This game had the earmarks of a tough defensive contest, and in the end it was the efforts of Ray Lewis & Co. which sealed the win for Baltimore. Maybe I'm spoiled by some of the great Super Bowl games I've seen in the past? If so, it would explain why I don't think this latest rendition of the biggest sports extravaganza on Earth lived up to past NFL championship games.
Joe Flacco looked good, completing 22 of 33 passing attempts for 287 yards and 3 TDs. The Ravens' rushing attack was a no-show for the entire game, which kind of shocked me. Ray Rice had just 59 yards on 20 attempts. The biggest plays of the game for Baltimore were a 108 yard kick off return by Jacoby Jones, and his 56 yard catch for a TD. The Ravens scored twice more on red zone receptions by Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta. All this scoring happened in the first 30 minutes and 11 seconds of the game. The rest of the game - after the incredibly long blackout that saw half the lights in the Super Dome go out - the Ravens managed ugly field goals. Something about the blackout caused the Ravens to revert to a stumbling, bumbling team. They coughed up the ball, or gave the 49ers great field position for the entire third quarter.
The 49ers were abysmal during the first half, making the Ravens look more like the 2011 Green Bay Packers offense. Their top ranked defense appeared to lost during the first half, putting the 49ers in a 21-6 hole at half time. Colin Kaepernick looked rough, though he did finish with 302 yards passing (16 for 28), and rushed for 62 yards, adding a TD in the air to one on the ground. But the big story is how bad the 49ers defense looked in the first half. Did I say bad? Scratch that, and insert the word "horrible". Famed sack master Aldon Smith was held in check all game, as was defensive tackle Justin Smith. Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks had the best day for the 49ers on defense, racking up a sack and a few key plays along the way. Corner back Chris Culliver was the goat of the day, getting beat often, or showing his frustration as he earned the evil eye of the game's referees.
If it weren't for the seven hours of pregame shows, I'd have sworn this was a week #3 or #4 regular season game with little on the line. Beyonce looked good though, and Alicia Keys did a great job doing a dusky, slow version of "The Star Spangled Banner". The stars of the pregame songs had to be Jennifer Hudson and the Sandy Hook childrens' chorus as they sang "America the Beautiful" Great stuff there... Here's the thing - I never pay much attention to half time shows, or anyone but the players involved in the game. Odd isn't it, that the high points marked in my mind were ones that had little to do with the actual contest?
Joe Flacco won the Super Bowl MVP, though Jacoby Jones got my vote. It was that kind of game though. The MVP award usually defaults to the winning team's quarterback in a game like this one. What kind of game, you ask? Yawn...