The Super Bowl belongs to Baltimore.
John Harbaugh’s squad was victorious at the end of an incredible game, complete with a power outage and a 49ers comeback that fell just short by the score of 34-31.
The Ravens were up 28-6 in this game at the start of the third quarter, but a 34-minute power outage at the Superdome gave the 49ers new life, sparking an amazing comeback bid.
Both quarterbacks were phenomenal, with Joe Flacco (22/33 pass attempts, 287 yards, three touchdowns) proving his critics wrong one last time and Colin Kaepernick (16/28 pass attempts, 302 yards, one touchdown) displaying the prowess of a veteran in just his tenth NFL start.
Anquan Boldin had a great day for Baltimore, with six receptions for 104 yards. Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis shined for the 49ers, recording over 100 yards in receiving each.
The 49ers were overwhelmed right out of the gate by the Ravens, who won the coin toss and elected to defer. A quick three-and-out gave Flacco and company a chance to get to work. Flacco led Baltimore on their first drive to the end zone, with a 13-yard pass to Anquan Boldin, who made a beautiful catch for the touchdown.
The unlikeliest of players put the Niners on the board in their ensuing drive. David Akers banged in a 36-yard field goal.
San Francisco seemed to build some momentum to begin the second quarter, as Kaepernick hit Vernon Davis for two quick first downs. But that was all negated when LaMichael James fumbled at the Ravens’ 25-yard line.
That set up a 10-play, 75-yard drive by the Ravens, with Ray Rice recording several nice carries. Flacco found his tight end Dennis Pitta in the end zone on second and goal to put Baltimore up 14-3.
Kaepernick would give it right back to the Ravens on his very next pass, which was a laser over the middle intended intercepted by the veteran Ed Reed. However, Baltimore failed to score as they faked a field goal and Justin Tucker’s dash for the first down was stopped short.
The Niners never seemed to get their offense running in the first half. Pinned at their own six-yard line, another quick three-and-out handed the ball to Baltimore with great field position.
Then, on a third-and-10 play, Flacco heaved one up for Jacoby Jones, who caught it while falling down, then got up and ran it into the end zone while avoiding defenders. It was a 56-yard touchdown, the longest play the Niners had given up all season.
Akers drilled another field goal to conclude the half, but the Ravens took a 21-6 lead into the locker room.
The second half began on an ominous note once again. Akers’ opening kickoff was returned by Jacoby Jones for an 108-yard return, and it took just 11 seconds for the Ravens to score again.
The game was then delayed for 34 minutes due to a power outageat the Superdome. It really was bizarre, as the players and teams stayed on the field
throughout the duration of the outage.
It definitely sparked the 49ers, as they went on a 7-play, 80-yard drive midway through the third quarter capped off by their first touchdown of the game. It was was a 31-yard play to Crabtree, who squeezed in between two defenders and walked into the end zone to cut the Ravens’ lead to 28-13.
The pressure kept coming, as the Niners sacked Flacco on the ensuing drive. Sam Koch’s punt was short, and Ted Ginn Jr. was able to return it all the way back to the Ravens’ 20-yard line.
Two plays later, Frank Gore ran it in from six yards out, and all of a sudden it was just a one-possession game at 28-20.
To put yet another thorn in the side of the Ravens, Ray Rice fumbled at his own 23-yard line and Tarell Brown jumped on it to give the 49ers the ball back again.
Akers nailed another field goal, with the help of a mulligan thanks to a roughing the kicker penalty on his first try.
The Ravens followed the 49ers’ momentum-changing with an impressive drive of their own, going 71 yards on 12 plays. However, despite allowing the Ravens to quickly strike back, the 49ers’ defense stepped up at the right time.
On the 1-yard line, the Ravens fe Rice twice, and the 49ers halted him on both attempts. Concveiably, Joe Flacco tried to throw the ball on third down, but was forced to throw the ball away, which brought out Baltimore field goal unit. Justin Tucker’s kick extended the score to 31-23 with 12:54 to go in the fourth quarter.
But, Kaepernick would display his speed once again on the ensuing 49ers’ drive.
On five plays, San Francisco went 76 yards. Kaepernick sparked the Niners with his arm first, hitting Randy Moss for a 32-yard reception, followed by Frank Gore’s 21-yard rush to put them on the Ravens’ 18-yard line. Then his widely-known trademark shined through, as he rushed for 15 yards to the end zone to pull San Francisco within two, 31-29.
The 49ers opted to go four two, attempting to tie the game at 31. But, the Ravens sent a steaming pass rush to force Kaepernick to throw an inaccurate pass out of the end zone, which was intended to Randy Moss.
With 9:57 remaining, the Ravens put together another drive filled with gutsy play calls, as the clocked swayed in their advantage. A four minute, 59-yard drive resulted in 38-yard field goal. The score sat at 34-29 after Tucker’s kick, setting the stage for Kaepernick to build his legacy.
Unfortunately, that would not happen. Kaepernick marched the Niners down the field and set up a first and goal. Despite having four chances to get it into the end zone, it was just not meant to be. On fourth-and-goal, Crabtree appeared to be held in the end zone, which was not called by the officials.
After a safety to wind the clock down, the Ravens free kicked the ball back to the Niners with four seconds remaining. Ginn got as far as midfield before he was tackled, and the Ravens poured onto the field to celebrate.
Congratulations to both the Ravens and Niners for amazing seasons and quite an amazing game. This is type of action that sports team wish for, and win or lose, it was a heart-pounding affair that we won’t forget for a long time.