This time, there was no doubt.
From the moment they walked off the field losers in last seasons AFC Title Game loss to the Pats, the Ravens have been talking about getting back and finishing.
Sunday night against New England, they did just that, holding the Pats scoreless in the second half, stunning New England with a 28-13 win to advance to meet the Niners in Super Bowl XLVII.
The NFL’s biggest game will be between two brothers for the first time ever, as Ravens coach John Harbaugh will meet younger brother Jim Harbaugh in New Orleans.
The 49ers have been listed as 5-point favorites, but Sunday night was all about Ray Lewis, the Ravens, and a defense that did the job in the second half.
“Tell them to have fun at the Pro Bowl,” Ravens LB Terrell Suggs said. “Shut them out in the second half. Arrogant [expletive]. These are the most arrogant pricks in the world starting with [coach Bill] Belichick on down.”
Belichick, wearing his usual hoodie throughout the loss, declined to be interviewed by CBS after the game, as did losing QB Tom Brady, who for the first time in his career lost at home after leading at the half (67-1).
Joe Flacco was outstanding again for the Ravens, throwing three second half TD’s after Baltimore trailed 13-7 at the break.
Flacco had two touchdown passes to Anquan Boldin and one to Dennis Pitta as the Ravens outscored the Patriots 21-0 in the second half. Baltimore’s defense made Brady look ordinary and stymied the league’s top offense.
Flacco’s three touchdown passes came in just over 10 minutes in the second half. He connected with Bolden for two TDs in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter – a 3-yarder and an 11-yarder – after hitting Pitta with a 5-yard strike with 6:14 left in the third.
The Ravens (13-6) gained just 130 yards in the first half before Flacco guided them on scoring drives of 87 and 63 yards.
The Patriots looked like a defeated team, and couldn’t do anything to rally the troops late to try to make a game of it.