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From left, defensive back Darcel McBath, Anthony Dixon and defensive back Perrish Cox of the San Francisco 49ers celebrate the team's first trip to the Super Bowl in 17 years. In the AFC Championship, the Baltimore Ravens dismantled the New England Patriots, 28-13.
[Updated at 7:10 p.m.]
Baltimore was confident heading into the AFC Championship game in Tom Brady's house, and now we know why. Baltimore's offense steamrolled New England's defense in the second half, while the Ravens defense shut down Tom Brady's high-powered offense, en route to a surprisingly easy 28-13 thrashing of the Patriots in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
To make matters worse, the Patriots shot themselves in the foot on consecutive scoring drives late in the first half.
Joe Flacco outdueled Tom Brady, throwing three touchdown passes in the second half and leading the Baltimore Ravens to their first Super Bowl in 12 years with a 28-13 victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday for the AFC championship.
The win sets up the first Super Bowl coached by brothers, Baltimore's John Harbaugh and San Francisco's Jim. The 49ers won the NFC title earlier Sunday 28-24 at Atlanta.
The 49ers have been listed as 5-point favorites, but the Ravens have to be feeling supremely confident after brushing the Patriots aside with such ease.
Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis' final season will conclude in two weeks in New Orleans; he was the MVP of the 2001 game, the Ravens' only Super Bowl win.
Flacco had two touchdown passes to Anquan Boldin and one to Dennis Pitta as the Ravens outscored the Patriots 21-0 in the second half. Baltimore's defense made Brady look ordinary and stymied the league's top offense. Brady was 67-0 at home when leading at halftime.
In the NFC Championship game, Frank Gore ran for a pair of second-half touchdowns and the 49ers rebounded from a 17-0 deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons 28-24, sending San Francisco to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1995.
The top-seeded Falcons (14-4) tried to pull out a season-saving drive at the end, but Matt Ryan's fourth-down pass for Roddy White with 1:13 remaining was knocked down by San Francisco linebacker NaVorro Bowman.
The 49ers (13-4-1) will meet the winner of the AFC title game between New England and Baltimore. San Francisco will be trying to join Pittsburgh as the only teams with six Super Bowl championships.
The victory was sweet redemption for the 49ers, who lost an overtime thriller to the New York Giants a year ago in the NFC title game.