Ravens upset Patriots 28-13 to reach Super Bowl

201301201849677540174-p2.jpeg

Ravens upset Patriots 28-13 to reach Super Bowl

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Look for lots of Harbaughs in New Orleans next week. Two of them will be working the sidelines in the Super Bowl.

Oh, brother!

John Harbaugh and his Baltimore Ravens set up a family reunion in the Big Easy, shutting down the New England Patriots 28-13 Sunday in the AFC championship game.

Waiting for them will be his younger brother Jim and the San Francisco 49ers, who beat Atlanta 28-24 for the NFC title. It's the first Super Bowl matching siblings as head coaches.

``I'd like to think that our two teams are very similar,'' said John, who is a year older than Jim. ``I'd like to think when you look at those two teams, you are looking at mirror images of two football teams.''

What the Ravens (13-6) are looking at is their first Super Bowl in 12 years, thanks to three touchdown passes from Joe Flacco and a defense led by Ray Lewis that made Tom Brady look downright ordinary.

It will be quite a last game for Lewis, the emotional linebacker who will retire after the matchup with the 49ers, who opened as a 5-point favorite.

``For me to come out and say that this is my last ride and for me now to be headed back to the Super Bowl, for the possibility of me possibly winning a second ring, how else do you cap off a career?'' said Lewis, who had 14 tackles to give him 44 in three playoff games after missing 10 weeks with a torn left triceps.

As in the previous two playoff wins against Indianapolis and Denver, the Ravens were brilliant offensively in spots. This might be 17-year-veteran Lewis' team, but it's also Flacco's - and the quarterback's six road wins are the most in playoff history.

He has eight touchdown passes and no interceptions in this postseason.

``We've always believed in Joe,'' Harbaugh said. ``And for Joe to come out and to have this kind of a game and this kind of a stage three weeks in a row ...''

Flacco, whose contract ends after the Super Bowl, is the only quarterback to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons. He was dynamic with his arm and precise with his decision making. Looking much more the championship passer than Brady did, his scoring throws of 11 and 3 yards to Anquan Boldin and 5 to Dennis Pitta all were perfect.

``We didn't come all the way here to play it safe and hope to win,'' Flacco said. ``We came here to win the AFC championship game and you have to play to win.''

The defense played as big a part, shutting out the league's highest-scoring offense in the second half, twice picking off Brady.

Brady was 67-0 at home when leading at halftime, but this was no contest in the second half.

``We got behind in the second half there and became one-dimensional,'' he said. ``We just couldn't string enough good plays together to get the ball in the end zone.''

It also was a first for the Patriots, who hadn't lost an AFC championship at home.

``We've lost before. It takes a while to get over,'' Brady said.

After they had avenged last year's AFC title game loss at Gillette Stadium, many of the Ravens gathered on the field jumping, chest-bumping and whooping before several thousand fans wearing Ravens jerseys - mostly Lewis' No. 52 - who remained in the stands.

New England (13-5) lost a home AFC title matchup for the first time in five games. The loss denied Brady and coach Bill Belichick a shot at their sixth Super Bowl. They've gone 3-2, losing their last two times in the big game.

Instead, it's the AFC North champion Ravens heading to the Big Easy, seeking their second NFL championship. San Francisco has won five.

One of the Harbaughs will grab his first ring as head coach.

``I don't know if we had a dream this big,'' John Harbaugh said. ``We had a few dreams, we had a few fights, we had a few arguments - just like all brothers.''

The Ravens have gotten there the hard way, with no postseason bye. Then again, five of the last seven Super Bowl champions took that route.

The Ravens also were pushed into a second overtime in frigid Denver last weekend before eliminating Peyton Manning and the top-seeded Broncos.

And now they've cast aside the league's most successful franchise of the last dozen years.

``I'd probably say we came up a little short in every area,'' Belichick said.

New England, which hasn't won a Super Bowl since the 2004 season, had four injuries, the scariest when running back Stevan Ridley hurt his head when he was knocked flat by Bernard Pollard in the fourth quarter, forcing a fumble. Baltimore turned that into the final touchdown, on the only short scoring drive it had, 47 yards.

The touchdown by Pitta capped the Ravens' best drive of the game, covering 87 yards in 10 plays and made it 14-13. It started with a 15-yard defensive pass interference penalty, and it was an indication of things to come.

The Ravens gained just 130 yards in the first half, yet trailed by only six points.

Brady guided a 13-play drive to Stephen Gostkowski's 31-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead. Neither defense yielded a big play, and punters Zoltan Mesko and Sam Koch were the busiest guys on the field.

That changed when the teams switched sides for the second quarter. Baltimore again was pinned deep, at its 10, but Flacco led a 13-play drive. Ray Rice, whose 83-yard run on the Ravens' first play from scrimmage in their wild-card round victory here three years ago, ran left untouched for the TD.

Awakened by Baltimore's march, the Patriots staged a long one of their own, 79 yards, aided by a 15-yard personal foul by Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. Wes Welker picked up 24 yards on a short pass, then got free in the right corner of the end zone after a mix-up in the Ravens' secondary, making it 10-7.

It was 13-7 by halftime as Gostkowski connected from 25 yards, with New England outsmarting Baltimore several times. But Brady and Belichick made mental errors by not calling a timeout quickly enough after a short scramble by the 35-year-old quarterback. So the Patriots didn't get a shot at the end zone and Gostkowski made his second kick.

Shockingly for an offense that scored 557 points this season, that was it for New England.

``We are probably the only team in the AFC that matches up good with the boy, No. 12 over there and his coach,'' linebacker Terrell Suggs said of Brady and Belichick.

Now comes another intriguing matchup - for everything.

NOTES: Brady has 5,949 yards passing, the most in NFL history for the postseason. He threw for 320 yards Sunday but was picked off twice in the fourth quarter. ... Patriots CB Aqib Talib hurt his thigh and DT Kyle Love injured his knee. Backup safety Patrick Chung was helped off the field after one play. ... Baltimore beat San Francisco 16-6 in the 2011 season.

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Ravens lose week of OTAs, Harbaugh and organization fined by NFL

ravensotasrefframe_1.jpg

Ravens lose week of OTAs, Harbaugh and organization fined by NFL

OWINGS MILLS – The NFL punished the Ravens by taking away their second OTA session (June 1-3), and fining both coach John Harbaugh and the organization, the league announced Thursday. The punishment stems from a practice violation in rookie camp on May 6, when the Ravens briefly practiced in pads during a non-contact drill, which violated the collective bargaining agreement. The NFL investigated after the Ravens’ violation was brought to the league’s attention. 

The amount of the fines was not immediately disclosed. The Ravens issued a brief statement after the punishment was announced.

“We made a mistake and we are sorry for that,” the statement said. “We accept the NFL discipline.”

The Ravens were in the midst of completing their first OTA session when the league’s ruling was handed down. The Ravens will still have their OTA scheduled for the second week in June, as well as their mandatory minicamp later in the month.

Considering injuries, Ravens have strong turnout at OTA's

ravensotasrefframe_1.jpg

Considering injuries, Ravens have strong turnout at OTA's

OWINGS MILLS – More than 70 of the 90 players on the Ravens roster were in attendance at Thursday’s voluntary workouts, the first OTA’s open to the media.

Veterans who were not on the field included wide receivers Michael Campanaro and Steve Smith Sr. (Achilles); linebackers Elvis Dumervil, C. J. Mosley, and Terrell Suggs (Achilles); quarterback Joe Flacco (knee); defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore, left tackle Eugene Monroe (shoulder); cornerback Jimmy Smith (foot), and right guard Marshal Yanda.

Those not on the field also included running backs Kenneth Dixon and Trent Richardson; defensive end Bronson Kaufusi, and wide receiver Keenan Reynolds. In the case of rookies, college graduation ceremonies may have interfered with their attendance.

Two players who missed all of last season due to injuries were participating – tight end Dennis Pitta (hip) and wide receiver Breshad Perriman. Both Perriman and Pitta were scheduled to speak with the media at the conclusion of practice.

Most Googled question in Maryland won't surprise Ravens fans

ravensotasrefframe_1.jpg

Most Googled question in Maryland won't surprise Ravens fans

Estately, a real estate website with its own blog, often posts nifty maps of the country with varyingly offbeat data. The latest creation identifies the questions that each state Googles more than any other. And let's just say Marylanders are hardly defying expectations. 

Residents of the Old Line State want to know "Is Joe Flacco elite?" more than folks from anywhere else in the country.

How does Estately know this? Here's a description of the methodology: 

Using Google Autocomplete we compiled hundreds of the most common questions Americans type into the Google search bar. We ran those searches through Google Trends to determine which state queried each of these selected searches the most over the past 12 years. To be clear, the list below does not represent what each state Googles the most, it simply shows the searches each state Googles more frequently than the other 49 states and the District of Columbia.

Not exactly the most scientifically rigorous method of inquiry, but we're having fun here. 

So it may not shock anyone that Marylanders are concerned about the Ravens quarterback, but it's noteworthy that Maryland is one of only three states with sports among its most common queries.

Texans often asks "Where is Johnny Manziel?" while North Dakotans want to know "When is NFL Draft?"

Turns out the rest of the country is more curious about the presidential election, O.J. Simpson and marijuana than sports right now. 

Each state has multiple questions it searches most. Here are the full results for Maryland, D.C. and Virginia. 

MARYLAND:  Did O.J. do it? / Is Joe Flacco elite? / Who unfollowed me? / Who runs the world? / When is it going to snow? / Why do I owe taxes?

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  When is Ramadan? / Where is Obama today?

VIRGINIA:  Why is Virginia for lovers? / What is emo?