Roy Ben-Joseph Journal Staff
Even a 35-minute power outage couldn’t stop Ray Lewis and the Ravens from winning their second Super Bowl in franchise history as they beat the San-Francisco 49ers 34-31. It was the second Super Bowl in a row that came down to the final play of the game, after last year’s Super Bowl ended with a Tom Brady 70-yard Hail Mary throw to the end zone as time expired.
Super Bowl XLVII was the first for the Ravens in 12 years since Super Bowl XXXV. The 49ers haven’t been in this stage since Steve Young set a postseason record with six touchdown passes in Super Bowl XXIX. The 49ers franchise was 5-0 coming into Super Bowl XLVII after its famous dynasty dominated the 1980s with four victories under quarterback Joe Montana and receiver Jerry Rice who won three of those with Montana playing behind center.
Super Bowl XLVII was set to be the final game in what will be Ray Lewis’ hall of fame-worthy career. Since being established in 1996, the Baltimore Ravens never played a game in the NFL without Ray Lewis being a part of the team. Lewis is a two-time NFL defensive player of the year and also Super Bowl XXXV MVP, the last defensive player to win this award. Most certainly, six years from today, Ray Lewis will be a first ballot hall of famer.
We saw almost everything from the Ravens in this game. Joe Flacco had a strong performance after throwing for three touchdowns and earning his first Super Bowl MVP award. Jacoby Jones set a postseason and Super Bowl record with a 108 -yard kickoff return for a touchdown, which is also the longest play of any kind in postseason and Super Bowl history. Ed Reed became the all-time postseason interception leader after intercepting a Colin Kaepernick pass. This marked the first interception in Super Bowl history for a 49ers quarterback, since Joe Montana and Steve Young were never picked off.
After Jacoby Jones returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown the score was 28-6. Then ,the unexpected happened. The electricity in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome just stopped working. The stadium was all of the sudden dark and by the time NFL referee Jerome Boger blew his whistle and the clock began to run again, 34 minutes had passed.
When the game resumed, it was all about the 49ers who outscored the Ravens 23-3 to cut the Ravens lead to 31-29. The 49ers even forced a Ray Rice fumble that resulted in a San Francisco missed field goal. After a flag was thrown by the officials as a result of the Ravens running into 49ers kicker David Akers, the 49ers didn’t miss the second shot.
The next Ravens possession ended with a Justin Tucker Field goal and a 34-29 lead. That set the stage for the last drive, where legends are born. When Colin Kaepernick was a year old, the 49ers were in a similar situation in Super Bowl XXIII, trailing the Bengals with 3:10 left on the clock and needing a 92 yard drive to win the game. It seemed that back in 1989 everybody on the planet knew what was going to happen, because the “coolest” and the smoothest guy on the planet was about to lead his team in a 92 yard drive and hit John Taylor with the game winning touchdown with 34 seconds left. Yes, that was the great Joe Montana. This time on fourth down and seven yards, Kaepernick threw a pass to the end zone intended for Michael Crabtree who was held by cornerback Jimmy Smith. A flag should have been thrown, but in a season that will always be remembered because of the replacement referees who blew many calls, maybe it was symbolic that a no call would leave a mark on the Super Bowl. The Ravens would then take over on down, run the clock, take an intentional safety score on the way that added two more points to the 49ers but completely ran the clock.
The Ravens are world champs for the second time in franchise history, but the Ray Lewis era is over and it will be interesting to see how the Ravens overcome the loss of their emotional leader. The 49ers? They will be back soon, very soon. They are a young and hungry team with an outstanding defense.