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(Sunday, January 10th)
Final Score: Baltimore 33, New England 14
Foxboro, MA (Sports Network) - Ray Rice set the tone on the first play from scrimmage, sprinting for an 83-yard touchdown run, as the Baltimore Ravens took advantage of four Tom Brady turnovers and used a dominant first quarter to post a 33-14 win over the New England Patriots in an AFC wild card game at Gillette Stadium.
The second-year running back out of Rutgers finished with 159 yards and two scores on 22 carries for the sixth-seeded Ravens, who will play top-seeded Indianapolis next Saturday. Baltimore was also a sixth seed in last year's playoffs and won games at Miami and Tennessee before losing to eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh in the AFC title game.
Willis McGahee and Le'Ron McClain also had touchdown runs as Baltimore dealt the Patriots their first home playoff loss since December 31, 1978 against Houston. New England had won 11 straight, with Brady going 8-0.
"It was a tremendous victory against a great opponent," said Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh.
Baltimore's win means San Diego will host the New York Jets in the other divisional playoff game.
It was not a game to remember for the two-time Super Bowl MVP. Brady was picked off three times and lost a fumble, finishing with 154 yards and two touchdown passes to rookie Julian Edelman on 23-of-42 efficiency.
Edelman replaced injured wide receiver Wes Welker, who sustained a serious knee injury in last Sunday's loss to the Texans. The former Kent State quarterback caught six passes for 44 yards.
The AFC East-champion Patriots were playing their first playoff game since a loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII spoiled an opportunity at perfection.
"(The Ravens) were certainly a lot better than we were in every phase of the game," said New England head coach Bill Belichick. "They were the better team from start to finish. We just didn't do enough things well to be competitive. Disappointing way to finish a season."
It was a disastrous start for New England, which trailed by 14 points less than five minutes after the game's opening kickoff.
The Ravens got the ball to begin the contest and grabbed a quick lead when Rice burst through the middle of the line and rumbled virtually untouched to the end zone.
It marked the first time Baltimore opened the scoring in its last eight playoff games.
"The big run was a statement by our offensive line and by Ray," Harbaugh added.
Then the Baltimore defense came up with a big play on New England's first possession, as Terrell Suggs stripped Brady and recovered the fumble at the Patriots' 17-yard line. Five plays later, McClain powered his way in for a score from a yard out.
The unforeseen trouncing continued, as consecutive Brady interceptions gave the Ravens a short field with which to work. Rice had a one-yard plunge, and Billy Cundiff kicked a 27-yard field goal for a startling 24-0 lead with 1:19 remaining in a forgettable first quarter for New England.
It was a promising start to the second quarter for the Patriots, who capitalized on a botched punt return. Chris Carr, who picked off Brady earlier, was back to receive the kick but never got the chance because the ball grazed the left shoulder of Baltimore's Tom Zbikowski.
New England's Kyle Arrington pounced on the ball but lost control as he slid out of bounds at the Baltimore 16. The officials ruled Arrington had possession, and the Ravens elected not to challenge the play.
The Patriots then got on the board when Brady hooked up with Edelman for a six-yard touchdown near the four-minute mark.
The rest of the frame was characterized by New England's missed opportunities to whittle the deficit. The Patriots failed to cash in on a Tully Banta-Cain interception -- subsequently going three-and-out, and they wasted a productive punt return by Edelman to the Baltimore 44.
In the third quarter, a Dawan Landry interception of a tipped ball resulted in a 23-yard boot by Cundiff, then Edelman caught a one-yard TD pass to pull New England to within 27-14 with 1:47 to go in the stanza.
The Ravens, though, responded on the ensuing drive that extended into the final frame. McGahee capped the 12-play march with a three-yard TD. Baltimore led 33-14 after the two-point conversion failed with 10 1/2 minutes left.
Stephen Gostkowski finished off a miserable day for New England, pushing a 44- yard field goal wide right with 7:19 remaining.
New England had won the previous five meetings with the Ravens...The Patriots were 8-0 at home during the regular season...Brady has thrown a touchdown pass in 16 straight postseason games, second all-time behind Brett Favre (18)...Rice's first touchdown was the longest run of his career and second longest in NFL postseason history. Current New England running back Fred Taylor has the longest run of 90 yards, set on January 15, 2000 in a Jaguars uniform in an AFC divisional playoff game against Miami...Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco completed 4-of-10 passes for 34 yards. He improved to 3-1 in the postseason for his career...McGahee finished with 62 yards on the ground...New England running back Kevin Faulk had 52 yards on 14 carries and made six catches for 37 yards...Randy Moss had 48 yards on five catches for the Patriots...The Baltimore defense recorded three sacks...The Ravens were 10-of-16 on third down, while New England was 3-for-12.
01/10 18:27:58 ET
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