The Baltimore Ravens are this year’s Super Bowl champions. Count this game as one of the more bizarre ones in recent history. A great one, undoubtedly, but definitely bizarre.
This outing was starting to look like a Baltimore blowout in the early goings. The highly regarded Niners defense was letting the Ravens move the ball with impunity. On offense the Niners looked just as bad. Their running game was nonexistent and they were having serious issues in pass protection. Colin Kaepernick had seemingly come back down to earth and could do nothing to mask the shortcomings of all his teammates.
Things didn’t get better in the second quarter. LaMichael James would fumble the ball deep in Baltimore territory, and the Ravens responded with a touchdown less than five minutes later. Joe Flacco found Dennis Pitta deep in the San Francisco end zone to give the Ravens a 14-3 lead and inch this game ever so close to blowout status.
Kaepernick got intercepted on his first play of the next drive around midfield by Ed Reed. Luckily for Kaepernick and the 49ers the Ravens would unsuccessfully fake a field goal on the ensuing drive, and they were able to stay in the game.
After a series of possession changes, Joe Flacco found Jacoby Jones deep in Niners territory for what will go down as one of the worst mental breakdowns of the game and possibly the best touchdown too. A bit of both to be sure. Jacoby Jones caught a deep throw by Flacco, three Niners players all ran right past him. The untouched Jones got up, deked out a few defenders and made his way to the end zone. It was nothing short of embarrassing for the 49ers once so proud defense.
The second half didn’t start all that better for the 49ers. Somehow even worse I might say. They gave up a 108 yard kickoff return for a touchdown to Jacoby Jones. The Ravens looked very in control of this game having built up a 28-6 lead at this point, then the unexpected happened. Half of the Superdome lost power.
This power outage resulted in a 34 minute layoff. Just what the 49ers needed to settle down, and collect their thoughts. Whatever momentum Baltimore had disappeared with the lighting.
San Francisco emerged from the power outage the better team. They looked like the one we had all become accustomed to watching through their first 18 games of the season. They slowly clawed their way back into this game, starting with a 31 yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree. They followed that up with a 6 yard touchdown run by Frank Gore less than five minutes later. All of a sudden they were back in this football game.
The Niners would get another touchdown in the fourth quarter on a beauty of a run by Colin Kaepernick for a 15 yard touchdown. Unfortunately though they missed on the 2pt convert. Baltimore brought the blitz and Kaepernick threw the ball a good 10 feet over Randy Moss’ head.
The Ravens would get their insurance points on the next drive with a 38 yard field goal and the onus was put on Kaepernick to lead his team to victory. They were down 34-29 at that point with 4:19 to go. Kaepernick led his team downfield. Things were looking very good for the 49ers with 4 downs to get 8 yards and the go ahead touchdown. They tried the run with LaMichael James, and followed it up with three incompletions to Michael Crabtree. And that was the game.
It was a great game to be sure. Ray Lewis gets to leave the game a champion and how can anybody feel bad about that? For Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers, better luck next year. The good news is, they have the talent to maybe make another run.
You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV