It had been twelve long years since the Baltimore Ravens won their first Super Bowl title against the New York Giants, but the wait has finally come to an end as the Ravens withstood a San Francisco 49'ers comeback and held on for a 34-31 victory in Super Bowl XLVII.
Baltimore had to fight off a number of set backs including a 30 plus minute delay in the third quarter due to a power failure in the Mercedes Super Dome, and not mention seeing their 22 point lead almost completely disappear, but thanks to a defensive stand on fourth and goal with less than two minutes remaining in the game, the Ravens withstood the comeback and held on for the win.
The Ravens never trailed in the game as they scored a touchdown on their opening drive of the game after forcing a San Francisco three and out on the first drive of the game. Joe Flacco hooked up with who else but Anquan Boldin over the middle for a 13 yard touchdown to give the Ravens a 7-0 lead, but it was a lead they would not vanquish for the rest of the game. Baltimore led 7-3 after the first quarter, but thanks to two more Flacco touchdown passes, one to Dennis Pitta and one to Jacoby Jones, the Ravens took a big 21-6 lead into halftime.
Although San Francisco did manage a field goal before the half, all of the momentum still seemed to be on Baltimore's side, and if there was any question about that, Jones quickly made sure it was the case as he returned the opening kickoff of the second half 108 yards for a touchdown and tied the Super Bowl record for longest kickoff return for a touchdown. Jones was barely even touched on the return, and it came off of a line drive kick that didn't allow the 49'ers coverage team to get down the field before Jacoby had a full head of steam.
Once the lights went out, literally, Baltimore was sitting on a 28-6 lead, and it seemed inconceivable that San Francisco would be able to make it a game. When the lights finally came back on, Colin Kaepernick led the 49'ers down the field for a touchdown, which was capped off by 31 yard strike to Michael Crabtree. Still a 15 point lead, Baltimore was still cruising, but the odd case of fumblitis that has hit Ray Rice in the postseason struck again as he put the ball on the turf for his third fumble of the playoffs and gave the 49'ers a very short field to work with and they drove it in for the score on a Frank Gore one yard run and all of the sudden it was a game again. San Francisco would add a field goal before the end of the third quarter, and the 49'ers had gone on a 17 point run to make it a 28-23 game at the end of the third.
Baltimore would get a field goal to push their lead back to eight points, but Kaepernick and the 49'ers would not go away as Kaepernick drove his team down the field and scored a touchdown on a 15 yard run to pull within two and set up the possible game tying two point conversion. Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees decided to bring an all out blitz on the two point conversion and Kaepernick was forced to throw his pass very quickly and overthrew his receiver to keep the Ravens on top 31-29. That play was one of, if not the biggest play of the game as Baltimore would add another field goal before stopping San Francisco on fourth and goal to secure the win.
If there was any question as to Joe Flacco and his ability to win the big one, those questions are now answered. Flacco, name the Super Bowl MVP, had a fantastic game as he completed 22 of his 33 pass attempts for 287 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. In this year's postseason, Flacco threw 11 touchdowns and ZERO interceptions, that seems pretty elite to me. Boldin led the way for the receivers reeling in six grabs for 104 yards and a touchdown, while Jones had a receiving touchdown and of course the 108 yard kickoff return for a touchdown as well.
We will dissect the Super Bowl in much greater detail later this week, but Baltimore has finally brought the Lombardi Trophy back to Charm City after a 12 year absence. There is no better way for Ray Lewis's last ride to end, but a trip through Baltimore in their Super Bowl victory parade! The parade will be held tomorrow, starting at City Hall at 10:45, followed by an event at the stadium at 12:30. I have been waiting a long time to write this: Our Baltimore Ravens are once again WORLD CHAMPIONS!
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