BALTIMORE (AP) — Tom Brady completed 23 of 31 passes for 294 yards and a touchdown, and the New England Patriots took a 27-21 lead over the Baltimore Ravens after three quarters Sunday night.
Brady engineered a go-ahead drive midway through the third period, with Danny Woodhead scoring on a 3-yard run. That 12-play, 80-yard march offset a 7-yard touchdown scamper by Baltimore's Ray Rice on the opening series of the second half.
Brady had given the Patriots a 20-14 lead with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman with 2 seconds remaining in the first half. Brady's late heroics overshadowed a nice comeback by Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco, who threw two second-quarter TD passes after being held without a first down in the opening period.
On the drive culminating in Edelman's score, New England benefited from two defensive penalties and Brady hitting Wes Welker for a 28-yard completion.
In the first quarter, Brandon Bolden scored his first NFL touchdown and Stephen Gostkowski kicked two field goals as the Patriots took a 13-0 lead.
New England frustrated the Ravens until they finally put together their first sustained offensive series, a 13-play drive that ended with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to Torrey Smith, who was playing less than 24 hours after the death of his 19-year-old brother.
With 1:47 remaining in the half, Flacco found Dennis Pitta along the right sideline for a 20-yard scoring pass. Pitta leaped over safety Steve Gregory, caught his balance to remain in bounds at the 7-yard line and gave the Ravens the lead.
The game was billed as a rematch of last year's AFC championship contest, won by the Patriots.
New England went ahead 3-0 midway through the opening period, using a 59-yard pass from Brady to Welker off a no-huddle play to set up the score. After Baltimore's Ed Reed made a jarring hit in the end zone to deny Edelman a touchdown catch, the Patriots had to settle for Gostkowski's 37-yard field goal.