The Dispatch from Moline, Illinois on January 23, 2012 · 20
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The Dispatch from Moline, Illinois · 20

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Moline, Illinois
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Monday, January 23, 2012
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20
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C6 The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus Monday January 23, 201 2 NFL Tynes kicks Giants into Super Bowl Giants 2a 49m 17(OT) Associated Press San Francisco 49ers' Kyle Williams fumbles a punt as New York Giants Devin Thomas recovers during overtime of the NFC Championship game on Sunday in San Francisco. Williams, 49ers fumble away chance at NFC title SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Kyle Williams put his hands on his helmet and dropped his head in disgust. A second big mistake by its backup punt returner did m San Francisco at the worst possible time. Williams fumbled m overtime to set up Lawrence Tynes' 31-yard field goal, and the 49ers lost the NFC championship game to the New York Giants 20-17 on Sunday. Williams, returning kicks in place of the injured Ted Ginn Jr., muffed one punt early in the fourth quarter to set up a go-ahead touchdown for New York, then was stripped by Jacquian Williams in overtime to give the Giants the ball at the 24. After three runs and a kneel-down, Tynes kicked the game-winner. and Williams slowly made a dejected walk back to the locker room as the 49ers missed out on a prime chance to go to the Super Bowl. It will be a tough one, coach Jim Harbaugh said. It will take a while to get over. The fact that turnovers did in San Francisco was truly surprising. The 49ers tied an NFL record with just 10 giveaways all season includmg none on special teams and had a plus-28 turnover margin in the regular season. They took advantage of five New Orleans turnovers to win 36-32 last week but were on the Last-minute failures end Ravens' season FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Lee Evans had victory in his hands. Billy Cundiff had a tie game on his toe. Two chances in the final 30 seconds to keep their Super Bowl hopes alive and the Baltimore Ravens let both slip away Evans was stripped after briefly hauling m Joe Flaccos pass in the back right corner of the end zone and. two plays later. Cundiff pushed a 32-yard field goal attempt wide left in Sunday's AFC championship game The New England Patriots won 23-20 and the Ravens ended their season disappointed but not disgraced. "Were grinders. said line backer Ray Lewis, wiping his face with a towel in the quiet Ravens locker room. Were commg home and we're coming home with smiles. But, most importantly, when we start back training, were coming back (ticked) off. Why .wouldn't we be? The Ravens gave the Patriots all they could handle. The much-maligned Flacco played one of his best games of the season. The third-ranked Baltimore defense held Tom Brady without a touchdown pass for the first time in 36 games. And the Ravens moved from their 21-yard line to a second-and-1 at the Patriots 14 with 27 seconds left Plenty of time to at least tie the score. On the next play, Evans had the pass in his grasp But Sterling Moore, a rookie free agent who was cut once by the Patriots this season, arrived just in time to knock out the ball. I feel like I had it but it came out," Evans said. I dont know how to put it into words. Honestly its the most disap pointing part of all of this that I feel personally that I let everybody down. It hit me right where you would want to be hit It was a great pass by Joe and a play not completed by me. Nobody else can take the fault. Ravens coach John Harbaugh thought the play should have been reviewed, but because coaches cant ask for a review in the last two minutes of a half, he was powerless. Obviously in that situation I thought they would look at it, he said, but they didnt wTong end in this game because of Williams. Williams, the son of Chicago White Sox general manager Ken Williams, did not look smooth fielding punts after doing it just twice in the regular season. He made a dangerous, sliding catch on one return and called a fair catch on another with room to run. He then made his first big miscue after San Francisco forced a punt early m the fourth quarter while protecting a 14-10 lead. Steve Weatherford hit a short, bouncing punt that Williams came up to try to field. He backed away at the last minute, but the ball glanced off his right knee and was recovered by Devin Thomas at the San Francisco 29. The play was originally not ruled a fumble but was overturned by instant replay. Sue plays later, Eli Manning threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Mario Manningham, who beat backup cornerback Tramaine Brock on third-and-15. Brock was playing in place of starter Tarell Brown, who left late in the third quarter after a violent collision with teammate Dashon Gold-son. Williams helped atone for his miscue when he returned the kickoff 40 yards to help set up David Akers tying field goal late in regulation. Associated Press Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Lee Evans is stripped of the ball by New England Patriots free safety Sterling Moore during the second half of the AFC Championship game on Sunday in Foxborough, Mass. I have not talked to anybody didnt get a chance to, so I dont know what the explanation is on that. But the Ravens werent done. i On the next play needmg a yard for a first down, Flacco threw toward Dennis Pitta. Again, Moore made a late move to knock the ball away Still, there was a chance to send the game into overtime. And Cundiff had kicked field goals of 48 and 44 yards a week earlier in a 20-13 win over the Houston Texans. He had mde 10 of 12 field goals between 30 and 39 yards this season. Not this time. Morgan Cox snapped. Sam Koch held. Cundiff. the All-Pro kicker in the 2010 season, swung his leg. On the Ravens sideline, jaws dropped and heads sank. There was a look of shock that such a dependable kicker had missed such a makeable kick. The timing was just a little off, Cundiff said! Im disap pointed. I let my teammates down." His teammates didnt think so. The kick was one of dozens of plays that affected the outcome. Not one play won or lost this game," Lewis said. Theres no Oh, Billys the fault Billy missed the (kick). Theres no freaking Billy missed the kick. It happened. Move oa SAN FRANCISCO (AP) The New York Giants have their own Super Bowl formula: In overtime and on the road. , And with Lawrence Tynes foot Eli Manning directed one short, final drive and Tynes kicked a game-winning 31-yard field goal in overtime, sending the Giants to the Super Bowl with a 20-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game on Sunday In another tight one in this decades-old postseason rivalry both defenses made key stops before New York capitalized on another costly mistake by San Francisco. Manning and the Giants (12-7) will face the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl mi Feb 5 in Indianapolis as 3vj-point underdogs. The last time the teams met for the NFL title, 2008, the Giants ended the Patriots bid for a perfect season. Tynes had a hand, er, foot in getting the Giants to that one, too, kicking the game-winning field goal in overtime at Green Bay Devin Thomas put the Giants in position by recovering his second fumble of the game after Jacquian Williams stripped the ball from fill-in return man Kyle Williams, who also fumbled earlier to set up a New York touchdown. Its my second NFC championship game, my second game-winner, Tynes said. Its amazing. I had dreams about this last night It was from 42, not 31, but I was so nervous today before the game just anticipating this kind of game Im usually pretty cool, but there was something about tonight where I knew I was going to have to make a kick. Hats off to Eli, offense, defense Great win. Manning went 32 of 58 for 316 yards and two touchdowns in his record fifth road playoff win. New Yorks fifth in a row overall and fifth out of six. A 12-point underdog in the 2008 tide game the Giants battered Brady and got a last-minute TD pass from Manning to Plaxico Burress to Patriots, Brady get a break to win Patriots 23, Ravens 20 FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Tom Brady got all the help he needed to get the New England Patriots into the Super Bowl. Thank you, Billy Cundiff. The Baltimore Ravens kicker shanked a 32-yard field goal with 11 seconds left and the Patriots escaped with a 23-20 victory in the AFC championship game on Sunday Usually, vintage Brady doesnt need much assistance in championship settings, but the Patriots much-maligned defense came through, and Bradys 1-yard touchdown dive with 11:29 left proved to be the winning points. Well, I sucked pretty bad today, but our defense saved us, Brady said after throwing for 239 yards, with two interceptions and, for the first time in 36 games, no TD passes. Im going to try to go out and do a better job in a couple of weeks, but Im proud of this team, my teammates. Brady waited out the final tense minutes on the sideline, and then celebrated with the rest of his team when Cundiffs attempt went wide left The Ravens looked on in stunned horror. Cundiff had no excuse. Its a kick Ive kicked probably a thousand times in my career, Cundiff said. I went out there and didnt convert. Thats the way things go. Next up as the Patriots chase their fourth Super Bowl trophy in Brady and coach Bill Belichicks tenure in New England is the New York Giants, who beat the San Francisco 49ers 20-17 in overtime Sunday night. The Patriots were installed as 3-point favorites for the Super Bowl on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis. In their last trip to the big game, the Patriots had an 18-0 record when they were stunned by the Giants four years ago. They won the NFL championship for the 2001, 2003 and 2004 seasons. This time, they head to the Super Bowl with a 10-game winning streak. ' Associated Press New York Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes (9) celebrates with punter Steve Weatherford (5) after making the game-winning field goal during overtime of the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in San Francisco. The Giants won 20-1 7 to advance to Super Bowl XIVI. win their third Super Bowl. Five months after declaring he is in the same class as Tom Brady Manning will get another chance to outdo Brady on the NFLs biggest stage. He outplayed Aaron Rodgers and the defending champion Packers last week, then fellow former No. 1 pick Alex Smith and upstart San Francisco the next. Victor Cruz set the tone with eight of his 10 receptions in the first half and finished with 142 yards It's just been a tremendous effort by all of us, man, Cruz said. We understand that any one of us can get hot at any moment As long as were all on the same page and just playing together, man, weve got a great group of guys. Vernon Davis caught touchdown passes of 73 and 28 yards and wound up with three catches for 112 yards for the NFC West champions (14-4), who went from 6-10 a year ago to a contender and ended an eight-year playoff drought. He scored the game-winner from 14 yards out last week as the 49ers stunned Drew Brees Associated Press Baltimore Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff and holder Sam Koch watch after Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal in the closing seconds of their AFC Championship game on Sunday in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots defeated the Ravens 23-20 to win the AFC Championship. Before Cundiff missed, the Ravens had a chance to go ahead two plays earlier, but wide receiver Lee Evans was stripped of the ball in the end zone by backup cornerback Sterling Moore, who earlier was victimized for a touchdown that gave Baltimore (13-5) the lead 17-16. On his touchdown, Brady took a huge hit from Ravens star linebacker Ray Lewis, then emphatically spiked the ball as he walked away. Earlier, Brady showed his fire by barking at Lewis following a hard tackle on a 4-yard run. Its a pretty mentally tough team, said Brady, whose fifth trip to the Super Bowl will equal John Elways achievement with Denver. Theres really some resiliency Weve shown that all season. Even in the games weve lost, the three games we lost, we fought until the end. Were always going to fight to the end. Its great to be a part of a team like this. 1 Baltimore had the touted defense in this matchup, but New Englands unit, ranked 31st overall, was just as powerful. We stepped up, Pro Bowl nose tackle Vince Wilfork said. We all stepped up big time. Being in this situation and the favored Saints 36-32. Thirty years after their dynasty began under the late Bill Walsh, another former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh got the 49ers this far with his Whos got it better than us? No-body! chant that caught on so well with the" players and city It will be a tough one It will take a while to get over, Harbaugh said. The only other time these two franchises faced off in the conference championship the game finished in memorable fashion. On Jan. 20, 1991, Roger Craig fumbled with the 49ers leading 13-12 late in the fourth quarter and the Giants went on to win 15-13 to deny San Francisco a chance at a third straight Super Bowl title. New York then beat the Bills to capture its second Super Bowl. These teams met six times in the playoffs between the 1981 and 94 seasons with the winner going on to win the Super Bowl four times. Patriots favored by Vegas books: Las Vegas casinos have made the New England Patri is a great moment. You have to cherish this moment. The Patriots shut down Ray Rice, the leagues total yardage leader, who was limited to 78 yards. Brandon Spikes made a fourth-quarter interception of Joe Flacco, who played well before that and threw for two touchdowns. And when the Ravens were threatening to score a late touchdown to win their first conference title in 11 years, New England damped down. Its two great- football teams, two gladiators, I guess, just kind of going at each other at the end, and Im proud of our guys, Harbaugh said. You know, weve got 53 guys, mighty men, as we like to call them and they fought, and we came up a little bit short, as 53. You know, 53 win and 53 lose. With Rice a nonfactor, Baltimore had to rely on Flacco, and he delivered one of his best performances. Flacco has led the Ravens into the playoffs in all four of his pro seasons, but not to the Super Bowl. He was 22 for 36 for 306 yards and touchdowns of 6 yards to Dennis Pitta and 29 to rookie Torrey Smith. , The loss hardly could be blamed on Flacco. ots favorites to win the Super Bowl thanks to their national following, a decade of winning and the playoff mystique of quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick. In odds posted Sunday night by Cantor Gaming, the Patriots opened as three-point favorites over the New York Giants after New York beat San Francisco 20-17 in overtime in the NFC championship game, Race and Sports Director Mike Colbert said. The public will still like New England, Colbert told The Associated Press. I dont think people are actually hip to how good these NFC teams are. The over-under was set at 53 points, while New England betting fees were adjusted to be slightly more expensive than normal, with bettors required to wager $115 to win $100 rather than $110 to win $100, Colbert said. Cantor sets lines for several sports books in Las Vegas, including the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, the Palazzo Las Vegas and the M Resort I dont know if I ever will prove anything, he said. I just play the same way We lost; someone has to. But we laid it all out on the field. Operating against a porous secondary missing its top cornerback, Kyle Arrington, who left in the second quarter with an eye in- , jury, Flacco gave Baltimore its first lead. His short pass on third down to explosive receiver Smith turned into a 29-yard scamper- down the right sideline after Moore completely whiffed on the tackle. Danny Woodheads fumble on the ensuing kickoff set up Baltimore at the Patriots 28, but a third-down sack forced Cundiff to kick a 39-yard field goal, making it 20-16. New England didnt flinch. Brady took the Patriots 63 yards in 11 plays, and seemed to score on a 1-yard run. The call was overruled by replay, though, and on fourth-down, he dived just high enough over the line for the winning points. Every inch counts in this game and every foot counts in this game, said 12-year veteran guard Brian Waters, - who joined the Patriots this yeair and is headed to his first Super Bowl.

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