We expected a defensive battle in tonight’s Harbaugh Bowl, and that's exactly what we witnessed.
In a game that featured just 467 yards of total offense, field goals and big hits were bountiful. The 49ers failed to score a touchdown on the night, as Baltimore's defense showed why they are clearly among the top three units in the NFL.
The Ravens tied their franchise record with nine sacks, and they were in 49ers' QB Alex Smith’s face nearly every time he dropped back to pass. The team even lined up in a few 3-TE sets to help protect their QB, but it didn't matter.
And his numbers reflected the pressure he faced, as he completed 15-of-24 passes for only 140 yards (one interception).
We expected a heavy dose of RBs Ray Rice (21 carries, 59 yards) and Frank Gore (14 carries, 39 yards), but neither were the difference-makers in tonight's game. The elite running backs were kept in check by the stout, physical defensive fronts.
This game was won and lost in the trenches.
The key drive was enabled by a couple of missed tackles by the 49ers, and occurred midway through the fourth quarter when the game was tied, 6-6. Flacco made a few of key third-down completions and capped the 76-yard, 16-play drive off by hitting TE Dennis Pitta in the end zone for a 8-yard strike.
It was Pitta's first touchdown catch of his career—and a big one—the only touchdown of the game.
Tonight we witnessed an old-fashioned, smash-mouth-football affair.The Ravens defense completely dominated—holding the 49ers to just 170 net yards—and led the way to a 10-point victory in front of the home crowd.
John (Harbaugh) has won this round.