Ranking the Patriots 11 AFC Championship Games since 2001

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: Nate Solder
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: Nate Solder /
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FOXBORO, MA – JANUARY 20: Tom Brady /

10. 2012 AFC Championship Game – Baltimore Ravens

Final: Ravens 28, Patriots 13

This is another very disappointing game because the Patriots likely would have won the Super Bowl. The San Francisco 49ers had a dynamic QB in Colin Kaepernick, but the Patriots would have had so much more experience on their roster.

In the AFC title game, New England grabbed an early lead. The only score of the first quarter was a Stephen Gostkowski field goal, but in the second quarter, Ray Rice put the Ravens up 7-3. New England responded though. Tom Brady led the Patriots down the field and finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker. Another Gostkowski field goal gave the Patriots a 13-7 halftime lead, but they wouldn’t score again.

Ray Lewis and the Ravens defense held the Patriots scoreless as Joe Flacco threw 3 touchdown passes in the second half. The first went to Dennis Pitta and the second two went to Anquan Boldin.

Brady finished the game with 320 yards and a touchdown, but his two interceptions were too much to overcome. Stevan Ridley also had a costly fumble to give the Ravens a 3-0 turnover advantage. This one stung.

9. 2015 AFC Championship Game – Denver Broncos

Final: Broncos 20, Patriots 18

Yep, the Patriots would have won the Super Bowl in this season too if they had made it. The Carolina Panthers weren’t ready for the big stage, and to see Brady in Super Bowl 50 in his hometown would have been awesome. Instead, the Patriots fell to the Broncos, and Peyton Manning once again in the AFC Championship Game.

DeflateGate was a year old when this game took place, and New England could have silenced so many haters with a win. They were so close too. Owen Daniels caught a touchdown pass from Peyton Manning to get things started, but New England responded with a Steven Jackson TD run. Gostkowski missed the extra point though, and the Broncos retained their lead. Daniels caught another score in the second quarter, and Gostkowski swapped field goals with Brandon McManus for a 17-9 score at the half.

Two more field goals were added (one for each team) and the Patriots were down 20-12 in the final quarter. Tom Brady then led New England down the field, and he connected with Rob Gronkowski on a 4-yard touchdown pass with just 12 seconds remaining in the game. The Patriots had to go for 2 and a tie, but they couldn’t convert and the Broncos advanced to the Super Bowl. It was a great game, a classic even, but it’s unfortunate that it didn’t end with the Patriots on top.