The 49ers lost a heartbreaker with a 34-31 loss against the Ravens on Sunday evening at Super Bowl XLVII. This was the second Super Bowl win in Ravens’ history. It is the first Super Bowl loss by the 49ers in team history and they now have a 5-1 all-time record.
“They made plays and we didn’t,” said Carlos Rogers. “They came through on defense and offense as well as special teams. We kept coming back, we were putting up field goals, but we had a chance, and we didn’t close it out.”
With 4:19 remaining in the game, the 49ers had a chance to take the lead. Michael Crabtree had a 24-yard reception and Frank Gore had a 33-yard gain to get inside the 10-yard line. Unfortunately, the drive stalled with a two-yard run by LaMichael James and three consecutive incompletions for a turnover on downs. On fourth down, the Ravens called a heavy blitz and forced an incomplete pass intended for Michael Crabtree. It was controversial because some thought Jimmy Smith held Crabtree going for the ball.
The 49ers dug themselves a 28-6 hole after the opening play of the second half when Jacoby Jones returned a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown. A 34-minute delay where the lights in the Mercedes-Benz Louisiana Superdome gave the 49ers extra time to refocus and adjust their game plan.
After going three and out, Michael Crabtree capped off an 80 yard, seven play drive with a 31-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead by seven. After forcing a three and out, the Ted Ginn returned the ensuing punt for 32-yards to put the 49ers in the red zone. Frank Gore finished the drive with a six-yard touchdown run to the right, making the score 28-20.
The 49ers pounced on fumble by Ray Rice on the next possession, leading to a 34-yard field goal by David Akers. The Ravens responded with a field goal of their own with a 19-yard kick by Tucker.
Colin Kaepernick later engineered a five-play, 76 yard drive that ended with a touchdown. He called his own number with a 15-yard scramble to the left to bring the 49ers within two points. The 49ers failed to get the two-point conversion attempt with an incomplete pass to make the score 31-29. Tucker added a field goal to put the Ravens up by five.
“We felt we were going to win the football game,” said Donte Whitner. “We thought we were gonna punch it in on the five yard line.”
To start the game after forcing a three and out, the Ravens began with great field position when Jacoby Jones returned the ball to the 49 yard line. Joe Flacco found Torrey Smith for 20 yards and Ahmad Brooks jumped offsides on third and four to give the Ravens another chance. Anquan Boldin ended the drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to put the Ravens up 7-0.
The 49ers answered back with a 36-yard field goal by David Akers. Colin Kaepernick found Vernon Davis for a 24-yard gain to put the 49ers in the red zone. The drive stalled when Paul Kruger sacked Kaepernick on third down.
They had another chance to extend their lead with Vernon Davis leading them into Ravens territory. On the 25-yard line, Courtney Upshaw forced a fumble by LaMichael James for the first turnover of the game. The Ravens would capitalize with a 10-play, 75 yard drive that was finished off by a 1-yard touchdown pass to Dennis Pitta to make the score 14-3.
The Ravens were knocking on the door again when they were in the red zone, but the drive stalled with them attempting a fake field goal. On fourth and nine, Justin Tucker took the snap and only gained 7 yards. The 49ers went three and out on the ensuing possession and forced a punt.
On the next drive, the Ravens were given good field position again when Jacoby Jones returned the punt to the 45-yard line. After two incompletions, Jones showed he was dangerous through the air when he caught a stunning 56-yard touchdown pass from Flacco. He fell down, but was untouched by Chris Culliver and Donte Whitner. Jones was able to stand up and run to the left on the outside for the Ravens’ third touchdown of the game.
The 49ers ended the first half with a 27-yard field goal by David Akers. Kaepernick was able to find Delanie Walker for gains of 14 and 28 yards to set up the score.
“We fought back and the offense drove down and didn’t put it in,” said Rogers. “But it’s not on them, it’s on us. They put up too many points on our defense, and we didn’t get them off the field when we needed to.”
Jim Harbaugh said the team fought valiantly, but still didn’t like what he saw from the no-call on the fourth down.
“Our guys battled back to get back in it,” Harbaugh said. “We competed and battled to win. Yes, there’s no question in my mind that there was a pass interference and then a hold on Crabtree on the last one.”
In the end, the 49ers took one step further than last season making the big stage, but ended it coming up short in the Super Bowl.