The San Francisco 49ers reached the playoffs having a regular season record of 11-4-1, reached the Super Bowl skipping the Wild Card round and defeating the Green Bay Packers 45-31 in the Divisional round and the Atlanta Falcons 28-24 in the Championship round. They won their last Super Bowl in the 1994-1995 season (Super Bowl XXIX) so now the team is completely different.
The Baltimore Ravens reached the playoffs having a regular season record of 10-6, reached the Super Bowl defeating the Indianapolis Colts 24-9 in the Wild Card round, the Devenr Broncos 38-35 in the Divisional round and the New England Patriots 28-13 in the Championship round. They won their first Super Bowl in the 2000-2001 season (Super Bowl XXXV) and the MVP was Ray Lewis, who announced his retirement after Super Bowl XLVII.
The San Francisco 49ers have the first offensive drive but, also because of a penalty, they are forced to a punt. The Baltimore Ravens take advantage of that and in just over two minutes they score the first touchdown on a pass from Joe Flacco to Anquan Boldin to take a 7-0 lead. In their second offensive drive, the 49ers do better coming to the red zone but can only score a field goal limiting the gap to 7-3.
At the start of the second quarter, the Baltimore Ravens are forced to the punt but the San Francisco 49ers can’t take advantage of it because after a couple of minutes they turn over the football with a fumble. In less than 5 minutes the Ravens score another touchdown with a short pass from Joe Flacco to Dennis Pitta for a 14-3 lead after the conversion. For the 49ers, things get even worse when Colin Kaepernick throws a bad pass that’s intercepted. The Ravens, however, this time can only try a field goal but it’s a trick play to attempt to run for the first down that fails returning the football to the 49ers on their 14 yard line. The Niners, however, fail to advance and are forced to the punt. Joe Flacco tries to advance the ball with passes and after two incompletes he finds the big play for Jacoby Jones, who falls down during the reception but isn’t touched so he can get up and, taking advantage of the fact that his opponent’s defenders are caught out of balance, finds a second effort to score a touchdown with a reception for a total of 56 yards which after the conversion bring the score to 21-3. The 49ers have the time to get into field goal range for the first time ending the first half trailing 21-6.
The second half begins with the kick off return to touchdown by Jacoby Jones for a total of 108 yards, a Super Bowl record, which gives the Baltimore Ravens a 28-6 lead. The San Francisco 49ers can barely start their offensive drive when the unexpected happens: due to a partial blackout part the lights and electronic devices in the Superdome go off. After about 36 minutes the game can resume but the teams are cold and the 49ers are soon forced to the punt. The Ravens, in particular, seem to have suffered a blackout too and fail to score again. The Niners take advantage of the situation and in their next offensive drive a touchdown with a pass from Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree after the conversion brings the score on 28-13. The Ravens are forced to punt again and Frank Gore immediately scores another touchdown with a rush for the 49ers that after the conversion brings the score on 28-20. The Ravens lose the ball due to a fumble by Ray Rice but this time the Niners take advantage of that only partially scoring a field goal from 34 yards. The kicker missed one from 39 yards but he was able to try a closer one thanks to a penalty bringing the score on 28-23. It seemed that this could become an easy Super Bowl victory for the Ravens but at the end of the third quarter it’s an open game.
In the fourth quarter the Baltimore Ravens eventually do something with their offense, scoring a field goal extending their lead to 31-23. However, the San Francisco 49ers answer scoring another touchdown in less than three minutes with a direct rush by Kaepernick. They attempt a two points conversion to tie the score but fail and the score is 31-29. The Ravens’s offense is back at least to a decent level and in little more than five minutes they can score another field goal, bringing their lead to 34-29. The 49ers need to score a touchdown to win Super Bowl XLVII but they’re unsuccessful and the ball goes back to the Ravens. There are now less than two minutes left on the game clock but the Ravens can’t reach the first down. They’re forced to punt but the punter in the end zone doesn’t kicksand simply wastes precious seconds until he’s thrown out of the boundaries for a safety clearly voluntary that brings the score on 34-31. The Ravens can proceed with a free kick from a better position, the return is blocked and the Super Bowl XVII ends with the victory of the Baltimore Ravens with Joe Flacco (photo ©Keith Allison) named MVP.
The Super Bowl with the brothers Jim and John Harbaugh as head coaches of the two teams almost became boring in the second half, instead it became even more spectacular and exciting after the blackout. The San Francisco 49ers lost it but in recent years have returned to the NFL elite and they’ll definitely try to come back to win the Super Bowl. Ray Lewis ends his legendary career winning his second NFL title. He played the playoffs with a visible protection to the arm that was injured but in no way he could’ve not played. We’ll see what the Baltimore Ravens defense will do without him, in the meantime the team can enjoy their Super Bowl win.