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Super Bowl XLVII Recap: Ravens 34, 49ers 31


Call it The Countdown.

The Ravens' backs were against the wall. First-and-goal from the 7-yard line. This was the game.

As Baltimore's defense made each tackle, the players shouted to each other, counting down the number of stops they needed.

Two-yard run – three more to go. Incomplete pass – two more. Incomplete pass – one more. Fourth down incompletion – Super Bowl champions.

After seeing a 22-point, third-quarter lead disappear in the blink of an eye. After enduring a power outage and delay that axed the Ravens' momentum. After a season full of trials.

After a season full of trials, the Ravens overcome once again to beat the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31, in Super Bowl XLVII and claim the franchise's second Lombardi Trophy.

The Ravens made a goal-line stand. And that made them World Champions.

"Backs against the wall," linebacker Ray Lewis said after sitting down at his post-game locker one last time. "Backs against the wall."

The Ravens' season was defined by adversity. So how could the Super Bowl be any different?

"It's never pretty. It's never perfect. But that's us," Head Coach John Harbaugh said to the Superdome crowd from the winner's podium.

The Ravens stormed out to a 15-point lead at halftime. Then they seemed to break the game open when Jacoby Jones returned the second half's opening kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown. Baltimore had San Francisco right where it wanted it.

And with that, the lights went out – literally and figuratively.

Power was lost and Superdome lights went out, suspending play for 34 minutes. When play resumed, it was almost instantly a different game.

All of the Ravens' momentum was gone. Their boisterous crowd was quieted. The momentum shifted.

The 49ers scored 17 points within a span of just four minutes, 14 seconds. In hardly any time at all, Baltimore's lead was cut to just five points. A Colin Kaepernick touchdown with 9:57 remaining left Baltimore ahead by just two.

"It was nothing new for us," outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "We've [been] in those types of battles. We just stayed together. We had to win four plays."

Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe stuffed running back LaMichael James for just 2 yards on first down. Then a pass intended for wide receiver Michael Crabtree was thrown out of reach. Crabtree caught the next pass, but had the ball busted out of his hands by cornerback Jimmy Smith.

On fourth down, Smith knew they were going to come at him again.

"I figured it would either be a slant or a fade. I saw Kaepernick tap the back of his head so I figured it would be a back-shoulder fade."

Smith muscled up against Crabtree and the pass was too far out of reach. There was still 1:46 left to burn, but after some runs and a smart purposeful safety, the Ravens left the 49ers only one final free punt to return with four seconds.

And once Baltimore secured the tackle, they all experienced the confetti Lewis had long talked about. They danced around the field and made snow angels lying on the field.

"For us to stand up like that, it is just a testament of what we've been through and how much trust we had all year in each other," Lewis said.

The 17-year linebacker sat with his children surrounding him at his locker afterwards. He had just played his final game and done something few athletes can ever claim. He went out on top.

"We get to ride off into the sunset, babies," Lewis said.

While Baltimore's defense made the final game-winning stop, the Ravens put up 34 points against one of the league's best defenses.

Quarterback Joe Flacco, long questioned as to whether he belongs among the NFL "elite," hoisted the Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl MVP.

Flacco was on fire throughout the night and finished completing 22-of-33 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns, good for a 124.2 quarterback rating.

"He's got guts of a burglar," Harbaugh said.

"People should shut up about Joe," said wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who logged six receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown. "I'm so sick of people saying Joe's not an elite quarterback. For all the critics who say he's not, ask them how many rings they have."

As the Ravens walked into locker room following their post-game celebration, they party was somewhat more muted than one might expect.

They savored it. They laughed with each other. They finally exhaled.

The Ravens, one time losers of four of their last five games, went on a crazy postseason run. They took out Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. They slayed Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. They toppled Tom Brady and the Patriots.

In Super Bowl XLVII, they overcame the other brother, Jim Harbaugh, and his talented, resilient team.

Safety Ed Reed was the final player out of the Ravens locker room. And the veteran could only take it in with a cigar hanging out of his mouth.

"Mission complete," he said.

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