Outstanding play by quarterback Joe Flacco and stifling defense led the Baltimore Ravens to a surprise 28-13 road victory over the New England Patriots and a berth in the Super Bowl, where they will take on the San Francisco 49ers.
The Ravens trailed 13-7 at halftime of Sunday's game at Gillette Stadium but completely dominated the final two quarters behind the arm of Flacco, who threw three touchdown passes in the second half. By contrast, Patriots star Tom Brady struggled to find open receivers against an outstanding Ravens secondary.
Also a big key to Baltimore's comeback win and red-zone offense was wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who made two leaping TD grabs in the fourth quarter as the Ravens avoided settling for field goals.
Earlier Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers also notched a come-from-behind road victory, overcoming a 17-0 first-half deficit to stun the Atlanta Falcons in a 28-24 win.
Matt Ryan threw three touchdowns as the Falcons dominated San Francisco's vaunted defense in the first half. But turnovers by the quarterback - an interception and a fumbled snap - halted both of Atlanta's drives in the third quarter.
Needing a touchdown, the Falcons methodically marched down the field late in the fourth quarter but they turned the ball over on downs at the San Francisco 10 yard line when linebacker NaVorro Bowman batted away a Ryan pass.
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick delivered another clutch performance and running back Frank Gore rushed for 90 yards on 21 carries and scored two touchdowns.
Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh will square off against his brother, Ravens' head coach John Harbaugh, in the Super Bowl, which will be played Feb. 3 in New Orleans.
San Francisco is seeking a record-tying sixth Super Bowl title, while the Ravens are eyeing their second. EFE