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Monday, January 23, 2012
Poll: Patriots player of the game

By James Walker

It was a wild and crazy AFC Championship Game. There were lead changes, twists and an unexpected ending when Baltimore Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff shanked a chip-shot field goal at the end.

But who was the player of the game for the Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots? What we do know is it wasn't Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Should defensive lineman Vince Wilfork get the nod? Wilfork was hard to block. He was a big reason the Patriots controlled the line of scrimmage and stuffed Baltimore Pro Bowl tailback Ray Rice. Wilfork had six tackles and one quarterback sack.

What about Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes? New England's defense has been much improved when Spikes is healthy. He had nine tackles and a big fourth-quarter interception against Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski led the team in receiving. He caught five passes for 87 yards. Patriots tailback BenJarvus Green-Ellis (68 rushing yards, one touchdown) and tight end Aaron Hernandez (seven catches, 66 yards) also had solid games.

Using our SportsNation poll, vote on the best player for the Patriots in the AFC title game. You can also share your thoughts in the comments section below.