Monday, February 4, 2013

Super Bowl XLVII - Raven Win Thriller

The Baltimore Ravens won a great game over the San Francisco to win Super Bowl XLVII.  I thought this was a great game.  Yes it looked like a blowout before the 34 minute power outage which came after Jacoby Jones ran back the kickoff to begin the second half for 108 yards and a touchdown.  San Francisco had other ideas and roared back looking unstoppable.  In the end they couldn't overcome the hole they dug themselves into. 
Joe Flacco looked great.  I thought he was poised throughout and deserved the MVP trophy.  He hit 22 of 33 passes adding three touchdown passes.  It is good that he was on because the running game was averaging only 2.7 yards per carry.  The defense was good early before the 80's 49ers offense showed up in the second half.  There was a huge difference in their run stopping ability when Haloti Ngata went out of the game.  He wasn't the reason for the defense's collapse but it definitely made a difference.  Still the defense stiffened when it counted and kept Baltimore out of the end zone on San Francisco's final drive.  Ray Lewis was a non factor and as highlighted by a few replays did not look good at all. 
Frisco looked horrible in the first half and I was ready to toot my own horn for predicting the possibility of Kaepernick not being able to live up to the moment.  He was having none of it.  He ended up playing a great game.  I know announcers Phil Sims and Jim Nance gushed over some of the throws he made but I will have to admit Kaepernick did make some very good throws.  He also caused issues when the Baltimore coverage bottled up the receivers and he was able to make runs to turn the tide.  Those are killers when you are on defense.  In the end he came up short due to that aforementioned hole the 49ers were in at the start of the second half.   Frank Gore had a great game with 110 yards averaging 5.8 yards per carry.  Would have liked to see him get the ball down near the goal line more.  I know San Francisco was playing from behind but his running was a huge part of their offense.  The defense played well but just didn't get enough pressure on Flacco to disrupt his play.  Even in the second half when the tide turned he was able to throw the ball if not always connecting. 
Many will point to the disputed "no call" on Frisco's 4th and goal play to Michael Crabtree with under two minutes to play the game as the reason why the 49ers lost.  I have to agree that pass interference should have been called.  Still you don't lose a game because of one play.  Does it make a big difference and maybe cost San Francisco 7 points?  Yes, no doubt.  But in any football game there are way too many calls that could go either way that could mean just as much as that call.  The key is to not be in that position at the end of the game.  I know football doesn't always work that way but it is true.  By being in a position to where your season comes down to one play you are forced to deal with the outcome of that one play. 
I really enjoyed this game.  I'm glad I'm not a fan of either team because that ending would have killed me but that is the way these games should go.  A team going for the win in the final minutes of the game.  Not sure Jim Harbaugh will ever stop hearing people question his play calling in the final two minutes.  I, too, thought a Kaepernick designed roll out or run could have been a game winner.  But as Mike Ditka said this morning you can't question these guys.  Both teams played a great game and that is a reflection of their coaches.  Wish more Super Bowls were this good.  Guess we'll see in 12 more months...

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