of 24 for 124 yards and a touchdown. Stevan Ridley has 13 carries for 46 yards. Aaron Hernandez has 7 catches for 67 yards.
2:43 2d quarter: Patriots 10, Ravens 7 — Rob Ninkovich went right through left tackle Bryant McKinnie to take down Joe Flacco fora 4-yard sack on third down. It forced another three-and-out punt by the Ravens.
A couple of observations: The Patriots are sticking to their base defense more and more after the Aqib Talib injury. He’s on the bench, but he hasn’t returned to the game. Kyle Arrington has taken his place and has been matched up on Torrey Smith.
Chandler Jones, who was probable with an ankle injury, has only played a handful of snaps. We saw him on the goal line but Justin Francis took the start and has played a majority of the game.
4:18 2d quarter: Patriots 10, Ravens 7 — Tom Brady threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker on a quick out.
The Ravens appeared confused on their coverage of the play. Welker was wide open.
The drive allowed the Patriots torespond fairly quickly to the Ravens’ touchdown, spanning 11 plays, 79 yards, in 5:10.
Welker came up with another huge play on the drive, a 24-yard screen pass that he took into the red zone.
9:28 2d quarter: Ravens 7, Patriots 3 — Ray Rice escaped to the outside, eluding a tackle from Patriots safety Patrick Chung, for a 2-yard touchdown as the Ravens took the lead in the second quarter.
Chung was shaken up on the play.
The Ravens marched down the field in 13 plays, 90 yards for the game’s first touchdown. Joe Flacco hit Torrey Smith for 25-yard pass and Dennis Pitta for a 17-yarder.
An update on Aqib Talib. He has a thigh injury and his return is questionable.
0:26 1st quarter: Patriots 3, Ravens 0 — The Patriots went three-and-out. Tom Brady felt some strong pressure on first down, throwing it away, and then hit Aaron Hernandez for an 8-yard pass. On third down, he targeted Brandon Lloyd but the ball bounced off the receiver and was almost intercepted by Ravens LB Paul Kruger.
1:24 1st quarter: Patriots 3, Ravens 0 — The Ravens got four more plays in and had to punt. Joe Flacco had tight end Dennis Pitta on a wheel route down the sideline, beating safety Steve Gregory, but overthrew him on third down.
Wes Welker had a great punt return for 28 yards.
2:48 1st quarter: Patriots 3, Ravens 0 — Another punt by the Patriots after Brandon Lloyd stumbled on a route and couldn’t recover to catch a third down pass from Tom Brady.
Aaron Hernandez took a licking on the drive, catching an 8-yard pass before getting hit by Ray Lewis. Lewis was flagged for unnecessary roughness on the play.
5:00 1st quarter: Patriots 3, Ravens 0 — Patriots corner Aqib Talib went back to the locker room. It appears he had some sort of issue with his right hamstring.
5:00 1st quarter: Patriots 3, Ravens 0 — Patriots corner Aqib Talib recorded a pass defensed and was in coverage on another deep pass to Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin as the Patriots forced another Baltimore punt.
6:21 1st quarter: Patriots 3, Ravens 0 — Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 31-yard field goal to cap a 13-play, 67-yard drive.
The Patriots tried to utilize their hurry-up offense again, but were unsuccessful in ripping off any lengthy quick snap runs. The Ravens were certainly on their toes.
We already saw one new wrinkle in the Patriots’ play-calling, a reverse to receiver/tight end Aaron Hernandez. That went for 6 yards.
11:37 1st quarter: Patriots 0, Ravens 0 — The Ravens were forced into a three-and-out after a failed screen pass to Ray Rice in the flat. We saw two runs and a pass from the Ravens.
It’s already getting a little chippy on the field.
12:57 1st quarter: Patriots 0, Ravens 0 — On a third-and-2, Tom Brady looked for Wes Welker, who was wide open, on a deep pass but led him too much for the veteran receiver to haul it in.
The Patriots got the Ravens to burn a timeout when they inserted Ryan Mallett in their punt unit. Wary of a fake punt, they called the timeout instead.
15:00 1st quarter: Patriots 0, Ravens 0 — The Ravens won the coin toss and elected to defer. The Patriots will receive to begin the game.
FOXBOROUGH — We’re about to get underway for the final game of the season at Gillette Stadium, the AFC championship between the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots.
The winner advances to play the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.
As usual, I’ll provide updates throughout the game, series by series, right here. Feel free to converse in the comments and analyze the game with me.
It’s about 41 degrees right now with winds at 18 miles per hour, making it feel about 32 degrees, according to Weather.com. As you should already know, Tom Brady is a great quarterback in the cold. And the Patriots are 14-3 at home in the postseason.
Enjoy the game. It should be a great one.