NFL: Baltimore Ravens progress to Super Bowl

The┬áRavens-Patriots game started slowly, with Stephen Gostkowski’s 31-yard field-goal for New England the only score in the first quarter as both teams looked solid defensively.

The Ravens scored the opening touchdown in the second quarter following a patient, 13-play drive which was well-marshalled by quarterback Joe Flacco.

It culminated in a 2nd-and-goal play from the Patriots’ two-yard line when running back Ray Rice sidestepped his way into the endzone.

Wes Welker scored the game's first touchdown

In response, veteran New England quarterback Tom Brady capped an equally impressive drive with a short pass to his favourite receiver Wes Welker, who was unmarked in the corner of the endzone.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who has masterminded three Super Bowl wins, proved his tactical acumen when faced with a 4th-and-1 situation from the Ravens’ 34-yard-line with a minute of the first half remaining.

New England snapped the ball directly to running back Danny Woodhead instead of Brady, and the confusion in the Baltimore defence allowed the Pats to gain a first down which led to an easy Gostkowski field-goal.

The visitors regained the lead midway through the third quarter when Flacco hit tight end Dennis Pitta from five yards.

At the start of the final period, the Ravens increased their lead to 21-13 when wide receiver Anquan Boldin shrugged off the Patriots defence to catch Flacco’s high pass from three yards.

Baltimore then forced the game’s first turnover when Bernard Pollard poleaxed New England running back Stevan Ridley, forcing the ball loose.

Momentum was duly converted into another seven points, as Flacco quickly found Boldin from 11 yards to make it 28-13.

Brady was then intercepted by Dannell Ellerbe, all but ending the tie and setting up what is being dubbed the Harbaugh Bowl in New Orleans.