The Baltimore Ravens held off a second-half charge by the San Francisco 49ers and overcame a 34-minute power-outage delay to win the Super Bowl Sunday night 34-31.
The Ravens took command early in the game, but came out flat in the second half, particularly after the lights went out and players milled about with nothing to do but try to stay loose.
The Baltimore victory meant John Harbaugh won the battle of the head-coach brothers, alternatively dubbed the “Harbowl,” the “Superbaugh,” and the “BroBowl,” by reporters. John beat his brother Jim Harbaugh, the coach of the 49ers.
"How could it be any other way? It's never pretty. It's never perfect. But it's us," John Harbaugh said. "It was us today."
The win also capped off a remarkable 17-year career for Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who announced earlier in the season that he was headed for retirement. Lewis leaves the game as one of the best defensive players ever to play the game, and the winner of two Super Bowl titles.
"It's no greater way, as a champ, to go out on your last ride with the men that I went out with, with my teammates," Lewis said. "And you looked around this stadium and Baltimore! Baltimore! We coming home, baby! We did it!"
The Ravens came out fast with a hot quarterback, as Joe Flacco opened the game 13 for 20 for 192 yards and three touchdowns. He made it through the team’s entire playoff run without throwing a single interception.
Flacco’s game totals -- 22 for 33 for 287 yards and three TDs – were good enough to earn Super Bowl MVP honours.
After a three-and-out opening drive by the 49ers, the Ravens took an early 7-0 lead on a six-play, 51-yard drive on their first possession of the game.
Flacco hit Anquan Boldin in the endzone with a 13-yard pass less than five minutes into the game.
The 49ers got on the board on their next drive with a 36-yard David Akers field goal, but it was early penalty trouble that marked their first quarter.
San Francisco began the game on a down note, getting an illegal formation call on its very first play. The 49ers were forced to punt after a quick three-and-out. They also got another penalty call before Flacco’s opening TD.
Akers’ field goal followed a 12-play, 62-yard 49ers drive.
Midway through the second quarter, rookie 49ers running back LaMichael James fumbled the ball, a turnover that eventually allowed Flacco to hit tight end Dennis Pitta for a one-yard TD.
Not long after, the 49ers turned the ball over again when Colin Kaepernick was intercepted by Ravens safety Ed Reed. But Baltimore couldn’t capitalize on the play, later failing to get a first down on a field-goal fake.
The 49ers were forced to punt on the following drive, however, and Flacco hit Jacoby Jones for a 56-yard TD pass with less than two minutes to go in the first half.
Baltimore continued its dominant play to start the second half, taking a 28-6 lead on a 108-yard kick return by Jones.
But the 49ers began showing signs of life.
San Francisco finally scored its first touchdown of the game in the third quarter, as Kaepernick led his team on a seven-play, 80-yard drive before finding Michael Crabtree, who ran the football into the endzone.
Then, with just under five minutes to go in the quarter, Frank Gore ran for a six-yard touchdown to pull the team within eight points of the Ravens.
Kicker David Akers missed a field goal with just over three minutes to go in the quarter. But a penalty gave him a do-over and he made good on his second chance, pulling his team within five points of the Ravens.
Baltimore responded with a field goal of its own early in the fourth quarter, pulling ahead 31-23, but Kaepernick ran the ball in for a 15-yard TD with less than 10 minutes to go in the game. A two-point conversion attempt failed, and another Baltimore field goal put the game away for good.
The Ravens took a safety late in the game, but it wasn’t enough for the 49ers.