49ers set to meet Ravens again, their last Super Bowl foe
The Baltimore Ravens were on their way to a Super Bowl blowout when things really got dark.
Super Bowl 47 between the Ravens and San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 3, 2013, was pegged as the first between head coaches who were brothers. Jim Harbaugh stood on the San Francisco sideline and John Harbaugh guided Baltimore while their parents watched within the Superdome.
That storyline was compelling, as was the fact that this would be the last game for future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis, who announced one month earlier that he would end his stellar 17-year career with the Ravens after the season.
Though the two Harbaughs stood on opposite sidelines of each other, Jacoby Jones returned a kickoff for a Super Bowl-record 108 yards, then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick nearly orchestrated a miracle comeback and outcome was in doubt until the final play, this game - 4 hours and 14 minutes from start to finish - will be remembered as The Night the Lights Went Out in New Orleans.
Three first-half touchdown passes by Joe Flacco and Jones’ electrifying kickoff return to start the third quarter staked Baltimore to a 28-6 lead. The Ravens were riding a crest of momentum that seemed certain to propel them to their second NFL title when the unexpected occurred: A huge bank of lights within the stadium went dark, bringing the game to an eerie halt.
For 34 minutes, the players, coaches and fans loitered in semi-darkness. Understanding that this astonishing delay could, ironically, suck the energy out of the team, John Harbaugh gathered the Ravens together and offered up an impromptu speech.
He said: “I’ll remind you of that Motown song. There ain’t no mountain high enough, and there ain’t no valley low enough, and there’s nothing that’s going to keep us from winning this championship. Not this, and not nothing. We’re going to win this game, no matter how long it takes.”
Turns out, he was right. But not before Kaepernick almost brought the 49ers all the way back.
Operating a high-powered attack under the direction of offensive coordinator Greg Roman - who now holds the same job with the Ravens - Kaepernick rallied San Francisco with his legs and gifted right arm.
Running for 5 and 15 yards to open an 80-yard drive, Kaepernick completed an 18-yard pass to tight end Vernon Davis before connecting with Michael Crabtree for a 31-yard score to make it 28-13 with 7:28 left in the third quarter.
A touchdown run by Frank Gore and a field goal by David Akers made it 28-23, and suddenly, it was anyone’s game.
After Justin Tucker kicked a field goal for Baltimore, Kaepernick responded with a 15-yard touchdown run. Though the 2-point conversion try failed, the 49ers were now within 31-29 with 9:57 to go.
Tucker made it 34-29 before Kaepernick took San Francisco from its 20 to the Baltimore 7 for a first down with 2:39 remaining.
A 2-yard run and three straight incompletions followed, though Jim Harbaugh probably still is livid that Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith wasn’t called for pass interference on a fourth-down pass to Crabtree.
Baltimore subsequently ran three times before Sam Koch lined up to punt out of his own end zone. He took the snap, shuffled around and ran out of bounds for a safety with 4 seconds left.
That led to a free kick, and Ted Ginn was tackled as time ran out.
As Lewis and the Ravens celebrated, Jim and John Harbaugh met in the middle of the field to offer congratulations to each other for getting through one heck of a Super Bowl.
Days later, it was determined that the power failure was caused by a device installed specifically to prevent the lights from going out.
The company that supplies power to the Superdome said the device had been installed to protect the Superdome from a cable failure between the company’s incoming power line and the lines that run into the stadium.
Obviously, it didn’t work. And neither did Baltimore’s offense after the lights finally came back on.
The Ravens managed only two field goals following the power failure, but Flacco did enough beforehand to earn Super Bowl MVP honors. He completed 22 of 37 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
That capped a playoff run in which Flacco completed 73 of 126 passes for 1,140 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions, producing a 117.2 passer rating - the highest ever for a postseason since 1970, the year the AFL and NFL merged.
Soon after that, Flacco received the biggest contract ever for an NFL quarterback. But his stay in Baltimore ended last year, when rookie Lamar Jackson took over as the starter. Flacco was traded to Denver this past offseason and will finish the year on injured reserve.