Jan 22, 2012 10:56 PM by Jordan Mason
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Tom Brady waited out the final tense minutes on the sideline and somehow his fourth-quarter leap into the end zone held up, sending the New England Patriots back to the Super Bowl.
With New England leading by 3 points with 11 seconds left, Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal attempt and the Patriots escaped with a 23-20 win Sunday in the AFC championship game.
On his 1-yard scoring dive with 11:29 left, 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.
Next up as the Patriots chase their fourth Super Bowl trophy in Brady and coach Bill Belichick's tenure in New England is the winner of Sunday's NFC championship game between the Giants and 49ers. The Super Bowl is 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 had to the Sup Bowl with a 10-game winning streak.
Brady's fifth trip to the Super Bowl will equal John Elway's achievement with Denver.
"We're going to try to go out and kick some butt in a couple of weeks," Brady said.
NFC Championship - Giants 20, 49ers 17, OT
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Lawrence Tynes booted the Giants into the Super Bowl again.
Tynes kicked a winning 31-yard field goal in sudden-death overtime and New York beat the San Francisco 49ers 20-17 in the NFC championship game Sunday night to reach its second Super Bowl in five seasons.
Eli Manning and the Giants (12-7) will face the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis, just as they did when they won it in 2008.
Tynes also kicked the game-winning field goal in overtime at Green Bay in the 2008 NFC title game that put the Giants in the Super Bowl.
Devon Thomas put the Giants in position. He recovered his second fumble of the game after Jacquian Williams stripped the ball from fill-in return man Kyle Williams.
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