Flacco, maligned in Baltimore and criticized by teammate Ed Reed during the week, rifled a pass to Evans in the end zone, with Moore a step behind. Just as Evans hauled in the ball, setting off a brief celebration on the Ravens' sideline, Moore chopped it out of his hands. "I felt like I had it," Evans said. "The most disappointing part of this is, I feel like I let everybody down."
While Moore said his swipe of the ball was instinct, he also acknowledged it was a play the defensive backs work on daily. "Not perfect out there, but he competes hard and he's a tough kid," Belichick said of Moore. "He's got good ball skills. He gets around the ball."
On the next play Flacco scrambled to his right and zipped a pass to tight end Dennis Pitta near the goal line, but Moore swatted the ball to the ground. That forced the Ravens to attempt a game-tying field goal.
Cundiff had hit only 75.7% of his tries during the regular season, among the worst rates in the league. But he had made his two previous attempts in the game, from 20 and 39 yards, and now rushed on for a 32-yarder as the play clock ticked down. He swung his right leg and the ball hooked left, sinking the Ravens' season. "I think we can just keep things simple," Cundiff said. "It's a kick I've kicked a thousand times in my career. I just went out there and didn't convert."
Moore did not arrive in New England in time to meet Myra Kraft, but he didn't need to ask his teammates if they believed in providence. "Everybody said she was watching," Moore said. "She probably did have something to do with that."
Last Friday, Kraft was riding to the Foxborough branch of the Hockomock YMCA, to which he and his family donated $1 million in 2006. Members swim laps, spike volleyballs and cheer for the Patriots. A picture of Bob and Myra hangs on a wall. The Pats' owner was greeted by a parade of children dressed in jerseys bearing names such as BRADY, WELKER and BRUSCHI.
For one of the figures instrumental in ending last summer's lockout, this was friendly turf. "Beat the Raisins!" a kid shouted, before someone corrected the name of the opponents.
Brady, of course, is the hero, but Kraft told them that as great as the quarterback is, even he couldn't win games alone. In two days' time Kraft would be proved right. He would stand on a chilly field with legendary Patriots and newly famous ones, bound for the sixth Super Bowl of his tenure as owner. He would laugh and joke and, at times, fight back tears.
"You watch Vince Wilfork," Kraft said of New England's titanic defensive tackle. "He used to kiss me coming off the field, and kiss my wife. This year, he kisses me twice."