NFL: Joe Flacco leads Baltimore Ravens to Super Bowl glory against San Francisco 49ers
By Graeme Mair - Twitter: @gmair 1. Last Updated: 05/02/13 10:14am
Baltimore Ravens held on for a 34-31 victory over San Francisco 49ers at an eventful Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
Joe Flacco threw three touchdowns, one to local boy Jacoby Jones who also returned the second-half kick-off 108 yards for another as the Ravens built a 28-6 lead.
But a 35-minute delay due to a power cut at the Superdome was followed by a three-touchdown spree from the 49ers, Colin Kaepernick inspiring his side back within two points at 31-29 with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Justin Tucker's field goal with four minutes and 23 seconds left provided breathing space for the Ravens and their defence was able to stand firm in the closing stages to send long-serving linebacker Ray Lewis into retirement on a high.
The result was San Francisco's first defeat in six appearances in the NFL showpiece as their head coach Jim Harbaugh ceded family bragging rights to his brother John, the Ravens head coach.
Flacco, who completed 22-of-33 passes for 287 yards, took MVP honours - the fourth year in a row a quarterback has won the award.
After San Francisco punted on the opening series, Flacco led a six-play drive starting just inside his own half and culminating in a 13-yard touchdown pass down the middle to Anquan Boldin.
The 49ers mustered a David Akers field goal from 36 yards on their next possession but Baltimore took control with two second-quarter touchdowns, both coming from a turnover.
Courtney Upshaw recovered LaMichael James' fumble and Flacco marched the Ravens 76 yards in 10 plays, finishing it off with a one-yard pass to tight end Dennis Pitta.
Baltimore had the ball back again one play later when Ed Reed picked off Kaepernick for his post-season record ninth interception, the first by a San Francisco quarterback in a Super Bowl, sparking a mass brawl from which various personal foul penalties were offset.
This time Flacco went deep to Jones, who had time to make a diving catch and get up off the turf to take it into the end zone untouched.
"We heard that we couldn't beat Denver. We heard that we couldn't beat New England. We heard that we couldn't beat San Fran. And, we overcame all odds."
Another Akers field goal trimmed Baltimore's lead to 21-6 but - after Beyonce and her former Destiny's Child band-mates had rolled back the years during the half-time show - Jones produced a memorable performance of his own taking the second-half kick-off all the way back. His 108-yard effort was a Super Bowl record.
The power then went out at the Superdome, leaving the players to spend the unscheduled break stretching on the field and, when the action finally resumed, San Francisco roared back into the contest with 17 points in just over four minutes.
Michael Crabtree hauled in a 31-yard touchdown pass from Kaepernick, Frank Gore went in on the ground from close range and Akers added his third field goal, benefiting from a flag and second chance after shanking his first attempt.
A Tucker field goal stopped the rot for Baltimore before Kaepernick produced a 15-yard touchdown run - the longest in Super Bowl history by a quarterback - to make it a two-point game early in the fourth quarter.
But the 49ers' comeback fell just short, another Tucker field goal padded Baltimore's lead to 34-29 and, despite having to take a late safety, they were able to close out the franchise's second Super Bowl success 12 years after the first.