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Thursday, January 24, 2013
Ravens red hot in the red zone

By Jamison Hensley

The Ravens scored touchdowns on all four of their red zone drives in the AFC Championship Game and went 3-for-3 in goal-to-go situations in New England. Baltimore has now scored on its last eight trips into the red zone.

Before this hot streak, the Ravens weren't terrible inside the 20-yard line. Baltimore had the 11th-best red zone offense in the regular season, scoring 28 touchdowns on 49 trips there (57.1 percent).

But the Ravens offense, which has averaged 30 points per game in the playoffs, is playing at a different level now.

"I always believed confidence usually follows success," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "You can be fake confident. If you haven’t really done anything, you can kind of walk around with a false bravado. But, to have success, especially in the last couple of weeks the way we have, is definitely going to generate some confidence.”

San Francisco allowed the second-fewest points in the NFL this season (17.1), but teams could score on the 49ers once they could get the ball inside the 20-yard line. The 49ers ranked 28th in red zone defense, giving up touchdowns 61.1 percent of the time. The problem is driving the ball down the field on San Francisco. Teams managed 36 trips inside the 49ers' 20-yard line, the fewest in the league.