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Ravens hang on, beat 49ers to win Super Bowl

Updated 9:09 am, Monday, February 4, 2013

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  • Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis celebrates with the Lombardi Trophy. Photo: Smiley N. Pool, Chronicle / © 2013  Houston Chronicle
    Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis celebrates with the Lombardi Trophy. Photo: Smiley N. Pool, Chronicle

 

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NEW ORLEANS -- No one official would accept the blame, so perhaps it was Beyonce who knocked out the power with her super-charged halftime show that electrified the Superdome crowd and reenergized the San Francisco 49ers.

Trailing the Baltimore Ravens 28-6 when the power outage delayed Super Bowl XLVII for 33 minutes and 55 seconds in the third quarter, the 49ers rallied and almost pulled off a shocking, come-from-behind victory on Sunday.

They ran out of downs on the Ravens' 5-yard line with 1:46 remaining, securing a 34-31 victory for Baltimore that gave linebacker Ray Lewis his second Lombardi Trophy as a going-away present.

"Can you imagine, the final series of Ray Lewis' career was a goal-line stand for the Lombardi Trophy," coach John Harbaugh said in the winning dressing room. "It doesn't get any better than that."

Before Lewis could have his last dance, the Ravens made sure there was some excitement remaining.

Harbaugh took a safety with 4 seconds left, but he couldn't escape with the victory over his brother, Jim Harbaugh, until the Ravens pulled down Ted Ginn Jr. at midfield with no time left after the free kick.

"The ultimate cake," is how outside linebacker Terrell Suggs described Lewis' last game. "There will never be another leader like him. His legacy will go untamed."

It was the Ravens' second Super Bowl victory, and Lewis was a part of both. The first one came against the New York Giants after the 2000 season.

Quarterback Joe Flacco was voted the Most Valuable Player. He completed 22-of-33 for 287 yards and three touchdowns -- all in the first half.

"Joe's taken a lot of criticism in his career for whatever reason, but we've always believe in him," tight end Dennis Pitta said. "He showed up on the biggest stage and performed. He deserves everything."

Before the delay less than two minutes after Beyonce's halftime show, the Ravens dominated the 49ers 28-6. Flacco's touchdown passes included a 56-yarder to Jacoby Jones, a New Orleans native with family and friends in attendance.

When Jones returned the second-half kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown and the 28-6 advantage, a Baltimore rout appeared to be on. Then came the power outage.

"Both teams had to deal with it," John Harbaugh said. "Actually, I thought they dealt with it better, obviously. They were able to turn the momentum of the game."

San Francisco, led by second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick, turned the second half into one of the most memorable in Super Bowl history.

"We had a ton of momentum and had everything rolling," Pitta said about the Ravens before the power outage.

"Then the power went out, and it felt like we were waiting for an hour.

"We lost our momentum, and give credit to them because they came storming back."

The stunning turn of events began innocently enough with Kaepernick's 31-yard touchdown to his favorite target, Michael Crabtree.

Fans could sense the momentum changing. When Gore scored on a 6-yard run to make it 28-20 with 4:59 left in the third quarter, San Francisco fans became hysterical.

Before the third quarter was over, Akers' 34-yard field goal pulled the 49ers within 28-23.

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker responded with a 19-yard field goal to increase the lead to 31-23. When Kaepernick broke free around left end and didn't pull up until his 15-yard touchdown made it 31-29 with 9:57 remaining in the game.

The Ravens didn't score a touchdown in the second half, but they did get two field goals from Tucker, the second one a 38-yarder that boosted Baltimore's lead to 34-29 with 4:19 left.

Then Kaepernick and Gore ignited a drive that gave them a first down at the Baltimore 8-yard line after Gore's 32-yard run.

The 49ers gained 3 yards. They never got within the 5-yard line.

On fourth down, defensive coordinator Dean Pees called for a blitz, and Kaepernick had to throw the ball toward Crabtree before getting drilled. The pass was incomplete.

"It was frustrating to get down there and not score," 49ers offensive tackle Joe Staley said. "Five yards short. Everything we put into the offseason, everything we put into the season and postseason came down to 5 yards.

"We weren't able to get it done, and we tip our caps to the Ravens."

After the incompletion on fourth down, Jim Harbaugh was screaming for defensive holding, but no flags appeared.

"We got a spark, and I thought we were right at the brink of winning," Jim Harbaugh said.

"Our guys fought hard and competed."

John McClain is a staff football writer for the Houston Chronicle.

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