Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Resilient Patriots Rally Past Ravens; Brady Leads Comeback as New England Heads to Fourth Straight AFC Title Game; NFL PLAYOFFS

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Resilient Patriots Rally Past Ravens; Brady Leads Comeback as New England Heads to Fourth Straight AFC Title Game; NFL PLAYOFFS

Article excerpt

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. * Tom Brady wasn't going to lose a playoff game to the Baltimore Ravens in his home stadium.

Not again.

And, thanks to three touchdown passes by Brady and one by college quarterback turned receiver Julian Edelman, the resilient New England Patriots are headed to the AFC championship game for the fourth straight year.

The Patriots overcame two 14-point deficits and Brady led a masterful march to his decisive 23-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell with just over five minutes left for a 35-31 win Saturday.

"I don't think we played as well as we would've liked," said Brady, who completed eight of nine passes for 72 yards on the winning drive. We "showed a lot of toughness coming back from those two deficits."

The top-seeded Patriots (13-4) will face the winner of Sunday's game between the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts in the conference title game next Sunday. The sixth-seeded Ravens (11-7) had won two of three playoff games in Foxborough over the past five seasons.

It was a thrilling game of shifting momentum two touchdowns by the Ravens, the next two by the Patriots, two more by the Ravens and another two by the Patriots.

"We had two separate 14-point leads. Those guys did a good job getting it back to seven as quickly as they could," said Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco, who threw four touchdown passes but also his first two interceptions in six playoff games. "They don't panic."

Flacco completed his first eight passes, two for touchdowns of 19 yards to Kamar Aiken and 9 yards to Steve Smith, to give the Ravens a 14-0 lead. Then the Patriots tied it on a 4-yard run by Brady and his 15-yard pass to Danny Amendola late in the first half.

The Patriots were driving again until Daryl Smith intercepted Brady's pass.

Brady's reaction: Grasp both sides of his helmet with his hands then bend over in frustration.

Flacco capitalized with an 11-yard scoring pass to Owen Daniels with 10 seconds left for a 21-14 halftime lead. …

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