Flacco and Jones give John Harbaugh a victory over brother Jim’s 49ers
(MCT) — NEW ORLEANS — Ray Lewis stood on the podium waiting to accept the Lombardi Trophy for the second time on the last day of his NFL career, and the soon-to-be Hall-of-Fame linebacker said to his coach, “How could it be any other way?”
The Ravens forced three straight incompletions in a dramatic goal-line stand and Joe Flacco capped a near-perfect postseason with three touchdown passes as Baltimore survived a Superdome power outage to beat the 49ers, 34-31, in Super Bowl XLVII.
Flacco completed 12 of his first 15 attempts and tied Joe Montana and Kurt Warner for most touchdown passes (11) in a single postseason as Lewis got the storybook sendoff he desired and Ravens coach John Harbaugh earned permanent bragging rights over his younger brother, San Francisco coach Jim.
“We said to our team many times after many games that played out just the same way, it wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t pretty, but it was us,” John Harbaugh said. “That’s who we are.”
The Ravens raced to a 22-point third-quarter lead before a freak power outage helped the 49ers get back in the game.
Colin Kaepernick led San Francisco to 17 points in a 4-minute, 10-second span after the 34-minute delay left the Superdome with one row of half-working lights near the top of the stadium, then cut Baltimore’s lead to two points with a 15-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
Trailing, 34-29, Kaepernick drove the 49ers to Baltimore’s 5-yard-line with two minutes to play before three straight incompletions essentially ended the game.
Lewis, who announced his retirement before the postseason, retrieved the ball after Kaepernick’s final throw and walked off the field.
“How else can you finish that off but with a goal-line stand?” Lewis said. “How else can you finish a Super Bowl off when your coordinator trusts you the way he trusts us? And we finished that off. We kept them out of the end zone on the 2-yard line. That is championship football.”
Kaepernick, making his 10th career start, completed 16 of 28 passes for 302 yards and carried seven times for 62 yards, but the 49ers didn’t call a run play for him near the goal line on their final drive.
Flacco, the game’s MVP, was 22 of 33 passing for 287 yards. He tied Joe Montana and Kurt Warner for most touchdown passes (11) in a single postseason and didn’t throw an interception in 126 playoff attempts.
The Harbaugh brothers, who spent part of their adolescence in Ann Arbor, when their father, Jack, was an assistant coach at Michigan, shared a brief conversation on the field before the game and a short handshake after it as streamers spilled from the rafters and the Ravens celebrated wildly.
“The way that game played out when it was 28-6 and the lights went out and whatever happened, I just knew with Jim Harbaugh being on that other sideline and all those years that we’ve been together that that game was going to be a dogfight right till the end,” John Harbaugh said. “There’s no great competitor, there’s greater coach in the National Football League or in the world as far as I’m concerned than Jim Harbaugh, and the way that team played proves it.”
The 49ers went three-and-out on their opening drive following an illegal-formation penalty that wiped out a big gain on their first offensive play, and Flacco took advantage of another San Francisco penalty on the ensuing possession to give the Ravens a 7-0 lead
Anquan Boldin beat NaVorro Bowman for a 13-yard touchdown one play after Ahmad Brooks jumped offside on third-and-9 to keep Baltimore’s drive alive.
Flacco threw two more touchdowns in the second quarter, the first a 1-yard pass to Dennis Pitta 10 plays after LaMichael James fumbled deep in Ravens territory.
Ed Reed intercepted Kaepernick on San Francisco’s next offensive play — his NFL-record tying ninth career playoff pick — and Flacco hit Jacoby Jones for a 56-yard touchdown with 1:45 left in the first half.
Jones beat Chris Culliver deep on the play, then dodged two 49ers defenders after pulling up to catch the pass on his way to the end zone.
Jones returned the opening kick of the second half a Super Bowl-record-tying 108 yards for a touchdown before the 49ers wild comeback.
Kaepernick threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree, Frank Gore scored on a 6-yard run, and David Akers made his third field goal of the game from 34 yards after the Ravens ran into him on a miss from 39.
Kaepernick scored on a 15-yard run with 9:57 left in the fourth quarter, but misfired on a two-point conversion attempt to cut the Ravens lead to 31-29.
Baltimore ran nearly six minutes off the clock on its next possession, but settled for a field goal then gave the 49ers a safety for the final margin of victory with 4 seconds to play.
Gore ran for a game-high 110 yards on 19 carries for the 49ers.
Boldin caught six passes for 104 yards for the Ravens, who won their only other championship 12 years ago in Super Bowl XXXV.