The Baltimore Ravens are finally returning to the Super Bowl after they defeated the New England Patriots 28-13 Sunday night. Baltimore had quite a path to go through to reach the promised land as they were nine point or more underdogs against the Denver Broncos and Patriots, but still came out on top.
The victory in the AFC Championship was a total team effort as both sides of the football played well, but five players stood out to me as the five that determined the game for the Ravens.
- #5 Kelechi Osemele – Coming into the game, I had repeatedly stated that Osemele's play against Vince Wilfork was going to be highly influential in the outcome of the game due to Wilfork's dominant performance in last year's AFC Championship game. Kelechi did a fantastic job on Sunday as he kept Wilfork in check the entire game as Wilfork did not record a sack or solo tackle and only had one assist.
- #4 Bernard Pollard – Despite being flagged for a hit on a defenseless receiver (agree or disagree) Pollard made perhaps the biggest play of the game when he delivered a crushing hit to Patriots running back Stevan Ridley. Pollard drilled ridley (legally I might add) temporarily making Ridley a rag doll and jarring the ball loose for a fumble and the Ravens Arthur Jones recovered the fumble. Not only was the play exciting, but in my opinion it was the play that changed the game in favor of the Ravens and put all of the momentum on Baltimore's side.
- #3 Bernard Pierce – Yes, Pierce only ran for 52 yards, but those yards came on just nine carries and he picked up several important first downs along the way. Bernard was not just instrumental in this game, but he has become a great counter punch to Ray Rice and I firmly believe that he is one of the most important pieces of the Ravens puzzle this season.
- #2 Anquan Boldin – Boldin reeled in five grabs for 60 yards in the game with two of the biggest touchdowns in Ravens history. TE Dennis Pitta caught the go ahead touchdown in the third quarter, but Boldin's two fourth quarter grabs for scores gave the Ravens the lead they needed and ultimately game Baltimore the Lamar Hunt trophy.
- #1 Joe Flacco – Again no surprise here, and if anyone out there is still questioning Joe Flacco's ability or big game prowess, shut up! Flacco played an impeccable game throwing for 240 yards with three touchdowns and ZERO interceptions which easily outplayed his counterpart in Tom Brady who had just one touchdown and two interceptions. Joe has now thrown for eight touchdowns this postseason with, yeah you guessed it, ZERO interceptions. Flacco's play this postseason has been nothing short of remarkable, and once again Ravens101 is proud to say he is OUR quarterback!
Ravens fans and players have been waiting for this for 12 years, Baltimore returning to the Super Bowl as they will travel to New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII to face the San Fransisco 49'ers is the "Har-Bowl" as Ravens head coach John Harbaugh will be facing his brother Jim Harbaugh, head coach of the 49'ers. It is going to be an exciting two weeks leading up to the big game!
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