BIRDS HOUSE: Our champs, not perfect or pretty

Written by on February 6, 2013 in Ravens, Sports - No comments

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: “The Winning Harbaugh” was all smiles as he rode through the streets of Baltimore in the Ravens’ Super Bowl Victory Parade on Tuesday. Photo by Phyllis Fung

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Best. Super Bowl. Ever.

I can’t say I’ve seen a game like it. Barney Stinson would have called it, “legen…wait for it…dary.”

Even though the Baltimore Ravens led wire-to-wire, there was more drama than I could handle.

The Ravens got off to a great start as Joe Flacco threw a beatuful 13-yard pass to Anquan Boldin for the game’s first score. The only other score in the first quarter was a field goal by San Francisco’s David Akers, cutting the Baltimore lead to 7-3.

The second quarter belonged to the Ravens. Flacco hit tight end Dennis Pitta for a one-yard score before he found wide receiver Jacoby Jones wide open down the middle of the field. Jones made a great falling catch, got back up, and outraced the 49er defender into the end zone for a 56-yard score. San Francisco got another Akers field goal before the half, but that only reduced the Baltimore lead to 21-6.

After Beyonce’s half time show, the Ravens came out fired up.  San Francisco kicked off, and Akers hit a deep liner to the back of Baltimore end zone. Being as the ball got there before the coverage, Jacoby Jones decided to run it out, and that decision proved to be brilliant. Jones scampered 108 yards up the field—the longest play ever in a Super Bowl—for the score.

At that point, Baltimore was up 28-6 and showed no signs of slowing down.

Then the lights went out.

For 34 minutes.

As it turned out, a piece of equipment sensed an “abnormality,” which caused the power outage not only in the stadium, but also in the Ravens, as we would all witness.

San Francisco took that 34-minute delay and made the most of it, going on a scoring rampage in the third quarter. First, a touchdown pass of 31 yards from Colin Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree made the game 28-13. A quick three-and-out by the Ravens forced a punt, and Ted Ginn Jr. returned it 32 yards to set the 49ers up at Baltimore’s 20 yard line. After a Kaepernick pass to Vernon Davis set them up at the six, Frank Gore ran it in to make it 28-20.

Baltimore got the ball back, but after Flacco hit Ray Rice with a pass, Rice then fumbled to set the 49ers up yet again with amazing field position, this time at Baltimore’s 24 yard line. After that, a David Akers field goal initially missed right, but Chyke Brown ran into Akers, giving the Niners another shot, and this time, Akers hit, making it now a 28-23 game. In the span of just over four minutes, San Francisco scored 17 points, and the Ravens looked a bit shell-shocked.

The fourth quarter got off to a good start for the Ravens as Justin Tucker hit a 19 yard field goal to push the lead back to eight points, but that wouldn’t last long. Kaepernick ran for a 15-yard touchdown to make it a 31-29 game. San Francisco went for the two-point conversion, but failed, as Kaepernick couldn’t connect with Randy Moss.

At this point, there was just under ten minutes left in the game, and I was turning into a nervous wreck. Hoping for a Baltimore score, I got just that.

The Ravens started their next drive at their own 21 with 9:51 left in the game, and methodically drove down the field, helped by two 49er penalties. Sitting on a fourth-and-two at San Francisco’s 20-yard line, Justin Tucker hit a 38 yard field goal to increase the lead to 34-29.

The 49ers then started their next drive from their 20 and were moving the ball down the field a bit too easily for my own sanity. The Niners started off with two eight-yard runs before Kaepernick connected with Crabtree for a 24-yard gain. A Frank Gore run of 33 yards had the Niners now at the Baltimore seven yard line.

Needing a goal line stand, I was hoping Baltimore’s defense would stand up one last time. A two yard run by LaMichael James moved the ball to the five yard line, but then for some reason, after having great success running the ball, San Francisco decided to throw on the next three plays, all resulting in incompletions, the last of which came on fourth-and-goal when Kaepernick missed Crabtree in the back right corner of the end zone.

Baltimore took over on downs, but were not out of danger just yet. Three rushes which resulted in three yards set up fourth-and-seven from their own eight-yard line. With 12 seconds left, Baltimore decided to punt away, but instead of punting, they decided to take a safety. Punter Sam Koch took the snap and killed off a few precious seconds as he ran around the end zone and was eventually pushed out with four seconds left. Baltimore would then kick off to San Francisco, and after a 31 yard return by Ginn Jr., the Ravens brought him down and were crowned Super Bowl Champions once again.

Quarterback Joe Flacco was named Super Bowl MVP as he completed 22 of 33 passes for 287 yards and three touchdown passes. Flacco was outstanding throughout the playoffs; he did not throw an interception all postseason.

Ray Rice rushed for 59 yards on 20 carries while Bernard Pierce rushed for 33 yards on 12 carries. Anquan Boldin had six receptions for a team-high 104 yards and a score, while Jacoby Jones and Dennis Pitta also chipped in with scores of their own.

Defensively, Paul Kruger made life miserable for Colin Kaepernick. Kruger registered three tackles, two of which were sacks. Ray Lewis had seven total tackles and Ed Reed had five tackles and an interception. Baltimore’s secondary did a good job as well, as Corey Graham, Cary Williams, and Jimmy Smith each defensed two passes.

Things will certainly be different for Baltimore after this year, as Ray Lewis will be retiring and Ed Reed might have played his last game as a Raven, but for now, let’s just enjoy the moment.

Congratulations Baltimore Ravens! Well done.

by Andy Mindzak

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