FOXBORO -- Ravens safety Bernard Pollard was asked about the performance of Joe Flacco against the Patriots on Sunday. Flacco -- the subject of criticism from teammate Ed Reed and the national media following a lackluster effort a week ago vs. the Texans -- threw for 306 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the 23-20 loss to New England.
"He was the best quarterback on the field today, period," Pollard said. "All you guys that dogged Joe all week need to shut up. The media doesn't know. They just don't know. It's time to leave the man alone. He's played four years and made the playoffs all four years. He played his [expletive] off today."
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Nose tackle Vince Wilfork had a monster game for the Patriots with six tackles, a sack and a quarterback hit in Sunday's 23-20 victory over the Ravens. He anchored a defense that held NFL total yardage leader Ray Rice to 78 yards.
Wilfork's biggest play came with 2:46 left and Ravens on a fourth-and-6 from the New England 33. Wilfork bulled his way to the backfield and got a hand on Flacco, forcing a rushed pass that fell harmlessly incomplete.
The Ravens got the ball back and had a chance to tie the game, but Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal. Asked if he was surpried by the miss, Wilfork said: "Yeah. That's a lot of pressure. A lot of pressure. Fifteen seconds left to go in the game and you've got a chance to tie the ball game. That's a tough kick.
"One thing we always preach is we always want to do the right thing," Wilfork added. "And practice is everything for us. And preparation. We always go...
After holding off the Ravens, 23-20, in the AFC championship game, Bill Belichick's Patriots are going to the Super Bowl for the fifth time. Together with Tom Brady, that's the most Super Bowl trips of any coach-quarterback combination in league history.
"Anything that's associated with winning, I'm proud of," Belichick said. "There's no quarterback I'd rather have than Tom Brady. He's the best. He does so much for us in so many ways on so many different levels. I'm very fortunate that he's our quarterback and what he's able to do for this team. It's good to win with him and all the rest of our players. If that's more than somebody else did, I don't really care about that."
After the game in which he threw two interceptions and was held without a touchdown pass, Brady said that he "sucked" and the defense bailed him out. Belichick, as usual, wouldn't make about it any one player.
"I think there's a lot of...
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, in postgame remarks on the field following the Patriots' 23-20 victory to reach the Super Bowl, expressed gratitude to his defense for the role it played in punching New England's ticket to Indianapolis. Though Brady tied Joe Montana for the most playoff wins (16) in NFL history, he deflected credit for the accomplishment.
"Well, I sucked pretty bad today but our defense saved us. I’m going to try to go out and do a better job in a couple of weeks," Brady smirked on the Gillette Stadium podium. "I’m proud of my teammates. You fans were unbelievable today – the 12th man. We needed it. We’re going to try to go out and kick some butt in a couple weeks."
Brady was 22-of-36 for 239 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. However, he did convert a fourth-quarter, fourth-down quarterback sneak for the touchdown that gave the Patriots their winning score.
FOXBORO -- Billy Cundiff missed a potential game-tying 32-yard field goal wide left with 11 seconds remaining and Vince Wilfork forced a Joe Flacco incompletion on fourth-and-6 at the Patriots' 33 as New England held on for a heart-pounding 23-20 win over the Ravens in the AFC championship at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots will play in Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis after claiming their seventh AFC title.
Tom Brady's head-first dive into the end zone with 11:33 remaining in the fourth quarter was the difference as the Patriots overcame a 20-16 deficit entering the period. Patriots cornerback Sterling Moore turned from goal to hero, stripping the potential game-winning touchdown out of Lee Evans' hands with 27 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
The game turned out to be a defensive battle early, with the Patriots forcing the Ravens three-and-out on their first three possessions. The Patriots weren't having much better success...
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