The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

February 3, 2013

Lights out: Ravens beat 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl

NEW ORLEANS — From blowout to blackout to shootout, Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens had just enough power to survive one of the most electric Super Bowls ever.

The outage flipped the momentum to the San Francisco 49ers, but the Ravens used a last-gasp defensive stand to hold on Sunday night, 34-31.

America’s biggest sporting event came to a half-hour standstill in the third quarter when most of the Superdome lights and the scoreboards went dark. By then, the Ravens had a 22-point lead.

Everything changed after that, though, and the 49ers staged a sensational rally before Ray Lewis and Co. shut it down. But there were plenty of white-knuckle moments and the Ravens (14-6) had to make four stops inside their 7 at the end.

For a Super Bowl with so many subplots, it almost had to end this way.

Flacco’s arrival as a championship quarterback coincides with Lewis’ retirement — with a second Super Bowl ring no less. The win capped a sensational month since the star linebacker announced he was leaving the game after 17 Hall of Fame-caliber years.

The sibling rivalry between the coaching Harbaughs went to John, older than Jim by 15 months.

“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.”

At 4 hours, 14 minutes, it was the longest Super Bowl ever. Among the most thrilling, too.

The loss of power delayed the game 34 minutes and left players from both sides stretching and chatting with each other. It also cost Baltimore whatever momentum it built, and that was considerable after Jacoby Jones’ 108-yard kickoff return and Flacco’s three touchdown passes made it 28-6.

Flacco’s big start boosted him to the MVP award.

“They have to give it to one guy and I’m not going to complain that I got it,” said Flacco, who soon will get a rich new contract. His current deal expired with this win.

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