Joe Flacco leads Baltimore Ravens past San Francisco 49ers in electric Super Bowl

Posted: February 05, 2013

NEW ORLEANS - Joe Flacco is an Ordinary Joe no more.

In a game that will forever be known as the Blackout Bowl, the Baltimore Ravens survived a near collapse following a 34-minute delay after the Superdome lost power, then rode their steady quarterback to beat the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31, in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday night.

Flacco, the Audubon, N.J., native who has been criticized for his placid demeanor, was voted the Super Bowl's most valuable player. He completed 22 of 33 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns. A crucial third-down pass helped to give the Ravens a late five-point lead and put pressure on the 49ers to score a touchdown to win.

"I don't think it's going to settle in for a while," the 28-year-old Flacco said. "We don't make anything easy. It was a hard-fought game on both sides. I think we gave the country a pretty good game to watch. Not to our liking necessarily, but that's the way it goes sometimes."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh won his first Super Bowl and beat his little brother, Jim, the Niners coach. The former Eagles special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach became the first of Andy Reid's former assistants to claim a crown.

"It's very tough," Harbaugh said of beating his brother. "It's a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be. It's very painful."

The victory marks the second Super Bowl title for the Ravens, who have been in existence since 1996. The Ravens won after the 2000 season in Steve Bisciotti's first year as owner after he purchased the team from Art Modell, who relocated his Cleveland Browns to Baltimore.

The retiring Ray Lewis is the only member of the Ravens to be on both Super Bowl-winning teams. The controversial linebacker was mired in a hullabaloo last week when a trainer claimed in a Sports Illustrated report that he sent Lewis deer antler spray, which contains an NFL-banned growth hormone, as he recovered from a torn triceps injury earlier this season.

"No other way to go out and end a career," Lewis said. "This is how you do it."

San Francisco drove all the way to the Baltimore 5-yard line after Justin Tucker's 38-yard field goal gave the Ravens a 34-29 lead, but quarterback Colin Kaepernick could not complete a miracle comeback. Kaepernick, who threw for 302 yards and ran for another 62, tossed three straight incomplete passes and Baltimore took over.

The Ravens took a safety when punter Sam Koch ran out of the end zone, and the 49ers could not score on the ensuing free kick as time ran out.

The 49ers spotted the Ravens a 28-6 lead when Jacoby Jones returned the second-half kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown, setting a Super Bowl record. But after San Francisco ran a few plays, the lights went off at the Superdome.

"Both teams had to deal with it," John Harbaugh said. "Actually, I thought they dealt with it better, obviously. They were able to turn the momentum of the game."

The 49ers scored the next 17 points and outscored the Ravens, 25-6, after the blackout. But Flacco did enough to stave off the charge. He hit receiver Anquan Boldin (six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown) with a 15-yard pass on a key third down on the Ravens' drive that expanded their lead to five with 4 minutes, 23 seconds left in the game.

A former University of Delaware star, Flacco became the third quarterback ever with 11 touchdown passes in a single postseason, tying the 49ers' Joe Montana and the Rams' Kurt Warner. The 49ers, who won five previous Super Bowls - four with Montana - lost for the first time in the championship game.

Baltimore led, 28-3, and then the lights went out. Except for a few emergency lights, the stadium was in near darkness. The NFL said that the power went out just at the stadium and not throughout the city. The apparent cause was the halftime show featuring Beyoncé, which required a great deal of electricity.

After the delay, the 49ers were the first to score when Kaepernick engineered a seven-play, 80-yard drive with 7:20 left in the third quarter. The quarterback fired a 31-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

The 49ers kept the momentum going as Frank Gore went around right end for a 6-yard touchdown run. The 49ers scored 14 points in a little over two minutes and were back in the game, trailing the Ravens, 28-20, with 5:05 to go in the third.

The Ravens continued to fall apart when running back Ray Rice fumbled after a short catch on his own 24. The 49ers couldn't get a first down, however, and David Akers kicked a 34-yard field goal.

By the end of the third quarter, the 49ers had whittled the deficit to 28-23, having scored 17 straight points since the blackout.

The Ravens stopped the bleeding on their next possession. Flacco marched Baltimore 71 yards on 12 plays, but the drive was halted at the 49ers 1. Justin Tucker kicked a 19-yard field goal and the Ravens were again up by eight, 31-23.

San Francisco kept coming back. Kaepernick needed just five plays to march 76 yards, finishing the drive with a 15-yard touchdown run.

The 49ers went for two and the tie, but Kaepernick's pass was off and the Ravens held on.


Contact Jeff McLane at  jmclane@phillynews.com or on Twitter @Jeff_McLane.

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