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Lights out for San Francisco

Marques Eversoll, Assistant Sports Editor
February 6, 2013
Filed under Sports, Top Stories

John Harbaugh outdueled his younger brother Jim as the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers to win Super Bowl XLVII.

The Super Bowl-winning head coach was asked how he felt moments after the game

“How do you think it feels?” Harbaugh said. “It feels just like you think. It feels great.”

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was named Super Bowl MVP, racking up 287 yards and three touchdowns through the air. In Baltimore’s four postseason games, Flacco accounted for 11 passing touchdowns without throwing a single interception.

Flacco hooked up with wide receiver Anquan Boldin for the game’s first score in the first quarter. The touchdown was Boldin’s fourth of the postseason, matching his total from the regular season.

The 49ers answered with a 36-yard David Akers field goal, but the high-powered Ravens offense wasn’t done scoring.

Flacco marched the Ravens down the field and found tight end Dennis Pitta in the end zone for a one-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter.

San Francisco took control of the ball in desperate need of a score to stop the Ravens’ momentum. But on the 49ers’ first offensive play, quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s pass was intercepted by Ravens safety Ed Reed.

Baltimore drove down the field and had a chance to add a field goal, but Harbaugh called for the fake. Undrafted rookie kicker Justin Tucker took the direct snap and was stopped short of the first-down marker.

Kaepernick and the 49ers offense sputtered deep in their own territory and were forced to punt the ball back to the Ravens.

Facing a third-and-10 from his own 44-yard line, Flacco threw up a prayer in the direction of wide receiver Jacoby Jones. Jones made a diving catch and raced into the end zone to extend Baltimore’s lead to 21-3 with less than two minutes remaining in the first half.

San Francisco added another Akers field goal to make the score 21-6 as the first half reached its conclusion.

On the opening kickoff to the second half, Jones struck again. Akers kicked the ball eight yards deep into the end zone, but Jones opted against taking the touchback. A few nifty moves and 11 seconds later, the Baltimore Ravens led 28-6 with nearly a full half to play.

But thanks to a 34-minute delay due to the power going out at the Mercedez-Benz SuperDome, the Ravens’ momentum was impeded and the 49ers had new life.

Kaepernick led the 49ers on an 80-yard drive, capped off by a 31-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Michael Crabtree. San Francisco trailed 28-13 halfway through the third quarter.

The 49ers held the Ravens to a three-and-out on the ensuing possession, and punt returner Ted Ginn set San Francisco up at the 20-yard line. Running back Frank Gore scored on a six-yard touchdown two players later, cutting the Ravens’ lead to 28-20.

The momentum was in the 49ers’ favor, as the Ravens took control of the ball. But after a Ray Rice fumble, San Francisco got the ball back and added another Akers field goal.

Baltimore answered with a 12-play drive, ending with a 19-yard field goal on the leg of Justin Tucker. The Ravens led 31-23, but the 49ers would be getting the ball back with a chance to tie it up.

It didn’t take long for Kaepernick and the 49ers to find the end zone. Kaepernick led a five-play, 76-yard drive to cut Baltimore’s lead to 31-29. San Francisco’s two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

Flacco led another 12-play scoring drive on the Ravens’ following possession, setting up Tucker for his second field goal of the night. Baltimore led 34-29 with 4:19 remaining in the game.

The 49ers drove all the way down to the Ravens’ five-yard line, but Kaepernick’s pass fell incomplete on fourth down.

The Ravens regained control of the ball and intentionally took a safety to make the score 34-31 with :04 seconds remaining. Ginn returned the kickoff 31 yards, and the Ravens were Super Bowl champions.

Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis, a 17-year veteran, told his teammates that this postseason would be his “last ride.” And after leading the Ravens to their second Super Bowl victory in the franchise’s history, the 13-time Pro Bowler goes out on top.

It was a family affair in New Orleans. The Harbaugh brothers shared a bedroom until John went off to college, but the Super Bowl was certainly the biggest stage they’d ever shared.

After the game, the brothers met at midfield as confetti flooded the field. “I told him I loved him,” John said. “He said, ‘Congratulations.’”