Thursday, December 12, 2013
By BARRY WILNER The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
Joe Flacco, right, and his Baltimore Raven teammates warm up Saturday at the Superdome during a walkthrough for the Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Associated Press
"I think when you talk about winning as quarterbacks in the playoffs," Flacco said, "I would think that all of them have Super Bowl victories. So that's really the only one that matters, and that's what we're trying to get."
Naturally, so are the 49ers (13-4-1), whose midseason adoption of the pistol offense to best use Kaepernick's dynamic versatility added a dimension no one has been able to stop. The Niners might never have taken such a huge step had incumbent Alex Smith, in the midst of his best season, not sustained a concussion on Nov. 11.
Kaepernick took over and the offense took off.
Once Smith was healthy, he no longer was the starter. Jim Harbaugh gambled by sticking with Kaepernick, a raw second-year quarterback who brought more game-breaking skills to the position.
Difficult decisions like that are sometimes foolhardy, sometimes inspired.
This one worked superbly, and Kaepernick stands one victory from joining Joe Montana and Steve Young as a 49er Super Bowl champion.
"It was tough watching this team do well and not being able to contribute," said Kaepernick, more recognized before his promotion for his collection of tattoos than for his strong arm and sprinter's speed. "For me, what kept me going was the fact that I might get an opportunity to get out there. When I did, I needed to take advantage of it."
Lewis will put on his No. 52 for the final time and see if he can replicate Baltimore's last championship of a dozen years ago.
"You can never top the first one, because that's an unknown feeling," Lewis said before adding with a chuckle, eyes widening, "but a second one -- that might be the only way you really can top it."