Ravens upset Pats, will meet 49ers in ‘All-Harbaugh’ Super Bowl
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org January 20, 2013 9:07PM
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 20: Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates after defeating the New England Patriots in the 2013 AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium on January 20, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Baltimore Ravens defeated the New England Patriots 28-13. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Updated: January 20, 2013 10:32PM
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — For the first time, a sibling rivalry will take over the Super Bowl and the accompanying two weeks of pregame hype.
Is everyone ready for the Harbaugh Bowl?
Or the Harbowl?
Whatever you want to call it, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh made it happen with an impressive — even dominant — 28-13 victory Sunday against the favored New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium.
The Ravens will play the San Francisco 49ers, who beat the Atlanta Falcons 28-24 in the NFC Championship Game, and their always-animated coach Jim Harbaugh in the Super Bowl on Feb. 3 in New Orleans.
The Harbaughs already were the first brothers to face each other as NFL head coaches. But a Super Bowl definitely amplifies this family affair.
“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. We’ll try to stay out of that business and let the two teams duke it out as much as possible.”
What John Harbaugh, who’s older than Jim, did definitely was more impressive.
Not only did the Ravens end Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s remarkable season a week ago, they went on and defeated Patriots coach Bill Belichick and his all-world quarterback, Tom Brady.
On the road.
The Patriots were 4-0 at home in conference title games, including 3-0 at Gillette Stadium, before losing Sunday. On top of that, the Patriots, who led 13-7 at halftime, were 72-1 under Belichick when leading at the break on their home field before the Ravens made it two losses.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco went to work against Belichick’s defense in the second half. It didn’t help the Patriots that they lost starting cornerback Aqib Talib in the first quarter with a thigh injury, but Flacco couldn’t be stopped.
He outdueled Brady.
Flacco, who completed only one pass in the first quarter, went 21-for-36 for 240 yards and threw two touchdown passes to Anquan Boldin and one to tight end Dennis Pitta in the second half.
“He’s a great quarterback,” Boldin said. “I don’t know why people keep doubting him.”
The Ravens’ defense humbled Brady, who went 29-for-54 for 320 yards and a touchdown.
Safety Ed Reed said you have to play “perfect” to beat Brady. And the Ravens basically did that in the second half.
They intercepted him twice to end the Patriots’ comeback chances, and Brady finished with a 62.3 passer rating, well below his lofty standards.
In a physical game, the Ravens definitely had the edge. The biggest play might have been safety Bernard Pollard’s violent, fumble-causing hit on Patriots running back Stevan Ridley early in the fourth quarter.
“We didn’t come all the way [up] here to play it safe and hope to win,” Flacco said. “I think this is a special team.”
All of it gave future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis a chance to retire a Super Bowl champion. And, of course, there will be plenty of stories about the Harbaugh family to uncover and tell.
Are they ready for it?
“Let’s just cut that right out,” said a grinning John Harbaugh, whose father, Jack, was a longtime coach at Western Kentucky. “Let’s get past that and talk about the two teams.”