NEW ORLEANS, La.–Joe Flacco was named Super Bowl XLVII MVP after leading the Baltimore Ravens to a thrilling 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the National Football League’s 47th Super Bowl on Feb. 3 hosted at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La.
Flacco delivered a flawless performance against the 49ers’ tough, physical defense, passing for 287 yards and three touchdowns, all of which were thrown in the first half of the game. Most importantly, the five-year quarterback didn’t commit any turnovers and was able to march the Ravens’ offense down field at will when needed.
Flacco led the Ravens to a 21-6 lead at halftime, and the lead ballooned to 28-6 after Ravens receiver/return specialist Jacoby Jones returned the second-half kickoff for a 108-yard touchdown, a new NFL record.
But the 49ers took advantage of a power outage in the Superdome that lasted for more than 30 minutes, ultimately killing the Ravens’ momentum. San Francisco then went on a 23-6 run, cutting the lead to 34-29 with less than four minutes in the game. Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers’ second-year 49ers quarterback, did everything in his power to complete what could have been one of the most amazing comebacks in Super Bowl history, marching his team down to the Ravens’ goal line with just more than a minute left. But Ray Lewis and the Ravens’ defensive unit stiffened with their backs against their own end zone and kept the 49ers from scoring a touchdown.
The Ravens then ran the clock down to just 11 seconds before taking a sacrificial safety, which gave the 49ers two points and the ball back, but with only four seconds left in the game. The Ravens made a tackle on the mandatory safety kickoff, ending the game 34-31 and clinching their second Super Bowl victory in franchise history.
Most Outstanding Player(s) of the Game:
Obviously, Joe Flacco was the most outstanding player with his mistake-free performance against the best defensive unit in the NFL. He joined elite company as he now shares Hall of Famer Joe Montana’s record for 11 touchdowns thrown without an interception during a single playoff run. Flacco told reporters last offseason that he believes he’s the best quarterback in the NFL, which led to much criticism from several NFL pundits. But now no one can deny his greatness with a Super Bowl MVP victory on his resume.
Sharing the Most Outstanding Player honor with Flacco is Ravens’ speedster Jacoby Jones. The New Orleans, La. native came up huge for the Ravens. Not only did he score the Ravens’ only touchdown of the second half with his record-breaking kick return, but he also caught a 56-yard touchdown bomb from Flacco just minutes before the end of the second quarter. Jones caught the bomb, then did a spin move to lose one defender while outrunning another defender to the end zone.
Unsung Hero of the Game:
Linebacker Ray Lewis played his last game as a Raven and has a Super Bowl ring to show for it, thanks to the help of fellow inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. Lewis will get credit for leading the Ravens on their final defensive stop to end the 49ers’ comeback attempt, but it was Ellerbe who led the team statistically with nine tackles. Baltimore lost Pro Bowl defensive lineman Haloti Ngata to injury during the second half, but that didn’t stop Ellerbe from jumping into running lanes to contain the 49ers’ rushing attack.
Without him playing so well, the 49ers may have done a lot more damage offensively.
More Game Notes:
Forty-niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick started out a tad slow and tossed a poor pass in first quarter that was picked off by Ravens’ star safety Ed Reed. But he settled down and started making plays, finishing with 364 total yards and two touchdowns, one a run and the other a pass. Frank Gore, 49ers running back, also played well, rushing for 110 yards on 19 carries; he outperformed Ravens’ star running back Ray Rice, who had just 59 yards on 20 carries and an untimely fumble that helped San Francisco make their second-half comeback.
Ravens veteran receiver Anquan Boldin made clutch catches for Baltimore, finishing with six receptions for 104 yards and a 30-yard touchdown. Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta had four catches for 26 yards and a touchdown.
Ray Lewis finished his last game with seven tackles while Ed Reed had five tackles and an interception.
Every year we say this, but this may have been the greatest, most exciting Super Bowl in recent history. At one point it appeared as if it was going to turn out as a blowout victory for the Ravens, but all that was needed was a power outage and 34-minute delay in restoring power to wake up the 49ers and turn the game into an instant classic. In the end, it came down to Ray Lewis and his defensive unit making one last stop to win it all. Lewis pulled it off. He earned it, and so did all of his teammates. Congrats, Baltimore. You’re now the host town of the new world champions.
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