Showing posts with label rob gronkowski. Show all posts
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New England Patriots prepare for an AFC Championship

New England Patriots prepare for an AFC Championship
Baltimore Birds protecting deal with Haloti Ngata said he tried to be a dispassionate viewer of the divisional playoff activity between the New Britain Patriots and the Austin Texans. As he viewed the experience on tv, Ngata analyzed both violations, at least until the third one fourth, when it became obvious that the Patriots were well on their way to obtaining a rematch with the Birds in Sunday’s A.F.C. Tournament activity.

At that factor, Ngata permitted himself to experience some emotions.

“I think we individually desired to perform the Patriots again,” he said Thursday at the Ravens’ exercising website. “If we were to go to the Extremely Dish, it would be excellent to go through Foxborough and win there.”

The two groups are acquainted dancing associates in the N.F.L. 2010 playoffs, and their postseason tangle last Jan — a 23-20 Patriots success at Gillette Ground — has provided as petrol for the Birds ever since. Baltimore had its possibilities in that activity, so many possibilities. There was extensive recipient Lee Evans, his go-ahead landing wedding celebration removed by a Patriots protecting gamer with 23 a few moments staying. And there was kicker Billy Cundiff, his opportunity to deliver the experience to extra time evaporating when his 32-yard field-goal effort veered extensive staying.

Neither gamer trapped with the group over the off-season, though the bad emotions — all the would-haves, could-haves, should-haves — have lingered. Unpleasant lineman Marshal Yanda said it took him two several weeks to get over the reduction. Ngata said he could still keep in mind what it sensed like in the locker space, the silent hopelessness.

“It’s been a lengthy street getting returning to this factor,” limited end Dennis Pitta said. “The way we staying it last season did not sit well with us.”

Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo included some warm to the unavoidable pregame accumulation when he distributed a few findings on Tweets delayed Weekend. “New Britain does some suppose things on violation,” Ayanbadejo had written. “Can’t really regard it.” He also known as the Patriots’ hurry-up violation a “gimmick.” On Thursday, Ayanbadejo apologized for his feedback, also via Tweets. He was not created available to the press.


The Ravens immediately sought to distance themselves from Ayanbadejo’s comments, treating the issue like a hazmat disaster. Coach John Harbaugh dismissed it as “not relevant” and “not worthy of a conversation.” Ngata also declined to weigh in. “That’s all about him and his deal,” he said of Ayanbadejo.

If nothing else, the Ravens have shown an uncanny ability to overcome challenges. The word “resilience” has become an unofficial slogan. In reaching the rarefied air of the conference championship round, the Ravens did not always play the most aesthetically pleasing brand of football — or even win all that consistently. Pitta referred to the team’s late-season, three-game losing streak, “when nobody thought we would win another game.” It was a stretch of futility that cost the offensive coordinator Cam Cameron his job, so unsettled was the Ravens’ state of affairs.

Yet the team somehow managed to reassemble enough confidence when it mattered most. After defeating the Indianapolis Colts in the wild-card round, the Ravens went to Denver for Saturday’s divisional playoff round and proceeded to stage one of the most dramatic upsets in franchise history. Their 38-35 double-overtime victory over the Broncos assured Harbaugh of his third trip to the A.F.C. Championship game in five seasons as the team’s coach.

It took some magic. Joe Flacco threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones with 31 seconds remaining to force overtime, and the rookie kicker Justin Tucker — Cundiff’s replacement — made a game-winning 47-yard field goal to cap the fourth-longest game in N.F.L. history. “I’ve never been nervous about Justin Tucker kicking a field goal,” Ngata said.

The game was a test of endurance amplified by the fact that it was played at altitude, in the thin air of Denver and in bone-numbing cold. Ngata said he expected the Ravens to benefit from an extra day of rest before facing the Patriots.

Still, the Ravens are not traveling the most forgiving route to a potential Super Bowl berth. One week after dismissing the Broncos’ Peyton Manning, Baltimore will be forced to deal with Tom Brady — two generation-defining quarterbacks, back to back. So Ngata could be forgiven for misspeaking Monday when he said the Ravens must “put some pressure on Peyton — uh, Brady.”

In Week 3, the Patriots traveled to Baltimore, blew a 9-point fourth-quarter lead and lost, 31-30, as Flacco threw for 382 yards. Harbaugh said he was not putting a lot of stock in that result. Too much has happened in the interim.

“Heck of a challenge,” Harbaugh said, adding: “This is a team that changes a lot. They’re kind of like a chameleon.”

Given all that has happened in recent weeks, Harbaugh was asked if he thought the Ravens were a team of destiny. Did he believe in such talk?

“Our destiny right now is to go to Foxborough,” he said. “That’s the destiny that we’ve earned.”

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