February 04, 2013

Article at SportsNewsFirst

Ravens beat 49ers in dramatic Super Bowl

THE San Francisco 49ers came out firing following a 35-minute power outage to hit back from a 22-point deficit to get within two but the Baltimore Ravens held on in a thriller to win Super Bowl XLVII 34-31.

Baltimore won its second Super Bowl and first since it was victorious in 2001 with a 34-7 win over New York Giants but it was a day full of drama with a 35-minute power outage delay, record-breaking punt return and a thrilling finish.

The Baltimore dominated the first half of the NFL's showcase event at New Orleans' Mercedes Benz Superdome and led 21-6 at the main break.

Following Beyonce's half-time show, the Ravens then looked to go a long way to securing their second Super Bowl victory when Jacoby Jones returned the opening punt kick to restart the contest.

His 108-yard run was the biggest punt return in NFL history as he had little trouble weaving through the 49ers' defence to cruise into the end zone and put Baltimore up 28-6.

However, shortly after that half the lights went out in the stadium and plenty of other power sources inside the building. It took quite some time for them to identify the problem and then for the power to get back up and running.

All in all, it was a 35-minute delay before play restarted and it certainly angered Baltimore coach John Harbaugh and even more so when the game resumed and took a dramatic turn in favour of the 49ers.

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick struggled in the first half, but started to pick up his game during the third quarter and that started on a seven-play, 80-yard possession that ended with a 31-yard pass to Michael Crabtree for the 49ers' first touchdown of the game.

The 49ers had picked up some momentum and then finished off the third quarter closing the gap further with a Frank Gore run that ended with a touchdown. David Akers' kick again was good and then he nailed a field goal to bring San Francisco within five at three quarter-time.

Baltimore steadied somewhat with a field goal to start the final quarter to lead 31-23, but the 49ers were far from done with yet.

Kaepernick couldn’t find a pass after five plays, but decided to run instead rather than throw a Hail Mary and it proved a masterstroke as he ran for 15 yards to score the touchdown to bring the deficit to just two.

Justin Tucker nailed another field goal to see the Ravens somewhat steady at 34-29 and the score remained there despite a no call on a San Francisco play with just under two minutes remaining.

Niners' coach Jim Harbaugh was distraught that a call wasn’t made when he felt Crabtree was held back from chasing down a potential touchdown pass from Kaepernick.

With time running down, the Ravens elected to take a safety giving San Francisco two points but with just four seconds left on the clock. Baltimore then punted from the restart and try as they might the 49ers had no luck on a miracle run attempt with the Ravens taking out the NFL championship.

Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco was outstanding and named Super Bowl MVP after throwing 287 yards with a 22-of-33 conversion rating and for three touchdowns.

Flacco dedicated the win afterwards to the city of Baltimore.

"It's unbelievable. We don’t make it easy, but that's the way the city of Baltimore is and that's the way we are," Flacco said.

"We did this for them back home. We had a great send off and we can't wait to get back there for the parade now."

Ravens winning coach John Harbaugh was emotional about the victory afterwards and going up against his brother Jim.

"We talk to our guys all the time about how it's never pretty, it's never perfect but it is us. That was us today just the way we do it," Harbaugh said.

"It was really hard (coaching against his brother). At the end of the game it was the hardest thing I've ever experienced and I just told him that I loved him. He said congratulations."

Retiring Ravens star Ray Lewis couldn’t have scripted a better way to bow out of the NFL after 229 matches in 17 seasons.

"It's simple – when god is for you who can bet against you. There's no greater way as a champ to go out on your last ride with the men that I went out with," Lewis said.

"When you believe in what you believe in no matter what happens or what people believe, the ultimate is the ultimate. This is the ultimate to come and leave the game as a champion.

"I walked into the game as a young pup at 17 years old and I leave the game as a full grown man and a two-time world champion."