Baltimore Ravens 34-31 San Francisco 49ers

Updated: February 4, 2013

Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco pulls out a Superbowl MVP winning performance as the Ravens defeat the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in the Superbowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

This also gave the best possible ending to Ravens LB Ray Lewis, as he was able to retire from the sport as a champion.

The Ravens won the coin toss and decided to allow the 49ers receive the ball first, keeping to their tradition of letting their opposition have possession first.

But they quickly got the ball back after forcing the 49ers three and out, and they started with good field position too, on their own 49 yard line.

And they took advantage of this field position three plays into their drive with a deep right pass from Flacco to WR Torrey Smith for 20 yards.

Then another three plays later, they capped it off with a 14 yard touchdown pass from Flacco to WR Anquan Boldin, the first score of the game.


Anquan Boldin  touchdown - REUTERS/Jim Young

Anquan Boldin touchdown – REUTERS/Jim Young

On the eighth play of their next possession, the 49ers entered the RedZone for the first time in the game thanks to a 24 yard pass from QB Colin Kaepernick to TE Vernon Davis.

But they were reduced to a 36 yard field goal by K David Akers and not a touchdown, as Ravens LB Paul Kruger was able to sack Kaepernick for a loss of 10 yards, the first sack of the game.

The Ravens continued their good start on their next field possession when Flacco and Boldin connected for a 30 yard pass on the sixth play of their drive.

They were unable to capitalize though as three plays later, Flacco was sacked by 49ers DE Ray McDonald for a loss of five yards, forcing them to punt.

The 49ers started with the ball in the second quarter and on their first play, Kaepernick was able to link up

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with Davis again for 29 yards.

But once again they were unable to capitalize as their RB LaMichael James fumbled the ball on the Ravens 25 yard line.

The ball was then recovered by Ravens DE Arthur Jones, causing the first turnover of the game.

On the sixth play of their drive, Flacco was able to find TE Ed Dickson for 23 yards to the 49ers 29 yard line.

They then concluded the drive four plays later, with a one yard pass from Flacco to TE Dennis Pitta in the right part of the endzone, giving them a two possession lead.

It only took one play from the 49ers on their next drive for the Ravens to get the ball back and cause the second turnover of the game.

Kaepernick’s deep pass intended for WR Randy Moss was intercepted by Ravens FS Ed Reed, the first pick of the game.

This also gave the Ravens good starting field position, as they started their drive on the 49ers 38 yard line.

However, the 49ers defense was able to force the Ravens to go for a field goal after eight plays in their drive.

History was made in the Superbowl on the next play though, as the Ravens attempted a fake field goal. This is the first time it has ever been attempted in the Superbowl.

Sadly though, it wasn’t converted, as Ravens K Justin Tucker was forced out of bounds at the 49ers six yard line, leaving him one yard shy of the first down.

After the Ravens defense forced the 49ers to another three and out, the Ravens started another possession in good field position, from their own 44 yard line.

And once again they took full advantage as on the third play, Flacco found WR Jacoby Jones who was able to weave his way into the endzone for a 56 yard touchdown.


Jacoby Jones - Associated Press

Jacoby Jones – Associated Press

This gave the Ravens a three possession lead with less than two minutes remaining in the second quarter.

The 49ers entered the RedZone for the second time in the game on their four play of their drive, courtesy of a 28 yard pass from Kaepernick to TE Delaine Walker.

But two plays later, Kaepernick was sacked for the second time in the game by Kruger, forcing them to settle for a field goal.

This made the half time score 21-6 to the Ravens.

The Ravens started off the second half in style, as WR J. Jones was able to return a kick-off for 108 yards for a touchdown.

This was the longest ever kick-off return in Superbowl history.


Jacoby Jones scoring on kick-off return = Reuters

Jacoby Jones scoring on kick-off return – REUTERS

Kaepernick started off the 49ers next drive well with a 29 yard pass to WR Michael Crabtree.

Two plays later though, Kaepernick was sacked for a loss of six yards by DE A. Jones, Ravens’ third sack of the game.

After this play, there was a power cut in one half of the Superdome, causing the game to be delayed. Action wasn’t resumed again for another half an hour.


Referee left in the dark - Associated Press

Referee stands in the dark – Associated Press

The power outage seemed to work in the 49ers favour as when they regained possession, they started to add points more frequently to the board and play like the team that was favourites to win the Superbowl.

Crabtree gave the 49ers their first touchdown after catching a pass from Kaepernick and running it for 31 yards, breaking two tackles along the way.

The 49ers defense then forced the Ravens three and out as Flacco was sacked by LB Ahmad Brooks for a loss of eight yards.

49ers return specialist Ted Ginn was then able to return the Ravens’ punt for 32 yards, allowing his team to start their drive on the Ravens 20 yard line.

RB Frank Gore reduced the Ravens lead to eight two plays into the 49ers drive, when he scored a six yard touchdown run.


Frank Gore scores a touchdown - REUTERS

Frank Gore scores a touchdown – REUTERS

Two plays into the Ravens next drive, the second fumble of the game occurred. RB Ray Rice fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Tarell Brown, the third turnover of the game.

With the 49ers starting with the ball on the Ravens 24 yard line, they had another opportunity to add a touchdown to their score.

However, they were forced three and out, and they had to settle for a 34 yard field goal by Akers, reducing the Ravens lead to five points.

Three plays into the Ravens next drive, Flacco was able to connect with Boldin again for 30 yards. This looked like the catalyst that would restart the game for the Ravens.

But as the drive went into the start of the fourth quarter, they had to settle for a 19 yard field goal by Tucker, restoring Ravens’ eight point lead.

Kaepernick was able to find Moss on the second play of their next drive for 32 yards. Then Kaepernick capped off the drive three plays later with a 15 yard run for a touchdown.


Kaepernick's touchdown run past Ed Reed - AP Photo-Matt Slocum

Kaepernick’s touchdown run past Ed Reed – AP Photo/Matt Slocum

The 49ers did attempt a two-point conversation after the touchdown, but this failed as Kaepernick’s pass for Moss was overthrown.

With the Ravens leading now by only two points, they surged down the field to try and add more points to the board.

However, after ten plays, they had to settle for a 38 yard field goal by Tucker.

On the 49ers next drive, they looked like they would score another touchdown after two fantastic back-to-back plays by Crabtree and Gore respectively.

The first was on the four play of their drive and it was a deep middle 24 yard pass to Crabtree. It was quickly followed up on the next play by Gore with a 33 yard run to the Ravens seven yard line.

They were unable to complete the drive on the ninth play as a pass intended for Crabtree was incomplete, causing a change in possession.

The Ravens then played very tactically, running down the clock to four seconds and giving the 49ers a safety, but they still gave a chance for the 49ers to win the game on the kick return.

The 49ers though were unable to conjure up anything from this, meaning the Ravens won the game 34-31.


Ray Lewis lifts the Vince Lombardi Trophy - Lucy Nicholson - REUTERS

Ray Lewis lifts the Vince Lombardi Trophy – Lucy Nicholson/REUTERS

This was a dream come true for Lewis, as he was able to retire from the game as a champion for only the second time in his career.

This also means that Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh and the Ravens have kept their 100% record at the Superbowl, winning on both occasions they have been there.

But for John’s brother and 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers, their 100% record is over, as they have been to the Superbowl on six occasions but only won five times.


Jim and John Harbaugh - REUTERS

Jim (left) and John Harbaugh (right) congratulate each other – REUTERS

For his fantastic performance of 287 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, Joe Flacco earned himself the Superbowl MVP award, meaning the MVP award has gone to a QB for the fourth year in a row.

So, NFL action is now over till the season starts up again in September. Don’t worry though, you can see how future NFL prospects do in the NFL Combine which starts on the 20th February and concludes on the 26th February.

Then you can see where they get drafted in the NFL Draft. This starts on the 25th April and then finishes on the 27th April.

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Match Report by Conor Porter

twitter – @ConorJPorter

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