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Super Bowl XLVII: Baltimore Ravens 34 - San Francisco 49ers 31

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Joe Flacco, Anquan Boldin, Ed Reed and Ray Lewis brought the Lombardi Trophy to Baltimore.

Super Bowl XLVII: Baltimore Ravens 34 - San Francisco 49ers 31

Super Bowl XLVII has come and gone, and boy was it something. It wasn't always great, but on the whole this matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers lived up to the billing. In a surprisingly high-scoring affair, the Ravens came away victorious 34-31 in a game filled with big plays, missed opportunities, questionable calls, and even a power outage. Joe Flacco threw three first-half touchdown passes en route to MVP honors and Ray Lewis, no matter what you think of him, was able to go out on top.

I watched every minute of the game and kept a running tally of the action. So while it won't quite be a retro-running-diary (a la Bill Simmons), let's go through the game in note form quarter-by-quarter and touch on everything that happened. Since a lot happened, we'll stick with just game notes here and address the commercials and performances in separate posts.

Pre-game

- First up after some musical numbers, the ceremonial coin toss. The Ravens win with a call of heads and elect to defer. All you degenerate gamblers are kicking yourselves already after these prop bets.

First Quarter

- 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has his only first down negated with an illegal formation call, so as a result San Francisco goes three and out on the opening drive.

- The Ravens march down the field, led by Joe Flacco. Their drive is extended by an offsides call on Ahmad Brooks. On the very next play, Flacco finds Anquan Boldin (who else?) on a beautiful touch pass down the seam to give Baltimore a quick 7-0 lead. The Baltimore offense looks as dangerous as it has all postseason.

- The spread at my Super Bowl Party: wings from Buffalo Wild Wings, pizza from Grimaldi's, and plenty of IPAs. Unfortunately, I couldn't partake in the beer, so soda had to do. At this point in the contest, I'm already six wings and one slice of pizza deep, with a Sprite about to be finished.

- In a nice response, Kaepernick leads the 49ers right down the field. The drive features plenty of big passes from Kaepernick to Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, but Kaepernick couldn't convert in the red zone. The drive stalled with a Kaepernick miss in the end zone and a sack on third down, so the beleaguered David Akers ambles on and knocks a 46-yarder through the uprights. 7-3 Ravens.

- Joe Flacco evades the rush on third down and completes a huge bomb down the sideline to his favorite target, Anquan Boldin. After the play, Boldin immediately gets in the face of the defender and begins taunting him. Something like that would normally draw a flag, but as we'll find later in this game, both teams got away with plenty.

- The first quarter ends with Joe Flacco getting sacked, which will force a Ravens punt to start the second quarter. 7-3 Ravens after one. It's pretty even, but Baltimore clearly played the better quarter of football. 

Second Quarter

- The Niners start their drive with a big play to Vernon Davis, who has stepped up big time early. The fast start is quickly squandered by a LaMichael James fumble, giving the Ravens great field position.

- Baltimore quickly drives, and Flacco finds a wide open Dennis Pitta off a play-action for his second touchdown. Up to this point, Jim Caldwell's offense has had it's way with the 49ers defense. Baltimore 14 - San Fran 3.

- San Francisco could use a lengthy drive and score here, but instead Kaepernick airmails Randy Moss (I think) and the ball lands in Ed Reed's hands. Reed had left the game briefly after a hit on Davis, but of course he makes a big play when the time calls. He runs it back for a decent gain on the return, and afterwards quite a skirmish breaks out. Offsetting personal fouls are called, but there seemed to be a lot going on for one team to not get at least 15 yards.

- Baltimore's drive stalls and they have to sett--WAIT IT'S A FAKE! Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker got the direct snap and raced toward the left sideline. It looked like he was going to get the first down, but then got crushed by safety Darcel McBath. With so much momentum in their favor, you can see the logic in trying to take advantage of San Fran's over-aggressiveness, but points are points, especially in the Super Bowl. This could come up big.

- So San Fran gets the ball deep in their own territory, and boy do they get conservative. Kaepernick looks gun-shy after the pick, and on third-and-long they go with an inside draw. Who is their offensive coordinator, Kevin Gilbride? At this point, I'm seriously debating whether or not San Fran should pull their young quarterback and go with Alex Smith.

- Here's what my notes say for the next Ravens score: "JACOBY JONES WHAT A TD!!!!!" Here's some context. On 3rd and 10 from their own 44-yard line, Joe Flacco dropped back and heaved a bomb down the middle to a wide open Jones, who caught the pass falling backwards near the 49ers 10. The safety failed to touch him in an effort to make up ground, so Jones wisely got up. He sidestepped one tackle (a pretty poor angle taken on that one) then sprinted at an angle to the end zone before he dove in for the score. It was an incredible play, especially right at the two-minute warning to give Baltimore a 21-3 lead and firm control of the game.

- Kaepernick leads the 49ers down, but they again can't convert inside the red zone. They are forced to settle for another field goal, which Akers hits as the half expires to make the halftime score Ravens 21 - 49ers 6. It's been all Baltimore this half, and getting the ball to start the second could mean trouble for San Francisco.

- During halftime, I wolf down four more wings, another slice of pizza, and wash it down with some orange soda. The stomach is reaching it's tipping point.

Third Quarter

- Yup, it was trouble. Jacoby Jones returned the line-drive kickoff by Akers 109 (later changed to 108) yards for an emphatic start to the half. Jones was barely touched, and it took him all of 11 seconds to travel nearly the entire length of the field. Talk about fast, and talk about a momentum boost for the Ravens. Their lead is now 28-6, and things look grim for the Niners.

- Then, as if the heavens answered the prayers of all 49ers fans for some kind of a miracle, the lights went out in the Superdome. It would take over a half hour for the crew to get the lights turned back on. Obviously, a half-hour delay is never something you want, but it gave the analysts plenty of time to talk over themselves and make assessments about the game, including how the delay could impact both teams and whether Jim Harbaugh should think of going to Alex Smith.

- Easily the highlight of the power outage came from former Redskins QB Joe Theisman, who tweeted this gem:

He deleted the tweet shortly after, and said "My bad meant shut down house." This is exactly the reason Twitter was made.

- It seems as if both coaches came prepared for the occasion, as both Harbaughs gathered their teams for "power outage motivation speeches" that were caught on camera.

- Well, the 49ers fail to convert a 3rd down on the first play back, but the Ravens only get one first down on their next drive. Neither team looks particularly sharp after the long delay, but the Ravens are still in firm control of the game.

- Kaepernick takes San Francisco 80 yards on the next drive and caps it off with a 31-yard strike to Michael Crabtree, who was sandwiched by two Ravens defenders but not brought down and freed up to scamper into the end zone. The Niners have a pulse as the score is now 28-13 with 7:28 left in the third. There's still an eternity left in this game.

- It seems as if San Fran's defense has now woken up as they absolutely crush Flacco on a third-down sack to force a three-and-out. The Niners have more than a pulse, now.

- Ted Ginn Jr. returns the ensuing punt 32 yards to the Baltimore 20.

- Two plays later, Frank Gore waltzes untouched (largely thanks to a crushing Delanie Walker block) into the end zone for a six-yard score. After the extra pint, it's now 28-20 and a one-possession game with 4:59 left in the third. At this point, Ravens fans want to know who is responsible for the power outage and wring his/her/their neck(s).

- Two plays into Baltimore's drive, Ray Rice fumble after making a catch out of the backfield, and San Francisco recovers with great field position again. It's incredible how the momentum has completely shifted.

- San Francisco fails to take complete advantage of the turnover, but they do end up getting a 39-yard field goal try, one that Akers pushes left. San Fran is bailed out by a highly questionable Running Into the Kicker call (Akers just fell down and was rewarded), and Akers doesn't miss his second shot at it. 28-23 Ravens with 3:14 left in the third.

- The Ravens put together a long drive to wind down the third quarter, mixing up runs and passes including a completion to the newly nicknamed Dennis Pitta "Mellark" (a Hunger Games reference that positively works). The Ravens end the quarter by converting a third-and-one and moving into the red zone. This one feels like it will go down to the wire, and that's an incredible improvement in the quality of the game compared to the start of the quarter. This one is a toss-up as we enter the final 15 minutes.

Fourth Quarter

- Joe Flacco gets nailed after his momentum takes him out of bounds on a third-and-goal from the one. In the regular season, I think roughing the passer gets called. It certainly was a bang-bang play, and there is no way that the San Francisco defender could have let up, but that doesn't change the fact that Flacco got creamed. The officials let these two teams play all night (only seven penalties enforced all game). Baltimore settles for a field goal (Tucker appears just fine after that fake from the second quarter) and the lead is now 31-23.

- Randy Moss comes down with a big gainer for 32, his second catch of the game. Straight cash, homey.

- TATTOOS TD. Kaepernick takes the snap and just bolts down the left side for what he makes look like an easy score. The 15-yard TD dash sets the record for longest TD run by a quarterback in Super Bowl history, and all of a sudden it's a two-point game.

- The conversion fails, leaving the deficit at two with 9:57 remaining. This is shaping up to be an incredible finish.

- Chris Culliver gets whistled for a big pass interference penalty on a third-and-nine, extending Baltimore's drive and proving once and for all that it's never good to make insensitive comments towards potentially gay teammates the week before the biggest game of your career.

- Anquan Boldin makes more big grabs on the drive, Ray Rice comes up with some big runs, and Baltimore comes away with three big points on a Justin Tucker field goal to make it 34-29 with 4:23 remaining. Now San Francisco needs to score a touchdown to take the lead.

- Coincidentally, one of my friends at this party has "4" for the Ravens and "9" for the 49ers as his Super Bowl squares and is now in position to win himself quite a bit of money. Needless to say, we are all infinitely more invested in this game for his sake.

- A pair of eight-yard runs Gore and Kaepernick, a 24-yard strike to Crabtree, and a 33-yard scamper by Gore put the Niners in a first-and-goal situation with 2:47 left. This doesn't seem like real life.

- LaMichael James rushes for two on first and goal from the seven.

- Incomplete pass by Colin Kaepernick intended for Crabtree. With the gift of hindsight, this is where I (and most of the party around me) would have tried a designed run for Kaepernick. Just spread out the defense and let him try and find a whole. It's just five yards, something Kaepernick could easily gain that in what, like half a second? 

- Jim Harbaugh prevents what could have been a devastating Delay of Game penalty by burning a precious timeout. The Niners have just one remaining.

- Incomplete pass by Kaepernick intended for Crabtree. It all comes down to this next play: fourth and goal from the five yard line.

- This play is going to be talked about for a while. Kaepernick fades one to the back right corner intended for Crabtree, but there's a lot of contact and grabbing by both Crabtree and the defender, but nothing was called. Phil Simms, calling the game for CBS, agreed with the no-call, as there was a lot happening to process in real time. 

But that didn't stop Jim Harbaugh from throwing one of his trademark tantrums that ended up with him hatless and as red as a cherry. Yes there may have been some grabbing, but I also agree with the no-call. Ravens ball with a chance to ice out the game and the Super Bowl.

- The Ravens run three times and can run the clock down to about 11 seconds remaining in the game before a potentially precarious punt out of the end zone. They call timeout before the punt attempt, and Jim Nantz and Simms go back and forth about whether or not to take the safety on the punt to avoid a block/recover/score by the defense. 

Our friend with the winning squares is immediately petrified by this thought. "Why would they do that?" we all reassure him. "They don't have any time outs left and it would take a miracle of a return. No way they do that."

- Sure enough, punter Sam Koch takes the snap, runs around in the end zone for 7 seconds, and takes a safety. 34-31 Ravens with four seconds remaining and a punt kickoff coming up.

But the damage has been done, and our friend is devastated. "I feel like I'm going to throw up," he says. We all are in complete shock. 

- A little known kickoff rule gets brought up: teams can fair catch a kickoff, then elect to let their kicker attempt a running field goal from the spot of that fair catch. Unlikely to happen, since the kick would likely still get fielded at around the 20-yard-line and that would mean a 96-yard field goal. 

- Ginn Jr. almost finds a seam, but after 31 yards gets brought down at midfield. Ballgame over, and your 2012-2013 Super Bowl Champions are the Baltimore Ravens. 

Postgame

- Joe Flacco is your MVP after a great 22/33, 287-yard, 3-TD performance. Anquan Boldin ended up with 6 catches for 104 yards, and while the running game didn't produce many yards, they dictated offense and killed clock, especially in the second half. Dannell Elerbe was Baltimore's leading tackler with 9 total, Ray Lewis ended up with 7 total, and Ed Reed had five tackles to go along with that pick.

- The 49ers put up some big stat lines. Colin Kaepernick ended up with 364 total yards (302 passing, 62 rushing) and two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing). Frank Gore rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis each eclipsed the 100-yard plateau with Davis' 104 yards setting a Super Bowl record for a tight end. Patrick Willis led the defense with 10 total tackles.

- San Francisco's slow start is what doomed them in this game, which through weird divine intervention turned into a classic. Joe Flacco played masterfully in guiding his team to the championship, and Ray Lewis goes out on top. Both teams left it all out there in New Orleans. This finish pretty accurately served as a microcosm of this year in football: strange, unpredictable, amazing, bizarre, thrilling, and, overall, pretty great.

Until next year.

Let CHARGED.fm get you tickets to see your favorite teams live this season.


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