Baltimore’s thrilling 34-31 victory over San Francisco in Super Bowl XLVII wasn’t a close game until the second half.
San Francisco did come back and nearly steal the game from Baltimore, but there were several key moments early in the game that cost the Niners the title.
In the first quarter, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick led a drive that moved the team to the Baltimore 8-yard line. But after a Frank Gore run for no gain and an incomplete pass, San Francisco faced a third-and-8.
Ravens lineman Paul Kruger sacked Kaepernick for a 10-yard loss, and the 49ers were forced to settle for a field goal, squandering a prime red-zone opportunity.
Things really unraveled for San Francisco in the second quarter. Once again, the team squandered a prime chance to put points on the board against the vaunted Baltimore defense after a long drive. The 49ers marched to the Ravens' 24-yard line following a series of strong plays highlighted by a 29-yard pass from Kaepernick to tight end Vernon Davis.
But on first-and-10, running back LaMichael James fumbled the ball. Ravens defensive end Arthur Jones recovered the rock, and the 49ers wasted a golden opportunity to take the lead early in the game.
But it wasn’t just miscues from San Francisco’s offense that cost the team the game. Ravens signal-caller Joe Flacco earned his Super Bowl MVP trophy, and that was evidenced on a deep pass to Jacoby Jones. The Ravens receiver hauled in the catch for a 56-yard touchdown, putting Baltimore ahead 21-3 following kicker Justin Tucker’s converted extra point.
Jacoby Jones remained a headache for the 49ers all night. He opened up the second half with a Super Bowl-record 108-yard kick return for a touchdown, putting the Ravens up 28-6.
The return was truly backbreaking for the 49ers, as the team was forced to play catch-up for the remainder of the game.
But following the power outage, San Francisco came surging back, putting 17 points on the board in the third quarter and drawing within 34-29 with just over four minutes left on the scoreboard.
Once again, Kaepernick led a drive down to the Baltimore 7-yard line, but squandered four downs and an opportunity to take the lead late against the Ravens. The San Francisco gunslinger threw three incomplete passes deep in the red zone.
Baltimore played an efficient game, but San Francisco missed several easy opportunities to make the Ravens pay.
In the end, San Francisco cost itself a Super Bowl title in the Big Easy as much as Baltimore earned it.
All statistics are gathered from ESPN.