NFL Game Summary - Baltimore vs. San Francisco|
(Sunday, February 3rd)
Final Score: Baltimore 34, San Francisco 31
New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Joe Flacco unequivocally proved he belongs
with the NFL's elite quarterbacks, while John Harbaugh showed that big
brother indeed knows best.
And for Ray Lewis, it was the ultimate ending to an absolutely illustrious
Flacco delivered a lights-out performance -- both literally and figuratively
-- at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and the Baltimore Ravens warded off a
furious comeback attempt by the San Francisco 49ers to hold on for a 34-31
victory in a thrill-packed Super Bowl XLVII that every bit lived up to its
With nearly all of the two-week pregame buildup focused around either Lewis --
due to the iconic linebacker and team leader's retirement announcement prior
to the playoffs as well as a recent Sports Illustrated story stating he used a
banned deer antler spray to help recover from a midseason triceps injury -- or
the unprecedented head-to-head clash of Harbaugh and his sibling Jim on
football's biggest stage, it was Flacco's rising star that shone the
The ultra-composed Baltimore field general threw three touchdown passes to
stake his team to a 21-6 halftime lead it very nearly gave away, and finished
with 287 yards and no turnovers on a crisp 22-of-33 passing to earn Most
Valuable Player honors, a place among the sport's upper echelon at the
position -- and almost certainly a massive new contract as an impending free
Flacco concluded a superb four-game playoff run with 11 touchdown passes,
tying Joe Montana (1998) and Kurt Warner (2008) for the most in a single
postseason, and zero interceptions as the driving force behind the Ravens
capturing their second Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.
He had help in this one, however. Anquan Boldin hauled in one of Flacco's
scoring strikes while amassing 104 yards on six catches, with Jacoby Jones
adding a Super Bowl-record 108-yard kickoff return score of the second-half
kickoff in addition to hauling in a 56-yard touchdown pass shortly before
Baltimore's first world title since 2000 didn't come easy, though. Sparked by
a terrific second-half performance by young quarterback Colin Kaepernick
and an extended break caused by a mysterious 34-minute power outage
early in the third quarter, a valiant San Francisco squad cut a 28-6
deficit down to two after Kaepernick's 15-yard touchdown run with just under
10 minutes left to play pulled the Niners within 31-29.
Inspired by both Lewis' swan song and the game's obvious magnitude, the
Baltimore defense rose to the occasion down the stretch. The Ravens
thwarted a potential tying two-point conversion attempt following Kaepernick's
touchdown, then later came up with a pivotal late stop after San Francisco got
down to the 5-yard line in the final moments.
"How else can you finish that off but with a goal line stand," an elated Lewis
said after the game. "How else can you finish a Super Bowl off when your
coordinator trusts you the way he trusts us? And we finished that off. We kept
them out of the end zone on the 2-yard line. That's championship football."
Kaepernick overcame a slow start to throw for 302 yards and a touchdown to
Michael Crabtree while completing 16-of-28 passes with an interception. Both
Crabtree and Vernon Davis eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark for the Niners,
who outgained Baltimore by a 468-367 margin in total offense, while Frank Gore
added 110 rushing yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.
Crabtree compiled 109 yards on five catches and Davis had six grabs totaling
104 yards for San Francisco, which suffered its first-ever Super Bowl loss and
came up just short in its goal to match the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most
wins (6) in the Big Game.
"We want to handle this with class and grace," said a noticeably frustrated
Jim Harbaugh afterward. "Had several opportunities in the game. Didn't play
our best game. Our guys battled back to get back in. We competed and battled
The popularly titled "HarBowl" came to reality after the up-and-coming 49ers
fought out of an 17-0 first-half hole to best Atlanta in the NFC Championship,
and had a similarly shaky beginning against the more-experienced Ravens during
the beginning stages of this game as well.
San Francisco displayed some initial nerves by committing two early penalties
that helped Baltimore jump out to a quick lead it would build sizeably upon
An illegal formation infraction wiped out a 20-yard connection from Kaepernick
to Davis on the first play from scrimmage, with San Francisco ultimately going
three-and-out on its debut drive and the Ravens starting near midfield
following a 17-yard punt return by Jones.
The Niners appeared to have held Baltimore to a field goal try on the ensuing
possession after Flacco's third-down pass missed the mark, but San Francisco
linebacker Ahmad Brooks was ruled offside on a blitz attempt to give the
Ravens another chance.
Flacco and Boldin made the most of the opportunity, with the latter getting
behind San Francisco's zone and hauling in a dart from the Baltimore signal-
caller for a 13-yard touchdown less than 4 1/2 minutes into the contest.
Flacco went 3-of-4 for 41 yards on the series, including a 20-yard delivery
to Torrey Smith that placed the Ravens in the red zone.
San Francisco would have a response on its next touch, however, marching 62
yards in 12 plays to get into scoring range. The highlight of the sequence, a
24-yard catch by Davis, produced a 1st-and-goal at the Baltimore eight.
Kaepernick missed an open Crabtree for a would-be touchdown on second down,
however, and the Niners were forced to settle for a David Akers 36-yard field
goal after Baltimore's Paul Kruger sacked Kaepernick for a 10-yard loss on the
The Ravens defense would come up with two more big plays before the half came
to an end, enabling the AFC champs to further extend their margin.
Courtney Upshaw stripped running back LaMichael James at the Baltimore 25 to
thwart a potential scoring chance on San Francisco's next drive, and Flacco
flawlessly executed a 10-play, 75-yard jaunt that again culminated in a
The poised quarterback had a pair of key completions to tight end Ed Dickson,
the first resulting in a 23-yard gain and the other putting the ball at the
San Francisco four after a 15-yard face mask penalty on the 49ers' Donte
Two plays later, Flacco fired a 1-yard bullet to Dennis Pitta to give the
Ravens a 14-3 advantage just past the midway mark of the second quarter.
Ed Reed intercepted Kaepernick at the San Francisco 38 on the 49ers' next
offensive snap, but the Ravens would came away empty when kicker Justin Tucker
was stopped just short of the first-down marker on a fake field goal attempt
that the 49ers successfully snuffed out.
San Francisco failed to get a first down on the change of possession, however,
giving Baltimore the ball back with a little over two minutes -- plenty of
time for Flacco to strike once more.
Faced with a 3rd-and-10 on his own 44, the fifth-year triggerman heaved a deep
pass to a wide-open Jones, who made a diving catch at the nine-yard line
before rising to his feet and eluding Niners cornerback Chris Culliver for a
56-yard score and a 21-3 Ravens' lead with 1:45 to go before intermission.
San Francisco was able to head into the locker room on a positive note,
however, after Kaepernick led an eight-play, 71-yard spree that ended in
Akers' 27-yard field goal as time expired. The kick was set up by a 28-yard
completion to Delanie Walker to the Ravens' 17 with under a minute left.
The momentum would be short-lived, though. Jones fielded the opening kickoff
deep in his own end zone, burst through a seam across the middle of the field
and outraced San Francisco's coverage unit for the longest kick return score
in Super Bowl history, easily outdistancing a 99-yard runback by Green Bay's
Desmond Howard at the Superdome in Super Bowl XXXI.
Still, the 28-6 score wasn't enough to pull the plug, so to speak, on San
The extensive delay caused by a power overload that blacked out half of the
Superdome seats shortly after Jones' touchdown seemed to reenergize the 49ers
while simultaneously deflating Baltimore, with San Francisco scoring on three
consecutive offensive trips over a span of four-plus minutes to get back into
Kaepernick heated up as play resumed, orchestrating a 7-play, 80-yard march
capped by an over-the-middle strike to Crabtree in which the physical wideout
shook off a tackle en route to a 31-yard touchdown that began the 49ers' rally
midway through the third quarter.
"I thought they (the 49ers) dealt with it better obviously," said John
Harbaugh of the stoppage. "They were able to turn the momentum of the game."
A refreshed San Francisco defense induced a quick three-and-out on the ensuing
series, and Ted Ginn Jr. took the resulting punt 32 yards before being pushed
out of bounds at the Ravens' 20.
After a 14-yard catch by Davis that put him over the 100-yard mark, Gore
followed a crushing block by Walker into the end zone for a 6-yard score that
suddenly pulled the 49ers within 28-20 just past the five-minute stage of the
The differential dwindled further less than two minutes later. Niners
cornerback Tarell Brown jarred the ball loose from Ray Rice on a short pass
and recovered the fumble at the Ravens' 24, with the miscue converted into a
second-chance 34-yard field goal from Akers that made it a five-point game.
The struggling kicker pulled his original 39-yard attempt wide left, but got a
reprieve when Baltimore's Chykie Brown was flagged for running into the
Baltimore's slumping offense finally got something going on its next series,
with Flacco hitting Boldin for a 30-yard gain on third down and the Ravens
eventually obtaining a 1st-and-goal at the San Francisco five. Rice was
stuffed twice near the goal line, however, and a Flacco incompletion under
heavy duress caused Tucker to come on for a 19-yard field goal that put
Baltimore up 31-23 with 12:54 left to play.
An unfazed Kaepernick promptly moved the 49ers 76 yards in just five plays,
with the impressive youngster dropping in a 32-yard deep ball to Randy Moss
that preceded Gore's 21-yard run to the Ravens' 18.
Two snaps later, Kaepernick broke containment on a scramble and outsprinted
the Baltimore defense for a 15-yard touchdown that cut the lead to 31-29 with
9:57 remaining. A potential game-tying two-point conversion try was no good,
though, when he overthrew Moss in the end zone.
The failed attempt would loom large after Flacco came through one final time,
getting a critical assist from Boldin along the way.
The veteran wide receiver came up with an acrobatic 15-yard grab on 3rd-and-1
for a crucial moving of the chains, and Rice ripped off a 12-yard run on the
subsequent snap to the 49ers' 28, setting the stage for Tucker's 38-yard field
goal that pushed Baltimore's edge to five.
Now needing a touchdown to move ahead instead of a field goal to tie, San
Francisco continued to move the ball without much resistance. Kaepernick hit
Crabtree across the middle for 24 yards to cross midfield, and Gore got loose
for a 33-yard run off left tackle before finally being tackled at the Ravens'
seven with the two-minute warning looming.
As it turned out, that would be the last big play the Niners had left.
James mustered just two yards on first down and Kaepernick twice couldn't
connect with a tightly covered Crabtree to bring on fourth down with 1:50 to
"We had to stay poised," said Ravens defensive lineman Arthur Jones. "All
these guys here, we are here for a reason. We are here to win. This is the end
of the Ray Lewis chapter and we wanted to end it right for him."
Kaepernick again looked for a double-covered -- and possibly contacted --
Crabtree after taking a shotgun snap, but his fade pass landed harmlessly out
of bounds and Baltimore took over on downs with 1:46 on the final clock.
"There's no question in my mind that there was a pass interference [on one of
the earlier incompletions] and then a hold on Crabtree on the last one," said
Though the Ravens couldn't quite run out the remaining time, they were able to
leave San Francisco with little operating room after a smart decision by John
Harbaugh and punter Sam Koch, who successfully took off a few precious seconds
before running out of the end zone for a safety.
Baltimore kicked it away with just four seconds showing, with Ginn taking
Koch's boot at his own 19 and getting only to midfield before being brought
down as time ran out.
"We don't make anything easy," Flacco remarked. "It was a hard fought game on
both sides. I think we gave the country a pretty good game to watch. Not to
our liking necessarily, but that's the way it goes sometimes and that's the
way we do things."
Jacoby Jones' kickoff return touchdown was the ninth in Super Bowl history and
first since Chicago's Devin Hester had a 92-yard runback against Indianapolis
in Super Bowl XLI. It's the second such score by a Raven, with Jermaine Lewis
recording an 84-yard return in Super Bowl XXXV ... Baltimore became the second
straight No. 4 seed from its conference to capture the Lombardi Trophy, with
the New York Giants accomplishing the feat out of the NFC last season ... John
Harbaugh also prevailed in the only other head-to-head meeting between the
brothers, a 16-6 Ravens' victory in Baltimore on Thanksgiving of 2011, and now
has nine postseason wins -- surpassing Tom Flores for the most of any head
coach in his first five seasons ... Kaepernick became the fourth quarterback
to start a Super Bowl in the same season of his first career start, joining
Vince Ferragamo (Rams, Super Bowl XIV), Kurt Warner (Rams, XXIV) and Tom Brady
(Patriots, XXXVI) ... New Orleans was hosting the 10th Super Bowl in the
city's history, tied with South Florida for the most by any locale. Seven have
been held at the Superdome, though it was the first since the Gulf Coast was
struck by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 ... Ravens Pro Bowl defensive tackle
Haloti Ngata left the contest after spraining his knee on Gore's third-quarter
touchdown ... The NFC had won the last three Super Bowls and still holds a
25-22 overall edge in the game's history.
02/04 00:28:18 ET