Saturday, January 19, 2013 — Since the Patriots and Ravens started going head-to-head with Brady versus Flacco, the last four games were up for grabs on the last play of the game. That’s unthinkable.
The Ravens won three months ago, 31-30, on a mildly controversial last second field goal. The Patriots won the AFC Championship last January, 23-20, after their kicker hooked a 32-yarder in the final seconds.
The Patriots won in 23-20 in OT in 2010 and 27-21 in 2009 when Flacco missed Mark Clayton in the end zone on 4th-and-4 from the Pats 14.
The only blowout between these teams, with the core of the current players, came in the Wild Card playoff game of January of 2010 when the Ravens rocked the Patriots at Gillette Stadium from start to finish, 33-14.
One of the striking moments of this series happened three months ago in September. Two of the NFL’s toughest guys -- Patriots offensive guard Logan Mankins and Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata -- had several extended pushing, shoving and jabbing sessions.
Neither backed down. And neither crossed the line.
“We’ve had a lot of battles," said Ngata. "I’ve always said he’s probably one of the better offensive linemen in the league.”
This is going to be fun. And the winner will have the bruises to prove it.
Bill Burt is the sports editor of The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass. Contact him at email@example.com.