Vince Wilfork's Dominant Performance Carries Patriots Past RavensFOXBORO, Mass. — The heart and soul of the Patriots' defense was the lifeblood of their performance in Sunday's 23-20 victory against the Ravens in the AFC Championship.

Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork might have played the best game of his career, as he simply wrecked the Ravens' offensive line on a play-by-play basis. As his teammates said, they saw this performance coming all week long.

"I knew it was going to happen," linebacker Brandon Spikes said. "Because all through the week, he was taking steps getting us together as a whole unit, doing all the smaller things, all the extra stuff to get us ready for this game. His performance just says it all. If you put in the work, that's the outcome you're going to get."

Wilfork's big game went beyond the stats, as it usually does, but don't sleep on the score sheet. He had six tackles (three solo), one sack and three tackles for loss. The Ravens didn't gain a first down on their first three possessions of the game, and Wilfork singlehandedly blew up four of their first nine plays.

He helped set up plays for defensive end Mark Anderson (one sack, two quarterback hits), defensive tackle Kyle Love (three tackles, one quarterback hit), linebacker Rob Ninkovich (seven tackles) and linebacker Brandon Spikes (nine tackles), among others.

Wilfork consistently pushed the pile and dominated the line of scrimmage, making a one-armed tackle to stop running back Ricky Williams on the third defensive series, before defeating a double team from the nose position for his sack two plays later.

Wilfork was consistently the best player on the field, and his monstrous effort propelled the Patriots to their third Super Bowl of his eight-year career.

"Awesome, awesome," Love said of Wilfork's performance. "He's had major leadership on this team, so when he gets to rocking and rolling, we all get to rocking and rolling with him. He's definitely a good leader, and I love that guy."

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