Super Bowl XLVII was truly a game of halves. Baltimore came out firing and took an early lead. They kept that momentum going by blowing the 2013 Super Bowl wide open in the second quarter, taking a commanding 21-6 lead into halftime.
But they didn’t stop there, either.
A Super Bowl-record-tying 108-yard opening second-half kickoff return touchdown by Jacoby Jones put the team ahead by a 28-6 margin.
Everything seemed to be working against the San Francisco 49ers, until the power went out.
Colin Kaepernick was sacked on second down, forcing a 3rd-and-13 situation at his team’s own 40-yard line. A mysterious power outage knocked out lights for 30-plus minutes and the 49ers surged down to their final possession.
Let’s break down each quarter and look at who made plays, who didn’t and what transpired to get us to our final 34-31 Baltimore victory.
San Francisco started out hot as Kaepernick hit Vernon Davis on his first pass attempt for a big first-down gain. However, the play was nullified by two players being out of position, resulting in an illegal formation play. They punted three plays later.
Joe Flacco, on the other hand, took his team and drove them down the field on their first possession and scored a touchdown. He hit WR Anquan Boldin on a beautiful third-down pass for a 13-yard score. Flacco’s pass was pinpoint and perfectly thrown over the top of the linebacker and underneath the safety for the first points of the game.
Winners: Joe Flacco, Anquan Boldin
Losers: Colin Kaepernick
The second quarter was much of the same for the San Francisco 49ers. Despite being able to move the ball they couldn’t seem to get into the end zone. A late stop by the Ravens exposed their struggling red-zone offense and forced them to settle for a field goal right before halftime.
A fumble by San Francisco rookie running back LaMichael James in Baltimore territory didn’t help their efforts getting into the end zone, either.
Before that, though, Joe Flacco was under fire and escaped to heave another bomb to wide receiver Jacoby Jones. It wasn’t as clean as the 70-yard touchdown connection in the waning moments of the Ravens’ playoff win over Denver, but the end result was the same.
Jones burned defensive back Chris Culliver but had to come back for the throw because of the pressure on Flacco. He leaped and snagged it out of midair and two 49ers defenders whiffed on him as he came down with. Jones wasn’t touched in the process and sprang back up and outran the two befuddled defenders and strolled into the end zone.
Winners: Joe Flacco, Jacoby Jones, Ed Reed
Losers: Chris Culliver, LaMichael James
The third quarter is when things got interesting. Jones added to his already impressive performance by taking the opening kickoff 108 yards to put Baltimore in a commanding 28-6 lead. The Ravens were playing lights out and seemed like they would cruise to a Super Bowl victory.
But that’s when the actual lights went out.
After 34 minutes of partial darkness the game was resumed. San Francisco looked like the second halftime helped, as they burst back into the game.
Colin Kaepernick led two touchdown-scoring drives in the quarter, including a beautiful throw-and-catch to receiver Michael Crabtree.
In the process, Haloti Ngata left the game with a knee sprain after Frank Gore burst a touchdown run to close the gap to 28-20. On the play tight end Delanie Walker pulled from the left side of the line of scrimmage and sealed the edge on veteran safety Ed Reed in order to free up Gore to the end zone.
Ray Rice also fumbled in the quarter, helping give the 49ers new life.
Momentum, at this point, had definitely shifted back in San Francisco’s favor.
Winners: Colin Kaepernick, Jacoby Jones, Michael Crabtree
Losers: Fans, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, Ray Rice
The fourth and final quarter of Super Bowl XLVII was vintage Baltimore Ravens football. San Francisco was riding high and moving the ball seemingly at will. But that’s when the oft-criticized Ravens defense of this season stepped up when it mattered most and put the team on its shoulders.
Joe Flacco also played admirably down the stretch, positioning his team for a key field goal that ended up being the difference maker in the ball game.
But, as mentioned, it was the defense that truly shined. After bending all over the field in the second half, and playing without defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, the unit tightened up in the red zone and stifled the 49ers’ attempts to get into the end zone.
They prevented a two-point conversion attempt to keep a two-point cushion and then, with the game on the line, stomped out the hopes of their opponents with a game-winning goal-line stand.
Winners: Justin Tucker, Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens defense
Losers: Colin Kaepernick, Chris Culliver, Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers