Toronto, Canada – By Ros Krasny
FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts (Reuters) - The Baltimore Ravens stunned New England 33-14 in the AFC wild card game on Sunday to hand the Patriots their first home playoff loss since 1978.
The Ravens never trailed after a dramatic 83-yard touchdown run by running back Ray Rice 17 seconds into the game.
Baltimore next face the top-rated Indianapolis Colts in the AFC divisional round on January 16.
Rice, a second-year pro, rushed for 159 yards and two touchdowns to anchor quarterback Joe Flacco's ground-focused Baltimore offense. Fullback Le'Ron McClain and running back Willis McGahee added touchdown runs.
The Patriots started ice cold on a bright winter day and Baltimore's 24 unanswered first-quarter points matched an NFL playoff record.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady fumbled once and was intercepted twice in the first quarter, each time setting up scores for the visitors from strong field position.
Brady's blunders drew boos from the home-town crowd.
A shell-shocked Brady settled down after the first quarter and threw two touchdown passes to wide receiver Julian Edelman, running his string of playoff games with a touchdown pass to 16.
But the visitors' smothering defense, rated third in the NFL in least number of yards and points allowed, mostly kept New England under wraps.
Brady completed 23 of 42 passes for 154 yards on the day, out of a total New England offense of 196 yards. Baltimore notched 268 yards of total offense.
"We were in great field position all day, because of our defense and our kicking," said Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.
Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis, who sacked Brady once and had a team-high 13 tackles, said rattling the quarterback and getting off to a big early lead was crucial.
"Any time you get up that quickly on a team, you really take the crowd out of the game," Lewis said. "It's hard to come back on our defense. Bottom line, we played a physical football game today."
(Editing by John Mehaffey)