Colin Kaepernick, his many weapons at receiver and Frank Gore repeatedly propelled the offense down the field in the second half. A resurgent defense also kept the Ravens from matching a sudden outburst from the 49ers’ offense. Where at one point they were down an incredible 22 points, the scoreboard now showed that San Fran was down just two points.
Kaepernick passed for more than 300 yards and ran for another 62, with a combined two touchdowns to one interception. Frank Gore ran for 110 yards on 19 attempts and added a touchdown early in the second half.
Even with those impressive stats, the 49ers found themselves behind Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens the entire contest.
But with 4:19 left to play, San Francisco had a chance to bring home the Lombardi Trophy on one final drive.
Kaepernick threw a bullet pass down the middle of the field to an open Randy Moss, and then Frank Gore led the 49ers to the Baltimore 7-yard line with under two-and-a-half minutes to play. The call on first and goal was another Gore run, and he took it down to the Baltimore 5.
Two minutes to go. Second and goal. Down by five points. The circumstances were built for champions to emerge and for heroes to be named.
A pass on second down. Batted down.
Was the no-hold a good call?
Third down saw Kaepernick scramble to his right, but force another incomplete pass.
Fourth and goal from the 5.
49ers fans are holding their breath. Prayers from California are at an all-time high. And the offense seems to be moving in slow motion for that last snap.
Finally, the ball enters the hands of the young star quarterback. In comes Ravens’ Dannell Ellerbe on a straight route to him, unblocked by an overwhelmed San Francisco offensive line.
Kaepernick has to get rid of it quickly. Too quickly.
The football sails into the right corner of the end zone, aimed for a desperate Michael Crabtree.
He was held. Blatantly held by the Ravens cornerback, Jimmy Smith. Crabtree never had a chance at the football as his arms were obviously pulled away from the game-changing pass.
Baltimore fans can be as happy as they wish, but the point of the matter is that San Francisco should have won the Super Bowl.
Or at least been given the chance to.