Super Bowl 2013: Biggest Disappointments from 49ers' Crushing Defeat

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Super Bowl 2013: Biggest Disappointments from 49ers' Crushing Defeat
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

For the San Francisco 49ers, it was a matter of "so close yet so far" as the Baltimore Ravens won the 2013 Super Bowl by a score of 34-31 on Sunday night.

Despite trailing 28-6 just after halftime, the NFC champions rallied their way back into the match behind some strong defense and quick ball movement, and found themselves with a chance to tie the game at 31-31 in the fourth quarter.

However, they would fail and the 31-29 scoreline at the time would be as close as they would get to their opponents for the remainder of the match—leaving Jim Harbaugh's side with their first Super Bowl defeat in history.

Baltimore were very good early and proved to be clinical on both offense and defense, but this was not the greatest performance from the 49ers. They struggled to keep pace early and allowed a handful of big plays to cost them big time, something that they'll no doubt still be reliving in their heads.

Several players in particular were disappointing in their crushing defeat, and can be held somewhat responsible for their loss in New Orleans. Read on to see the biggest disappointments for San Francisco from their Super Bowl defeat.

 

Al Bello/Getty Images

Chris Culliver

Chris Culliver had some big words prior to the start of Super Bowl 2013, but that was about as big as he got throughout the whole weekend.

The San Francisco 49ers cornerback turned in an absolute shocker of a performance when his team needed him most—giving up several big plays that he should have stopped—and leaving the offense with simply too much to do to come back.

Culliver was beaten on a Joe Flacco scrambling throw to Anquan Boldin, but his worst moment was still to come when Flacco found Jacoby Jones deep.

Jones had run right by Culliver to make the deep catch, but the 49ers defender then failed to get a hand on him when he was on the ground—allowing Jones to get up and run. He then beat Culliver in a foot race to the line, just to rub it in.

Definitely a performance that Culliver will want to forget here. Actually, make that an entire weekend he'd rather had never happened the way it did.

 

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Aldon Smith

Aldon Smith finished the regular season as the third-best outside linebacker in the league, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), just behind Anthony Spencer and Clay Matthews for the year.

Yet in Super Bowl XLVII, he was nowhere near the dominant pass rusher and defensive beast that San Francisco truly needed him to be in order to win.

He was largely ineffective against the Ravens' offensive line, which seems harsh given he finished the game with one of the three sacks Joe Flacco received. But given that he also led the team in missed tackles and made just one solo tackle on the night, Smith really wasn't that great here and was a major disappointment for the 49ers.

 

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Jim Harbaugh

Perhaps the biggest disappointment on the night was coach Jim Harbaugh, who made some terrible decisions throughout the Super Bowl.

The coach signed off on four terrible plays when the Niners had a chance to win it all, and his team suffered defeat because of that.

After running a Frank Gore-esque play that didn't work because, well, it wasn't Frank Gore running the football, Colin Kaepernick tried to hit Michael Crabtree three times in the end zone—all of which failed unsurprisingly given the lack of creativity.

Not once was Kaepernick's dual-threat ability utilized; not once did he try something other than hitting his main man, who the Ravens knew was likely to get the ball.

The Ravens were bringing pressure and not once did Harbuagh turn to Gore—not once was he even considered either. 

Perhaps the worst part for Harbaugh came on that pass.

You know, the one that he went absolutely ballistic at the referees for. When in reality, he should never have tried to call the play in the first place.

Kaepernick hadn't hit a throw like that all game. He is the most dynamic dual-threat quarterback in the game yet nothing was done to stop the blitzing Baltimore Ravens from getting to him or to use the biggest strengths of his game.

The quarterback isn't Tom Brady—he isn't going to land a back-shoulder throw 100 times out of 100. Harbaugh should have known that and he shouldn't have called the play that ultimately cost San Francisco its chance to win the Super Bowl.

And then he went on a post-match tirade that simply screamed of a little kid throwing a tantrum because he didn't get what he wanted.

Harbaugh was closer to an embarrassment than a disappointment here, and was a huge reason behind the Niners' crushing Super Bowl defeat.

 

Who were the biggest disappointments from the Super Bowl?

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