February 4, 2013

Super Bowl power play: Baltimore holds on for wild victory

The Ravens survive a power outage and a huge San Francisco comeback to earn their second Super Bowl title.

The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — From blowout to blackout to shootout, Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens had just enough power to survive one of the most electric Super Bowls ever.

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San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (85) runs with the ball as Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard (31) and cornerback Cary Williams (29) give chase during the first half of Super Bowl XLVII.

The Associated Press

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Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin (81) catches a 13-yard pass for a touchdown as San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman (53) trails the play during the first quarter of Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday. The game is being played in New Orleans.

The Associated Press

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KEYS TO RAVENS' SUCCESS

 

Joe Flacco continued his playoff excellence, throwing for 287 yards and three first-half touchdowns to earn MVP honors.


Jacoby Jones caught a 56-yard touchdown pass late in the first half, then opened the second half with a 108-yard kickoff return that made it 28-6.


San Francisco’s bid for the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history died on an fourth-and-goal incompletion with less than two minutes remaining.

America's biggest sporting event came to a half-hour standstill in the third quarter when most of the Superdome lights and the scoreboards went dark. By then, the Ravens had a 22-point lead.

The outage flipped the momentum to the San Francisco 49ers, but the Ravens used a last-gasp defensive stand to hold on Sunday night, 34-31.

The 49ers staged a sensational rally before Ray Lewis and Co. shut it down. But there were plenty of white-knuckle moments, and the Ravens (14-6) had to make four stops inside their 7 at the end.

For a Super Bowl with so many subplots, it almost had to end this way.

Flacco's arrival as a championship quarterback coincides with Lewis' retirement — with a second Super Bowl ring no less. The win capped a sensational month since the star linebacker announced he was leaving the game after 17 Hall of Fame-caliber years.

The sibling rivalry between the coaching Harbaughs went to John, older than Jim by 15 months.

"How could it be any other way? It's never pretty. It's never perfect. But it's us," John Harbaugh said. "It was us today."

At 4 hours, 14 minutes, it was the longest Super Bowl ever. Among the most thrilling, too.

The loss of power delayed the game 34 minutes and left players from both sides stretching and chatting with each other. It also cost Baltimore whatever momentum it built, and that was considerable after Jacoby Jones' 108-yard kickoff return and Flacco's three touchdown passes made it 28-6.

Flacco's big start boosted him to the MVP award.

"They have to give it to one guy and I'm not going to complain that I got it," said Flacco, who soon will get a rich new contract. His current deal expired with this win.

Down by three TDs, back came San Francisco (13-5-1) in search of its sixth Lombardi Trophy in as many tries.

Michael Crabtree's 31-yard touchdown reception on which he broke two tackles made it 28-13. A couple of minutes later, Frank Gore's 6-yard run followed a 32-yard punt return by Ted Ginn Jr., and the 49ers were within eight.

Ray Rice's fumble at his 24 led to David Akers' 34-yard field goal, but Baltimore woke up for a long drive leading to rookie Justin Tucker's 19-yard field goal.

San Francisco wasn't done challenging, though, and Colin Kaepernick's 15-yard TD run, the longest for a quarterback in a Super Bowl, made it 31-29. A 2-point conversion pass failed when the Ravens blitzed.

Tucker added a 38-yarder with 4:19 remaining, setting up the frantic finish.

Kaepernick couldn't get the Ravens into the end zone on the final three plays — there was contact on Crabtree on the final pass that appeared incidental, and Jim Harbaugh insisted it was holding.

Ravens punter Sam Koch took a safety for the final score with 4 seconds left. His free kick was returned by Ginn to midfield as time ran out.

The Harbaughs then met at midfield amid the Ravens' confetti-laden celebrations.

"It's very tough," John Harbaugh said of their conversation. "It's a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be. It's very painful."

In the first half, Flacco was as brilliant as Tom Brady, Joe Montana or Terry Bradshaw ever were in the NFL's biggest game. The only quarterback to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons — his coach holds the same distinction — was nearly perfect. Overall, Flacco threw for 11 touchdowns to tie a postseason record, and had no interceptions.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) scores on a 31-yard touchdown reception against the Baltimore Ravens during the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII Sunday in New Orleans.

The Associated Press

Ma'ake Kemoeatu
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Ravens nose tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu celebrates after Baltimore won its first Super Bowl title since the 2000 season.

The Associated Press

Frank Gore, Ma'ake Kemoeatu, Terrell Suggs
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San Francisco running back Frank Gore, center, is tackled by Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs, right, and Ma’ake Kemoeatu. Gore rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown, but the 49ers’ second-half comeback bid fell short.

The Associated Press



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