Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 1/22/12

 

New England is headed back to the Super Bowl as Vince Wilfork had a huge day

 

There is only one way to describe the game between the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots today, wow. Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff missed a 32 yard field goal with 11 seconds left and a chance to send the game to overtime.  The Patriots won the game 23-20 thanks largely to a big defensive effort. A back and forth game, that truly lived up to the hype, had Patriot fans on the edge of their seats until the very end.  Here is what to take away from AFC Championship game today:

  • Missed Opportunities: On the last drive of the game, quarterback Joe Flacco was leading a great drive but so many chances were missed for the Ravens.  The biggest one, of course, was Cundiff’s missed field goal on 4th and one.  But it was 2nd and one and Flacco threw a great back shoulder throw to Lee Evans that he dropped after hauling in initially.  He should have made that catch despite the coverage.
  • Joe Flacco:  Earlier this week, safety Ed Reed called out Flacco for his play last week.  Flacco stepped up this week and finished 22 of 36 for 306 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.  But Flacco missed a huge opportunity late in the game.  It was 3rd and one while the Ravens were driving and Flacco had a chance, it seemed, to run up and get the first down.  Instead Flacco threw a dangerous pass that went incomplete.
  • Tom Brady:  Tom Brady during the award ceremony said “I sucked pretty badly today.”  Brady did suck pretty bad, throwing two interceptions and no touchdowns but he always seemed in control.  Brady conducted a great, time consuming drive to take the lead back after the Patriots fell behind 20-16 late in the game.  The Raven’s defense rattled Brady and still lost the game.
  • Sterling Moore?:  Who? It was Sterling Moore who saved the Pat’s season by dislodging the ball from Evans in the end zone at the end of the game.  The undrafted corner who was cut by the Oakland Raiders and the Patriots also batted down the 3rd and one pass from Flacco.  Moore, unheard of before, is now known throughout the sports world.
  • Vince Wilfork and the Patriot’s defense:  Who would have thought that the New England defense would step up and make the plays needed?  Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork was an absolute monster today.  Wilfork lived in the backfield and caused havoc for running back Ray Rice and Flacco.  The offensive line had no answer for the 6’2 325 lb. tackle.  Linebacker Brandon Spikes stepped up with a huge interception late in the game and the defensive line was hounding Flacco all day.
  • Belichick does no wrong:  When Cundiff lined up for the kick at the end of the game, most coaches would have ran to the ref an called a timeout.  Of course, New England head coach Bill Belichick chose against it and the rest is history.
  • Super Bowl Sunday:  February 5th at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis vs. either the San Francisco 49ers or New York Giants.  Either way, I’d hate to be the team that has to face Brady after a bad game.

 

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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