The Biggest Game-Changing Plays of the Super Bowl

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2013

The Biggest Game-Changing Plays of the Super Bowl

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    The Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII to bring home the Lombardi trophy thanks to some big plays throughout the course of the game. 

    The Super Bowl featured the two best teams the NFL had to offer. Whichever team capitalized on their chances at game-changing plays was sure to walk home the victory—that is exactly what the Ravens did. 

    Both teams were given many shots at big plays, but it was the experienced Ravens roster that came through in the end. The 49ers simply missed out on some big plays and it cost their team the game. 

    In the following slideshow we will narrow down one of the more exciting Super Bowls in recent memory by identifying the biggest game-changing plays and how they impacted the outcome of the game. 

    Let's take a look. 

7. 49ers' Costly Penalty Allows the Ravens to Take the Lead Early

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    The San Francisco 49ers had held the Baltimore Ravens to just a field goal early in the first quarter. It was a stop that could have altered the game dramatically in San Francisco's favor. 

    Except, one of the 49ers' defenders had jumped off sides. 

    Baltimore made the most of the mistake. Quarterback Joe Flacco found receiver Anquan Boldin for a 13-yard touchdown connection that gave the Ravens a 7-0 lead. 

    It was a lead the 49ers were never able to recover from. 

6. LaMichael James Fumbles the Game Away Early

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    San Francisco 49ers rookie running back LaMichael James fumbled the football early in the second quarter with his team down only 7-3. 

    The 49ers had been driving and looked as if they were about to punch into the end zone for a score to take the lead. 

    Instead, James fumbled. The Baltimore Ravens recovered the fumble and drove down the field to score another touchdown, giving them a 14-3 lead. 

    James' fumble ended up being huge, as the 49ers only lost by three points. The 49ers would have taken the lead, but instead found themselves in a bigger hole to crawl out of the rest of the way. 

5. Colin Kaepernick Throws a Bad Interception in the Second Quarter

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    The San Francisco 49ers had just fumbled the ball away and given up another touchdown in the second quarter when things went from bad to worse. 

    49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick attempted to drive his team down the field in a comeback bid, but fell short. He threw a horrible pass that was intercepted by Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed

    The Ravens would not go on to score, rather they would fail to convert on a fake field goal attempt. The interception is still a prime example of what went wrong for the 49ers all night long—costly mistakes and failure to efficiently use the time the offense had possession. 

    It did not put more points on the board, but the interception prevented the 49ers from going down and making it a closer game. 

4. Ray Rice Fumbles Away the Momentum

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    The Baltimore Ravens were clinging to a 28-13 after having lost all momentum thanks to a stadium blackout that lasted over 30 minutes. 

    Running back Ray Rice did not help matters, as he put the ball on the turf on a routine play

    The San Francisco 49ers were quick to jump on the ball and turn things back over to their offense. 49ers running back Frank Gore made short work of the Baltimore defense, scoring from six yards out to bring the score to 28-20. 

    Rice was bailed out by his team ultimately winning the game, but his foolish turnover with his team in front could have been a much more deadly error. 

3. Colin Kaepernick Makes It a Game Late with a 15-Yard Touchdown Run

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    The San Francisco 49ers were down 31-23 in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl when Colin Kaepernick elected to take the ball into the end zone himself. 

    Kaepernick scampered in for the score from 15 yards out and brought the 49ers to within just two points. 

    On the very next play, Kaepernick would miss fire on a two-point conversion attempt, and his team would ultimately end up losing a game that should never have been close. 

    Credit still has to be given to Kaepernick, who rallied his team from a large deficit on the biggest stage of them all and almost completing the comeback. 

2. Justin Tucker Kicks a 38-Yard Field Goal to Give the Ravens the Win

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    Baltimore Ravens rookie kicker Justin Kicker held strong and came through on the biggest stage of them all.

    Tucker kicked a 38-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter to extend the Baltimore lead. He had been consistent all night, but the late field goal was his crowning moment. 

    It is a tall task for any NFL kicker to perform well under the immense pressure of the Super Bowl, but Tucker did it with ease, despite being a rookie. 

1. Jacoby Jones Returns a Kickoff for a Touchdown

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    The Baltimore Ravens were already starting the second half of the Super Bowl with a 21-6 lead, but that was not good enough for receiver Jacoby Jones. 

    Jones returned the opening kickoff of the second half 108 yards for a touchdown to give the Ravens a 28-6 lead. 

    The San Francisco 49ers would eventually come roaring back later in the game, but the return by Jones made it impossible for the Ravens to give up the lead. 

    Jones, thanks to his two touchdowns, was a likely candidate for MVP if quarterback Joe Flacco had not played so well. His kickoff return was a shocking turn of events that cemented the Ravens as Super Bowl champions.