Baltimore Ravens secure Super Bowl XVLII by narrow margin

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Sibling rivalries are always hard fought, but magnify a brother verses brother bout on the biggest stage in professional football and you get a dog fight. Despite being the underdog, the San Francisco 49ers were able to give the Baltimore Ravens more than a run for their money. 

The first quarter began with the Ravens scoring on the opening drive after quarterback Joe Flacco connected with wide receiver Anquan Boldin on a 13-yard touchdown pass. The 49ers would eventually muster up a drive that ended with a 36-yard make for kicker David Akers, yet the triumph was short-lived. 

The 49ers defense had no answer for the powerful Ravens offense, as Flacco would connect on two more touchdown passes before the first half ended; the first being a one-yard completion to tight end Dennis Pitta and the second a 56-yard bomb to receiver Jacoby Jones.

Under the emotional leadership of veteran linebacker Ray Lewis, the Ravens did not allow any player in red and gold to cross the goal line in the first half. However, the 49ers’ David Akers was able to connect on a 27-yard kick before the end of the second quarter, leaving the score at halftime 21–6 in favor of the Ravens. 

Now is the part where the 49ers regroup, get fired up and start the second half off with a bang, right? 

Wrong. 

Ravens’ receiver  Jones opened up the second half with a 108-yard kickoff return, tying the longest kickoff return in NFL Super Bowl history.

However, the stars suddenly aligned for the 49ers. A power outage occurred at the Superdome in New Orleans during Super Bowl XVLII, causing a significant 35-minute delay. 

Despite failing to convert the first down after the delay on a third and 13, 49ers quarterback sensation Colin Kaepernick led his team on an offensive explosion, throwing a 31-yard completion to wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Crabtree shed tacklers as he found the end zone, as did 49ers running back Frank Gore, whose six-yard run capped a two-play, 20-yard drive.

The 49ers were not done yet as Akers connected on yet another field goal, bringing the third quarter to a close with 17 unanswered 49ers points and a score of 28–23 still in favor of the Ravens.

The fourth quarter began at a stalemate until Ravens kicker Justin Tucker booted in a 19-yard kick to make the score 31–23, with the Ravens ahead. Then Kaepernick, just as he has done throughout the playoffs, showed his impressive speed on a 15-yard run for a touchdown, bringing the game to its closest deficit of 31–29.

After a failed two-point conversion, the 49ers trailed by only two until Tucker struck again, this time with a 38-yard field goal and that gave the Ravens a five-point lead. Despite a controversial “no-call” on Crabtree, the 49ers were denied a touchdown. 

After an intentional safety in an effort to run out the clock, the Ravens punted to wide receiver Ted Ginn, who was tackled short of the end zone. Ray Lewis—who had announced this would be his last game in the NFL—and the Baltimore Ravens emerged victorious with a 34–31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.