The Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 to win Super Bowl XLVII. It was the second Super Bowl Championship for the Ravens franchise in two trips. Their last championship came at Super Bowl XXXV in 2000. As for the 49ers, this was their first loss in six trips to the Super Bowl.
Entering the game, the Ravens felt like a team of destiny and played like it. I am not going to rehash the whole game as you’ve probably already seen it and heard a ton of analysis. I will touch on some major points to get my thoughts of the game across.
The Ravens came out smoking. It was clear to me early that they were the looser of the two teams. They also seemed like the more battle tested team. The Ravens played as though this was just another Sunday game. The 49ers seemed tight to start the game. They had some uncharacteristic miscues that cost them early.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco led his team to three first half touchdowns. While Flacco deserves all the praise he is receiving, his receivers deserve a ton of credit too. Anquan Boldin was huge. For the game he has 6 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown, but his stats do not tell the whole story. He made a number of tough catches. On a third and seven in the first quarter, Flacco threw it up while running towards the sideline and Boldin came down with it for a 30 yard reception. On a third and inches in the fourth, Boldin came down with a very difficult, huge 14 yard reception. We also cannot forget the 56 yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones. Flacco under threw the ball, but Jones adjusted, made the catch, and then had the presence of mind to get up and get into the end zone.
On the other side of the ball, the Ravens defense was dominating the 49ers. Arthur Jones recovered a LaMichael James fumble to stop a potential scoring drive. After a Ravens touchdown gave them a 14-3 lead, Ed Reed intercepted Colin Kaepernick on the following possession to set the Ravens up in 49ers territory. The Ravens held the 49ers to series of five plays or less on four of the 49ers six first half possessions. The 49ers would score only six points in the first half.
The game appeared to be over when Jacoby Jones ran the opening kickoff of the second half back 108 yards for a touchdown to put the Ravens up 28-6. Soon following that explosive play was one of the more bizarre scenes in Super Bowl history. Half of the lights in the Superdome went out. The power outage lasted 34 minutes and changed the whole complexion of the ballgame.
I have heard a number of theories as to why the game changed following the power outage. In my opinion, the power outage calmed the 49ers down. They sat back and recovered from the onslaught the Ravens were putting on them. The 49ers went from playing tight to playing like a team with nothing to lose. Kaepernick seemed more confident and right at home on the big stage after the power outage. Basically, I think the 49ers said hey we are down 22, we have nothing to lose, let’s go and have some fun and see what we can do.
As for the Ravens, I think the power outage just drained their momentum. They had just returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown to expand their lead to 22. One more stop and they could have gone for the finishing blow on offense. Instead, the power went out and so did the momentum. No longer was everyone feeding off of one another’s great play. Once the game started again, the Ravens were flat. Once the 49ers scored, I think the Ravens got a little tight. The more the 49ers found success, the more the pressure increased on the Ravens. It was a perfect storm. If there was no power outage, I don’t think the 49ers settle down and I think the Ravens momentum carries them to a blowout win.
The game essentially ended on the Ravens goal line stand late in the fourth quarter. Up 34-29, the 49ers had the ball at the Ravens 7 with a first and goal. It was only fitting that the Ravens defense held to secure the victory. Ray Lewis had inspired this team to make one final run in his final season. For a team that had been carried by its defense for so many years, it really was the perfect ending - a defensive stand to cap off a Super Bowl win.
I thought the officials did a good job in this game. They let both teams play and did not influence the outcome of the game. Some will question the 49ers fourth down play on that final series, but I think a no call was appropriate. Michael Crabtree initiated the contact on Jimmy Smith. The refs had let this type of play go all game and stayed true to form. It was a good no call. Also, the pass was out of bounds. Crabtree would not have been able to catch it anyway.
I agreed with the decision of Joe Flacco winning the MVP. He was 22-33 for 287 yards and three touchdowns. For the playoffs, Flacco threw for 11 touchdowns with no interceptions. He outperformed Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in consecutive weeks in the AFC playoffs and made a very good to great 49ers defense look mediocre at times. That being said, I would not disagree with anyone who says Jones’s touchdown reception and kickoff return for a touchdown had a bigger impact on the game. Similarly, I would not disagree with anyone who points to Boldin’s timely receptions and overall great play. However, to me, Flacco’s body of work spoke for itself.
I don’t even know where to begin on who I am happy for on this Ravens team. It was fantastic to see Ray Lewis win his second championship in his final season. He has been the Ravens inspirational leader for the past 17 seasons. Lewis was their heart and soul and to see the team rally around him was truly special. It was great to see Ed Reed finally win his first championship after compiling one of the greatest careers a safety has ever had in the NFL. How about Torrey Smith overcoming great personal tragedy to win a Super Bowl? Then there is Joe Flacco. He proclaimed that he was the best in the game and did everything he could to back it up. Flacco bet on himself and won. I could go on and o, but instead will end with the following...
Thank you to the Baltimore Ravens for an unforgettable season! Congratulations! Super Bowl XLVII Champions!