It didn't seem possible when they limped into the postseason losers of four of five or when they trailed the Broncos last week by a touchdown with under a minute to go or during the first half Sunday when they trailed the Patriots and were having trouble getting Tom Brady off the field.
But it's a reality now: The Ravens are going to the Super Bowl. Avenging last year's bitter loss to the Patriots in the AFC championship game, the Ravens took apart New England in the second half, punching their ticket to the Super Bowl with a 28-13 victory.
In the Super Bowl for the second time in team history, the Ravens will play the 49ers, 28-24 winners over the Falcons in the NFC championship game. The matchup will feature a duel between two coaching brothers, the Ravens' John Harbaugh and the 49ers' Jim Harbaugh.
A week after outshining Peyton Manning, Joe Flacco got the better of Brady, throwing three second-half touchdown passes to turn a game that the Ravens trailed 13-7 at intermission into a relatively comfortable win.
Flacco hit Anquan Boldin — who said that the Ravens would win — on touchdowns of 3 and 11 yards. He also hit tight end Dennis Pitta for a 5-yard score midway through the third quarter that gave the Ravens a lead that they never relinquished. After a quiet first half, Flacco was 15 of 24 for 159 yards and three touchdowns.
The Ravens defense shut out the Patriots in the second half, forcing two Brady interceptions and a fumble by Stevan Ridley. The Patriots had been 72-1 while leading at halftime at Gillette Stadium under coach Bill Belichick and 67-0 with Brady at the helm.
Trailing 13-7 in the third quarter, the Ravens caught a break when Wes Welker dropped an easy pass that would at least put the Patriots in field-goal position to take a two-possession lead. Instead, the Ravens went 87 yards on 10 plays with Flacco connecting with Pitta for the go-ahead score.
Trailing 21-13, the Patriots were driving, but a thunderous hit by safety Bernard Pollard on Ridley caused a fumble and knocked the running back from the game. Art Jones recovered and the Ravens needed just four plays to get back in the end zone.