One of the most storyline driven Super Bowls of all-time has been completed as last night, the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31. This was the franchise's second Super Bowl victory and the first Super Bowl loss for the 49ers. Baltimore dominated during the first half of the game as Anquan Boldin, Dennis Pitta and Jacoby Jones caught TD passes from QB Joe Flacco - the TD toss to Jones coming via a 56 yard bomb just before halftime as the Ravens went up 21-6. The 49ers were left reeling as both their spectacular defense and dynamic offense folded against the high intensity provided by the Ravens.
After Beyonce stole the show with her halftime performance, it was time for San Francisco to see if they could pull off a historic comeback. Things started just about as well in the second half as they did in the first for the 49ers as kick-returner Jacoby Jones - with a receiving touchdown under his belt already in the game - ran back the opening kickoff of the third quarter for an NFL postseason record 108 yards putting Baltimore up 28-6. Then, things got a little peculiar. A section of the lights in New Orleans' Superdome went out as a thirty minute delay stalled the biggest sporting event of the year for America. When the game finally resumed, Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers finally started playing. Better late than never, I suppose. Michael Crabtree nabbed a 31 yard TD pass and minutes later, Frank Gore punched in a short TD run. David Akers added three points with a field goal and at the end of the third quarter, San Francisco was within just five points.
Baltimore, in desperate need of a response with all the momentum against them, managed to put together an extended drive that led to a field goal from Justin Tucker putting the Ravens up by eight. The 49ers responded yet again with Colin Kaepernick running for a 15 yard TD - the longest such run for a QB in Super Bowl history. They failed on the two point conversion attempt as Baltimore got the ball back up by only two points. Joe Flacco managed to once again keep the hectic game under control for Baltimore has he and the offense shaved off over five minutes of game clock leading to a pivotal 38 yard field goal from Justin Tucker. San Francisco had one final shot to take their first lead of the game down by five points needing a clutch touchdown. It seemed as though it was a foregone conclusion at the two minute warning as San Francisco's offense stalled on the five yard line. They had four plays to try and complete the miraculous comeback but failed to do so as a controversial play capped off the failed drive. Kaepernick lofted a high arching pass to the corner of the end zone on fourth down. Michael Crabtree attempted to get to the pass but had Jimmy Smith draped all over him - many believing the referees missed blatant holding and interference calls. Crabtree had no chance to get to the ball as Baltimore brought the game to the final seconds - including accepting a safety so they could kill even more precious seconds. Ted Ginn was unable to return the final kick of the game for a touchdown as the Ravens rushed the field to celebrate their Super Bowl victory.
• For the first time in American sports, two brothers opposed each other as head coaches in a championship game. John Harbaugh defeated his younger brother Jim in the game.
• Joe Flacco took home MVP honors for the game throwing for 287 yards with three touchdowns as his poise - even after the long delay and ferocious comeback by the 49ers - ultimately led the Ravens to the pinnacle of the football world. Flacco, who now has the same amount of playoff and Super Bowl victories as Peyton Manning, has 15 TD and only one interception the past two years in postseason football. He tied Kurt Warner and Joe Montana's record for the most TD passes in a single postseason during the big game last night. The 28 year old is now a free agent and could demand one of the biggest contracts in NFL history with a resume like that.
• Baltimore can enjoy the celebration for now, but will have several question marks coming into next season. Not only is Joe Flacco a free agent, but Ray Lewis will be retiring and Ed Reed could also be on the way out. The talented safety is now a free agent.
• The 49ers will have to try and avoid the "Super Bowl curse" for teams that lose the big game. Ten teams since 1988 have gone on to have less than impressive seasons the year following a Super Bowl loss. Most recently occurring in 2006 when the Chicago Bears went from Super Bowl runner-ups to 7-9 and out of the playoffs.
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