Ravens win game of two halves
Baltimore Ravens 34 San Francisco 49ers 31:The lights went out at the Superdome during the Super Bowl. Only then did the game really begin. In a sporting event that has seen spectacular finishes as well as an infamous wardrobe malfunction during a halftime performance, the electricity at the Superdome stole the show last night, interrupting the third quarter for more than a half-hour and seemingly shifting the momentum of the game in a dramatic way.
Moments after the Ravens' Jacoby Jones returned the opening kickoff of the second half 108 yards for a touchdown, giving Baltimore a 22-point lead, the stadium's power failed. That plunged the teams, the 71,024 fans in attendance and millions of television viewers into low light and raised the sort of question that sports fans love to ponder: How might such a weird interruption affect the game?
After 34 minutes in which players stretched, fans did the wave and Ravens coach John Harbaugh screamed at a league official in a suit, play resumed and the teams had their answer. The energy had leaked out of the Ravens during the unexpected break, allowing the San Francisco 49ers to surge to within 2 points, but Baltimore held on for a 34-31 victory.
It was the first Super Bowl in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina turned the Superdome into a shelter instead of a stadium, and the first time brothers opposed each other in the game as coaches. Jim Harbaugh, who at 49 is a year younger than John, saw his 49ers come up short on a last-minute drive inside the Ravens' 10-yard-line.
"How could it be any other way?" John Harbaugh said after the Ravens captured their Super Bowl title. "It's never pretty. It's never perfect. But it is us."
When they were growing up, the Harbaugh brothers learned about coaching by watching their father. From their mother, though, they learned something that might help them on the day after the Super Bowl: always have your brother's back. When they met at midfield as the confetti fell for John's team, Jim patted his older brother on the cheek. "I love you," John said, not smiling. "Good job."
The Ravens had dominated the first half, with quarterback Joe Flacco nimbly escaping pressure to throw three touchdown passes, including a 56-yarder to Jones on third and 10 in which Jones fell when he caught the ball at about the 9-yard
line, got up and outsprinted the 49ers defence to the end zone. After the 49ers settled for a short field goal at the end of the first half, and Jones opened the second half with his touchdown return, it appeared the Ravens would cruise to a victory, a triumph of the older brother who had long been overshadowed athletically by his younger sibling. No team had ever overcome a deficit of more than 10 points to win the Super Bowl.
But the 49ers have been slow to start throughout the postseason, gaining energy as gradually as the stadium lights did. This was the third straight playoff game in which the 49ers' opponent scored first, and the long game delay seemed to steal the Ravens' momentum and give the 49ers a few minutes to regroup from the shock of Jones' return. They had experience with this, after all. The power had gone out at Candlestick Park, their home stadium, last season, during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 49ers won that game.