By Larry Fine
FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts (Reuters) - The Baltimore Ravens won their AFC title rematch against the New England Patriots with a commanding second-half for a 28-13 win on Sunday that put them into the Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers.
Baltimore outscored the Pats 21-0 in the second half with an irresistible balance of short passes by Joe Flacco and hard running by Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce, and made big stops to halt New England drives into their territory.
The Ravens won sweet revenge for last year's 23-20 loss to New England in the AFC title game in what was the first repeat clash between the same teams in successive AFC championships for 25 years.
Baltimore's victory also set up the first Super Bowl meeting between head coaching siblings. John Harbaugh's Ravens will face Jim Harbaugh's NFC champion 49ers, who advanced with a 28-24 road win over the Atlanta Falcons, on February 3 in New Orleans.
The Ravens trailed 13-7 at halftime but punctured the Patriots' aura of invincibility and took the lead with an 87-yard drive capped by a five-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dennis Pitta in the third quarter after forcing New England to punt when their drive stalled at the Baltimore 34.
An apparent first down for the Patriots was nullified by a holding penalty that led to another New England punt, and the Ravens marched on a long drive that culminated in a three-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to Anquan Boldin on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 21-13 Baltimore lead.
The killer blow came on New England's ensuing possession when Stevan Ridley fumbled after a hit by safety Bernard Pollard and defensive end Arthur Jones recovered the ball on the Patriots' 47-yard line.
Four plays later, Boldin had another TD catch from 11 yards out to make it 28-13 and send the Ravens back to the Super Bowl for the first time since their triumph in 2001.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)
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