Ravens Stave off Power Outage, 49ers to Win Super Bowl XLVII

New Orleans’ eleven-year draught of hosting the biggest sporting event of the year certainly did not disappoint. In a game that was not lacking in storylines, Super Bowl XLVII captivated millions in one of the most memorable contests in recent memory. The aptly named “Harbowl” storyline enthralled fans of the 49ers and Ravens, while still others will remember the mysterious power failure that the NFL is still avoiding discussing. 49er’s fans stood by and listened to reporters criticize Colin Kaepernick and his tattoos, while Raven’s fans offered up any ritual they felt would allow Ray Lewis to ride off on his white horse of victory in his final game. The children of Sandy Hook Elementary, who suffered a fatal school shooting, were in attendance to sing “America, the Beautiful.”

After some of the initial chatter eventually died down, the Big Game began to come to the forefront of discussion. The Baltimore Ravens, who defeated the Niners 34-31, seemed to be a team of destiny. Through both key injuries on the opposite side of the ball, to the head-scratching blown coverage at Mile High Stadium, Baltimore certainly defied the odds and silenced all of the doubters.

Joe Flacco, who was named the game’s MVP, tied a post-season record by throwing 11 TD’s to 0 interceptions against solid defensive units in Denver and New England. Sunday, Flacco continued to improve on a stellar post-season by capping off a winning season with over 275 yards passing and three first-half TDs.

Though Flacco will go down as the MVP of Super Bowl XLVII, leading his team to a 34-31 victory over the 49ers, he was not alone in leading the Ravens through a tough stretch of post-season games.

Another major contributor for Baltimore was their free agent acquisition, Jacoby Jones. Jones, who set a Super Bowl record with a 108-yard kickoff return for a TD, was also the recipient of the Hail Mary to tie the Broncos in the AFC Divisional game. Jones ran back the initial kickoff of the third quarter to add to the Ravens lead, 28-6.

Anquan Boldin simply put came to play. Boldin, who has become Joe Flacco’s favorite target, finished his day with over 100 yards and a score. Jones, Pitta, and Dickson also came up with a number of clutch receptions for the Baltimore offense.

Then, divine intervention came to the 49ers aid as half of the Super Dome lighting went out causing a 34-minute delay. Social media was set ablaze claiming that Beyoncé’s electric half-time show caused the power failure. Other still stated that New Orleans was turning the lights out on San Francisco, seemingly ending their misery. Though the NFL has not officially stated what caused the extended game delay, the 49ers were certainly the beneficiaries of the power failure.

San Francisco was able to re-group after the Ravens stole all the momentum en route to a 17-0 scoring run. Kaepernick hit Michael Crabtree on a 31-yard pass to kick off the scoring run. Immediately after scoring, the 49ers were able to capitalize on a fumble from the usually sure-handed Ray Rice. David Akers, who faced media backlash of his own, finished the game a perfect 3-3 despite aggravating a previous injury. The final score of the run came on a Colin Kaepernick run, which set a record for longest rushing TD by a QB in the Super Bowl.

The rookie QB was a two-point conversion shy of tying the score at 31-31. Despite almost coming back from the largest deficit in Super Bowl history (10 points), San Francisco suffered its first defeat in six trips to the Big Game. It was also the first contest in which a Niner QB threw an interception, which broke a streak of over 170 consecutive passes without said turnover.

Despite major contributions from Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, the Raven’s defense had all the answer to shut down the potent option offense. Frank Gore’s early struggle to find running room really limited the Niner offense early. Gore did eventually find the end zone on a nice outside run, but his ineffectiveness affected the amount of runs that opened up for the dynamic rookie QB.

Randy Moss, who anointed himself the “best receiver in the NFL,” was held to just two receptions for 40 yards. Moss was almost non-existent and did not inspire enough confidence in his abilities that would warrant a return to the Bay Area next year.

The chippiness of this heated showdown ended in disaster for head coach Jim Harbaugh, as Kaepernick’s last heave sailed long on a questionable play in which Crabtree may have been held by Ravens defensive back Jimmy Smith. Punter Sam Koch ran out of his own end zone to kill the clock and eventually take a safety to secure only the second ring for Baltimore in over a decade. For San Francisco, their 31 points was the highest by a losing team in any Super Bowl.

New Orleans sure knows how to host a party. Great food, great fans, and great atmosphere really heightened the Super Bowl experience; even at a time in which Mardi Gras is usually thriving. Though Colin Kaepernick did lose the biggest start of his young career, he has only made ten official starts and will continue to be a franchise QB for San Francisco for years to come. Alex Smith is almost certainly headed to a new team next year, and his free agency will become a headline to pay attention to in the near future.

For the opposition, Ray Lewis finishes out his career on top. Flacco may have finally silenced his critics who question his elite status among the top signal callers in the NFL. Ed Reed, widely regarded as the top safety alongside Troy Polamalu, may have also played his final game for Baltimore. Flacco’s contract and Reed’s status will also be hot-button topics to follow during the NFL Off-Season.

One thing is for certain, after watching confetti fall on only one of brothers, fathers, cousins, sons, or any other family relation, the next Harbaugh family gathering is certain to be a little more testy than usual.

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