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How Much Did Power Outage Affect Ravens?

Posted Feb 5, 2013

Ed Reed said players started talking about it killing momentum. Then it happened.

UPDATE: Entergy New Orleans, Inc. took the blame for the blackout on Friday, saying a faulty electrical relay device was the issue.

If the Ravens hadn’t won Super Bowl XLVII, they could have had a power outage to blame.

The outage that delayed Sunday’s game for 34 minutes was a definite turning point. While both teams had to go through it, the Ravens felt it affected them more.

“Yes, it really hurt us. We had a lot of momentum,” fullback Vonta Leach said.

The delay worked against the Ravens from three perspectives.

First, it kept what was a hot offense that scored 21 points in the first half off the field. Because of the extended halftime, Jacoby Jones’ kickoff return touchdown and delay, the Ravens offense sat for 84 minutes. That’s longer than an entire NFL game.

Quarterback Joe Flacco sat on the turf, legs spread just waiting and occasionally stretching in the dim surroundings.

Instead of the quarterback throwing passes, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs lofted passes to fellow linebacker Paul Kruger as if they were a quarterback and wide receiver connecting on deep bombs.

“I thought old Jim Harbaugh had a little trick under his sleeve,” Suggs joked. “He ran into that Ravens buzz saw. He was like, ‘Hey, turn those lights off. Red team go. Red team go.’”

Second, the outage gave the 49ers a chance to regroup when they looked to be on the ropes.

Just three plays earlier, Jones returned the second half’s opening kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown to put Baltimore ahead by 22 points. The Ravens sacked San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick on the play just before the power outage.

At the time, the Superdome sounded as if it only housed Ravens fans. When the power returned the fans were not nearly as exuberant.

“It was really frustrating,” tight end Dennis Pitta said. “We had a ton of momentum at the time. It’s like someone from the 49ers went and flipped the switch or something. I think it worked to their favor, kind of settled things down. ... It came at the perfect time for the 49ers."

Lastly, it riled up the Ravens.

The Ravens talked about staying focused on the sidelines, but couldn’t help but let thoughts of being cheated from creeping into their minds and conversations. Head Coach John Harbaugh reamed out an NFL official, and later said he overreacted to the situation.

“The bad part was we started talking about it,” safety Ed Reed said. “It was like they were trying to kill our momentum. I was like, ‘there are two teams on this field.’ Once we started talking, it happened. We had to refocus and we did.”

The 49ers scored 17 unanswered points after the outage. Baltimore got back on track with back-to-back runs by Bernard Pierce, then a 30-yard gain on third down to wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

While most Ravens players said the power outage definitely stalled them, Boldin shrugged it off.

“Just another distraction,” he said. “We were able to play through it. So many times this year we had to deal with distractions.”

In terms of what caused the outage, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that is still being studied. He called it an abnormality and said a backup system was about to engage when the stadium's power was restored.

Goodell squashed rumors that the outage had to do with Beyonce’s high-energy halftime performance, and said it won’t affect a future New Orleans bid for another Super Bowl. New Orleans has interest in hosting again in 2018.

“The most important thing is to make sure that people understand it was a fantastic week here,” Goodell said Monday. “This will not affect the peoples’ view in the NFL about the success of the game here in New Orleans.”

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