In one of the most memorable Super Bowls in recent history, the “Outage Bowl” wasn’t short on excitement. Although they had a lackluster start, the 49ers picked up intensity in the third quarter after a power outage threw half of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome into darkness. The delay lasted 34 minutes, and it was obvious that the Ravens lost a lot of their momentum during the break. With so many storylines to follow throughout the game (the Harbaugh brothers coaching against each other, Ravens’ linebacker and leader Ray Lewis playing the last game of his Hall of Fame career, San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl in his first season as a starter), this game will go down as one of the best Super Bowls in the modern era.
From the outset, the Ravens controlled the game completely. After forcing the 49ers to punt, the Ravens quickly drove down the field and quarterback Joe Flacco connected with wide receiver Anquan Boldin for a touchdown. San Francisco responded with a field goal after their drive stalled in the red zone. After stopping the Ravens on the next possession, San Francisco was driving down the field again when former Oregon running back (RB) LaMichael James fumbled the ball away. Baltimore quickly capitalized on the turnover with another touchdown pass from Flacco.
The 49ers avoided a potentially backbreaking touchdown by holding the Ravens after Kaepernick threw an ugly interception. Baltimore attempted a fake field goal on fourth down, with rookie kicker Justin Tucker falling short of the first down by two yards. Unable to capitalize on the Ravens’ mistake, the 49ers struggled to create anything on offense while Baltimore continued to roll. Flacco found speedster Jacoby Jones deep after beating San Francisco’s Chris Culliver for a touchdown. The teams went into halftime with a score of 21-6 Ravens. Joe Flacco looked incredible for the entire half while Kaepernick was jittery and inconsistent. The 49er secondary also looked completely out of whack for the entire first half, while the Ravens defense was stout, only allowing six points to the explosive San Francisco offense.
After Beyoncé’s halftime performance, the two teams retook the field and before many fans could take their seats, Jacoby Jones extended Baltimore’s lead even more by returning the opening kickoff of the half for a touchdown. Jones tied a record for longest kick return in a Super Bowl (108 yards), and the Ravens had completely taken control of the game. On San Francisco’s next drive, while the 49ers were getting ready to run a third and 13 play, half of the stadium’s lights suddenly shut off. The resulting 34-minute delay sparked San Francisco and caused Baltimore to come out flat. In the following minutes, the 49ers roared back as Colin Kaepernick found receiver Michael Crabtree for a touchdown to cut the lead to 28-13. Baltimore was stopped cold again on their next series, and San Francisco receiver Ted Ginn Jr. returned a punt to the Ravens’ 20-yard line. Frank Gore finished the drive with a five-yard touchdown run, making the score 28-20. Ravens RB Ray Rice fumbled on the next drive, giving the ball to the Niners in great field position. Another field goal brought the 49ers within five points, and the game started quickly slipping away from Baltimore. However, on the next drive, Joe Flacco connected with Anquan Boldin, and the Ravens got a field goal of their own.
As the game began to wind down, San Fran went on the move again and capped off a drive with a 15-yard TD run from Kaepernick. It was the longest touchdown run from a quarterback in Super Bowl history. After the 49ers failed the two-point conversion (which would have tied the game), the Ravens responded with a field goal, making the score 34-29. With five minutes remaining, Kaepernick led the 49ers on a spectacular drive to the Baltimore five-yard line, thanks to a huge run by Frank Gore. After being unsuccessful on the first three downs, the Niners were faced with a fourth and goal from the five with only one timeout remaining. The Ravens blitzed almost everyone, and Kaepernick was forced to lob the ball to Michael Crabtree. The Ravens’ defense caused a turnover on downs, and Baltimore took the ball back with just under two minutes remaining. After wasting some time, Baltimore elected to take a safety and sacrifice the two points to San Francisco rather than punt and allow the chance for them to throw a Hail Mary. The 49ers were unable to run back the safety punt, and the Baltimore sideline stormed the field, having just won their first Super Bowl since 2001. Joe Flacco was chosen as the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player, and he deserved it. He had a great game and looked sharp all day, completing 66 percent of his passes, throwing for 287 yards, and adding three touchdowns.