By: John Franklin
Sunday, February 3, 2013 marked the 47 Super Bowl in NFL history. The game was played in New Orleans, Louisiana at the Louisiana Superdome. Playing in the game were the Baltimore Ravens coached by John Harbaugh, and the San Francisco 49ers coached by Jim Harbaugh. This was an historic game for three reasons; it was just the fourth time a first or second-year starter would play quarterback, Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers, in the Super Bowl, and veteran linebacker of 17 years Ray Lewis said coming into the postseason that after it was all said and done, he would be retiring, and it was the first time the two teams playing were coached by brothers, John and Jim Harbaugh. The Ravens represented the American Football Conference after defeating the Indianapolis Colts, the Denver Broncos, and the New England Patriots in their quest for the title. The San Francisco 49ers represented the National Football Conference after beating the Green Bay Packers, and the Atlanta Falcons in their playoff matchups. The Ravens came into the game after playing an average of 85 plays per game on defense. That’s eleven plays higher than the league average in the 2012-13 regular season.
The 49ers, on the other hand, came into the game riding a hot quarterback in Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick made his first appearance in week six of the NFL regular season after starter Alex Smith suffered a rib injury. Jim Harbaugh stuck with Kaepernick instead of going back to the struggling Alex Smith. This gamble on the second year player out of Nevada paid dividends for the 49ers with Kaepernick leading the charge to the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl appearance. The game started with a quick three and out by San Francisco eventually leading to a 13 yard touchdown on the other end with a connection from quarterback Joe Flacco to wide receiver Anquan Boldin giving the Ravens a 7-0 lead. The 49ers answered back with a 36 yard field goal by David Akers.
At the start of the second quarter the score was 7-3 in favor of the Baltimore Ravens. Seven minutes and ten seconds into the second quarter Joe Flacco hooked up with tight end Dennis Pitta for a one yard score, and Flacco’s second passing touchdown of the game. The 49ers were in need of the spark that Colin Kaepernick had given them in the previous ten games, but it was muddled by the explosiveness of the Ravens’ defense. The 49ers punted for the second time in the game. The punt lead to a 56 yard touchdown bomb from Flacco to Jacoby Jones, Flacco’s third passing touchdown of the game, making the score 21-3, a blowout in favor of the Ravens. The 49ers got a quick 27 yard field goal from David Akers as time expired before halftime. The score at the half, the Baltimore Ravens 21, and the San Francisco 49ers 6.
The half time show from Beyoncé Knowles gave the 49ers fans something to talk about after watching their team get man handled in the first half, but knowing the 49ers, the game wasn’t over. Coming into the second half, the 49ers would be kicking off to the Ravens and very explosive return man Jacoby Jones. Jones took the kickoff back 108 yards for a touchdown tying the previous record for longest kick return touchdown in a game set by Randall Cobb in 2011. This created a huge landslide with the score being 28-6 the Ravens on top. Then, the unthinkable happened before the ensuing kickoff, the power at the Superdome went out. This brought the game to a sudden halt. Stadium authorities have no idea what caused the thirty minute power outage, but it was the time San Francisco needed to regroup. After the power came back, the 49ers scored 17 unanswered points with touchdowns from, wide receiver Michael Crabtree, a six yard run by Frank Gore, and a 34 yard field goal from David Akers. The score Ravens on top of the 49ers 28-23.
The fourth quarter began with momentum in the hands of the 49ers. Two minutes and three seconds into the fourth quarter Ravens rookie kicker Justin Tucker put one through the uprights from nineteen yards out putting the Ravens up eight with 12:57 to go in the game. The 49ers drove the field quick and scored on a 15 yard touchdown run from Colin Kaepernick, but on the following play the 49ers couldn’t convert on the two point conversion the score now 31-29. The Ravens got another field goal putting them up by five, 34-29, with 4:19 left in the game. The 49ers drove down to the Baltimore five yard line where they were held to a four and out by the Baltimore defense, but on fourth down there was a controversial call that could’ve changed the outcome of the game. Michael Crabtree went on a fade pattern and when Kaepernick threw the ball, Crabtree seemed to be held by the Baltimore corner, Jimmy Smith. The referees did not call it giving Baltimore the ball with a minute and forty six seconds left in the game. Baltimore was forced to fourth down where punter Sam Koch ran eight seconds off the clock and ran out of the end zone for a safety. The game then ended on a free kick by Koch after the safety where return man Ted Ginn could not take it back for a touchdown.
The final score the Baltimore Ravens 34, San Francisco 49ers 31. Joe Flacco was named Super Bowl Most Valuable Player with 287 yards passing, 3 touchdowns, no interceptions, and a total quarterback rating of 124.2. An unbelievable game with ups and downs is what America got on Sunday. There were surprises, broken records, and the tears of Ray Lewis falling on the field where he played his last game. Not one person who watched should be disappointed, unless all they were watching were the commercials.