The 49ers came to New Orleans hoping to attain the franchise’s sixth championship titles. The “Quest For Six” became the team’s and fans’ mantra throughout the postseason, especially the week leading up to the Super Bowl. But it’s a mantra that will have to wait another year.
The Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII, 34-31, and send the 49ers back to the Bay Area empty-handed after a whacky and peculiar game densely packed with drama and lots of Ray Lewis’ tears.
It was a tale of two halves, albeit not in the conventional sense, for the 49ers and Colin Kaepernick. San Francisco began the game all out of whack while the Ravens jumped out to a 21-6 before Beyonce did her damn thing at halftime. They supplemented their lead on the first play of the second half with Jacoby Jones’ 108-yard kickoff return, which brought the score to 28-6.
And then the nutty happened.
A power outage at the Superdome shut down the game for 34-minutes, as a throng of engineers scrambled to save themselves from being thrown in Roger Goodell’s death chamber.
But when play finally resumed (without us at least getting a Beyoncé encore, mind you), the roles reversed. Suddenly the Ravens looked as if it lost all the momentum and confidence it accumulated before the Blackout Bowl earned its name. Meantime, the 49ers became rejuvenated, especially their quarterback. After looking noticeably rattled and overmatched by the Ravens in the first half (throwing for 139 yards, with one pick and a 65.9 QB rating), Kap helped catalyze his team after the bizarre break in action.
As the Ravens sputtered, the Niners scored the next 17 points to cut Baltimore’s lead to just 8, and it appeared we were in for a redux of the NFC Championship game.
Kaepernick tallied two scores (one rushing and one passing) as he started to develop rhythm with his receivers and found room to run, finishing with over 302 passing yards and 62 rushing on the night. The Niners eventually came to within two points with 9:57 to play, following a failed two-point conversion after a 15-yard Kap scamper.
But, ultimately, the first 30 minutes and 11 seconds of the game proved too costly for the 49ers. Joe Flacco and the Ravens survived the 49ers’ scare (even if they may have gotten some help from the officials in the end).
Flacco was held out of the endzone in the second half, but by then his mark had already been made. He handed out all three of the Ravens’ scores in the team’s monster first half and finished with 287 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 124.2 QB rating on 22-of-33 passing on his way to being crowned with MVP honors and probably earning a parking pass at the Elite QB Clubhouse, which totally exists. It’s in Scottsdale. Phillip Rivers always tries to sneak in.
Kaepernick was the QB who was the hot story coming into this game, but Flacco was quietly right there with him all along. He finishes the postseason with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions while also having the right to say he took down both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in back-to-back games.
Now it’s Kaepernick who becomes Joe Cool’s latest victim. Kap, for all we know, may go on to have a better career, but in this game he was outplayed by Flacco, officially now the trillest guy who’s ever rocked a Fu Manchu.
On Sunday, Flacco looked like the one who had 13 career playoff starts, and Kap woefully looked like the one with 10 career starts.
But that latter fact might be the most disconcerting fact for the rest of the NFC. The Niners made it to the big game on the back of a guy who barely had double digit starts under his belt. The assumption is Kaepernick, mentored by Jim Harbaugh, can only go up from here, as is also the case for the 49ers.
The future is bright for football in The City. The Niners might need to tweak some things in the secondary and *ahem* at kicker, but the pieces are already in place on offense to become one of the NFL’s more dangerous and frightening teams for years to come.
The Quest For Six may have come up short this time. But for Kaepernick and the 49ers, at least the Quest isn’t kaput.
And now, various amazing things from the game:
Jim Harbaugh, about to murder somebody:
Harbaugh with perhaps a solid point:
B doing B: