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AFC Championship Game Thread #3: Patriots Take 13-10 Halftime Lead Over Ravens

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13 - 10

AFC Championship Game Thread

New England Patriots (#1) vs. Baltimore Ravens (#2)

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012 | 3:00 PM ET | TV: CBS

Ravens Coverage: Baltimore Beatdown

The theme of the first half for the Patriots: missed opportunities. The team has three scoring drives of 10+ plays, have dominated the time of possession, yet have just thirteen points to show for it. On offense, the team had two drives stall within the 20 and Tom Brady also threw an interception in Ravens' territory.

Speaking of Brady, he seems to have lost some momentum since last week's big win over the Denver Broncos. He missed Rob Gronkowski for a wide open touchdown in the first quarter, and has been off on several other throws. He seemed to get back on track late in the first half, but managed just three points on a long drive.

The Patriots have been most successful, quite surprisingly, when turning to the ground. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is running with power and patience. He has fifty yards on eight carries and also has the team's only touchdown.

Defensively, the Patriots opened up in the 3-4, and forced the Ravens to negative yards and three and outs on the first three drives of the game. Since that point, the Ravens have managed to gain significant yardage on all of their drives, turning to the passing game. Joe Flacco has been gaining a lot of confidence. And although the Patriots have managed to shut down Ray Rice, Flacco's confidence has got to be a little concerning.

Overall, the Patriots are winning 13-10 after one half in the AFC Championship game. They have the ball to start the second half and will have the opportunity to extend their lead. It hasn't been a pretty first half, the Patriots are in for a tight one, but the Patriots are still 30 minutes from a potential trip to Super Bowl XLVI.