The New England Patriots beat the SF 49ers 23-20 to reach the Superbowl.
The NE Patriots beat the SF 49ers to reach their 7th Superbowl appearance in the franchise history. It is Tom Brady’s 5th trip to the Superbowl and the first time since 2008 when he loss to the NY Giants and Eli Manning.
Brady who came into the game with a record setting performance against the Denver Broncos last week, did not play at his best against a very well prepared Baltimore Raven’s defense. In his very own words Brady said “I sucked pretty well tonight”.
The game started with NE driving the ball to Baltimore’s end zone but the Ravens held them to just three points in the first drive. Baltimore in the other hand had to punt the ball in their first three drives and couldn’t manage to capitalize in the first quarter.
NE continued to move the ball surprisingly well in the ground with 2nd year running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Green-Ellis finished up the drive with a 10 yard run to give NE a seven point lead in the second quarter.
But the Ravens answered right back, Joe Flacco threw a 7 yard touchdown pass to TE Dennis Pita to tie the game at 10 with a minute left in the second.
The second half did not sit well with Mr.Brady. He threw two interceptions and did not score a touchdown pass for the first time in his playoff career. However NE continued to effectively run the ball against the Baltimore defense and extended its lead with 2 field goals during the third quarter.
But back came the Ravens, Joe Flacco thew a quick pass to rookie receiver Troy Smith who shook off a tackle and ran it for a 35 yard score, giving the Ravens the 17-16 lead before the start of the fourth quarter.
In suing kick off, NE running back Danny Woodhead fumbled the ball, the Ravens recovered but could not capitalize and had to settle for a field goal taking a 4 point the lead into the fourth quarter.
NE continued to go down the field against a very good Ravens defense and on 3rd and goal Brady scored on a sneak to give the Patriots the lead with over 10 minutes to go on the fourth quarter.
Next drive Flacco throws a pick to give the ball to NE and the lead. However, in the very next play Tom Brady throws his second interception of the game to give the ball back to the Ravens offence and a chance to go the the Superbowl.
Joe Flacco moved the ball trough the air getting to the NE 28 yard line with under a minute to go, and on a third and 8 Joe Flacco finds WR Lee Evans in the end zone but the ball is batted out his hand by the NE defence with 0:22 to go.
So the Ravens would go for the tie and kick a 30 yard FG to force overtime and with 12 seconds left but kicker Billy Cundiff out of X university misses the field goal wide left and hands NE the win and Tom Brady the chance to tied Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for most Superbowl wins with 4.
It was a disaster for Ravens coach Harbourgh and veterans Ray Lewis and Ed Reed who might not get another change to get to the Superbowl as their careers are nearing the end. And for Billy Cundiff this would probably be his last kick in the NFL.
It was a really lucky break for the NE Patriots whose offence did not play well and surprisingly their defense showed up when it mattered the most with DT Vince Wilfork applying pressure on Flacco and stopping Ravens rushing attack during the fourth quarter to hold Ravens to zero points in the last 15 minutes of the game.
And for the Patriots, they earned the opportunity win their 4th superbowl in the last 10 years. However it would not come easy as the will be facing the NY Giants, who beat them in a miraculous way in Superbowl XXXVII. And for us fans, even though it’s probably not gonna come down to a head catch in the last minute of the game like it happened in 2008, we are definitely getting the best possible match-up and the chance to witness history not matter who wins.