Blackout on the Bayou
By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor
PHILADELPHIA (BASN / STR –ITR) New Orleans begins its tenth Super affair in good order; after the pre – everything, it’s time to finally play the damn game. Here now the view from the Armchair Press Box:
Ravens win the toss, defer to get the ball in second half; game notes are written drive by drive:
First Quarter: SF1: a 25 yard QB Colin Kaepernick pass completion to TE Vernon Davis is negated by a procedure penalty, setting up a conservative third and 15 call; punt to BAL 1 results in a successful TD drive by QB Joe Flacco, culminating in a 14 yard pass to WR Anquan Boldin after an offside penalty squashed an end zone incompletion to TE Dennis Pitta on third and nine (BAL 7, SF 0);
SF 2: Niners put nice drive together (TE Vernon Davis and WR Michael Crabtree carve up the middle of the zone) but have to settle for three on 36 yd FG by PK David Akers after a third and goal sack by DL Paul Kruger on Kaepernick (after Kaepernick missed a wide open Michael Crabtree on second and goal at the Ravens’ 8); Tucker converts. BAL 7 SF 3)
BAL 2: after WR Jacoby Jones returns 30 yards to the Raven 22, Flacco twice throws in the face of pressure to successfully move the ball downfield, the second on a nice catch by Boldin, putting them just inside the Niners’ 45; but DL Ray McDonald finally gets Flacco on third and 13 to stifle the drive as the quarter closes – Ravens to punt.
Second Quarter: SF3: P Koch punts for a touchback; Kaepernick fires a fastball down Broadway to Davis, who ‘Hi – yo – Silvers’ through Ravens’ secondary on two consecutive pass plays to the Raven 40; ‘Niners go ground via RBs Frank Gore and LaMichael James. On a pitchout to James, Ravens DE Courtney Upshaw pokes the ball out as James is tackled and DL Arthur Jones recovers for Ravens at their 25;
BAL 3: Flacco drives Ravens back downfield via runs by RBs Bernard Pierce and Ray Rice, and two receptions by TE Ed Dickson; face mask on the second reception against SS Donta Whitner puts the ball in the red zone; Flacco beats Whitner with a pass to Pitta for the score, Tucker converts. BAL 14 SF 3);
SF 4: James runs the kickoff back to SF 21. On a first down deep pass to WR Randy Moss, Kaepernick’s pass sails high and is picked off by FS Ed Reed, who returns it to the Niners 38; BAL 4: Ravens go ground but Rice makes a nice cut on third and three to gain a first down for Baltimore in the red zone. On third and nine, Flacco, due to blitz pressure, can’t find the open middle hot read and throws to the right corner of the end zone incomplete to WR Torrey Smith. On the FG attempt, PK Tucker fakes the attempt and runs for the first down – coming up one yard short.
SF 5: A three and out as Kaepernick had Moss open for a reception but double – clutched giving the CB Williams time to recover. BAL 5: As SF-P Andy Lee kicks the ‘Niners out of trouble, Flacco goes to the air twice before the two – minute warning. On third and 10 from the Ravens 45, Flacco beats the blitz and hits Jones downfield after a double move on CB Chris Culliver with a 55 yard bomb that Jones catches while falling down near the SF 10 but since he was untouched, Jones gets up past the recovering safety and outraces the defense into the end zone, Tucker converts. (BAL 21 SF 3)
SF6: Frisco drives downfield again; a roughing penalty and pass to Davis and TE Delaney Walker get the ball in the red zone again; but a coverage sack on a third and two kills the clock at three seconds for Akers, kicking a 27 yard FG as time expires.
Halftime Key Stats Flacco: 13 – 20, 192 yards, 3 TDs, Kaepernick, 8 – 13, 139 yards, 1 INT. Both defenses made key sacks, but Ravens have 2 to SF’s 1. Tight ends on both teams are feasting in the middle of the respective zones.
Third Quarter: BAL 6: Jacoby Jones provides House Music for Ravens’ fans with an electrifying 108-yard return for TD on the opening kickoff, a post – season record (somewhere my friend and die hard Raven fan Reuben Traynham is break – dancing! BAL 28 SF 6)
SF 7: Kaepernick throws a 29-yard pass on first down to Crabtree after touchback but is sacked by Jones a couple plays later. With 13:22 on the clock in the third quarter, the lights in the Superdome go out; cut to commercial (every 30 seconds on –air is worth $3.8 million dollars a shot)
Our colleague from WUFO AM 1080 Pat Freeman reports from the ‘Dome that the scoreboard is still out and now the lights are about three quarters full after about 15 minutes lapsed; revealed the 49ers secondary is getting shredded but the middle has been paying off for both teams:
Play resumes after 34 minutes, 49ers come up short on a third and 13; Lee punts for a touchback; two commercials run, $7.6 million made…
BAL 7: Ravens back on offense after an 84-minute lapse (halftime, power outage and last 49er drive) SF 8: Moss keeps drive alive with a reception on third and eight to gain a first down at midfield. After a 19 yard pass to Davis, Kaepernick finds Crabtree, who bounces off two defenders and scores from 31 yards out. Akers converts. (BAL 28, SF 13)
BAL 8: Flacco gets a three and out, and credit for holding onto the ball after LB Brooks clocks him on a third down blitz; SF 9: WR Ted Ginn Jr. returns Koch’s punt 30 yards to the Ravens 22. After a pass to Davis picks up a dozen, Gore sweeps right side untouched courtesy of a wicked block by Walker. Akers converts. (BAL 28 SF 20)
BAL 9: Report DT Haloti Ngata hurt after the last TD drive. Flacco throws a flat pass to Rice, who fumbles on the Raven 25; DB Tarell Brown recovers for SF; SF 10: On a third and seven, Kaepernick misses Ginn Jr. in the end zone; a 39 yard FG attempt by Akers misses, but a running into the kicker penalty against DL Chucky Brown gains Akers a second shot from 34; he converts! (BAL 28 SF 23)
BAL 10: Flacco gets a breather thanks to some hard running by Boldin on a third and three catch. Bernard Pierce slithers away from major pressure on a third and 1 as he bops down to the 49er 18-yard line, ending a wild third quarter.
Fourth Quarter: Ngata reported with sprained knee – out. Boldin snags for a first and goal at the ‘Niners 5. On third and goal, Flacco opts to bootleg, ‘Niners read it like The Chronicle and forces him into an incompletion. Tucker hits the chippie FG from 19. (BAL 31 SF 23)
SF 11: James brings it out to the 24 after kickoff. Kaepernick hits Moss for 32 yards; Gore gashes for another 25 where Ngata was clogging up the hole earlier; Kaepernick then beats the blitz on the ground with a 15-yard scamper around the left side for the score. ‘Niners go for the two-point conversion and miss on the incomplete pass. (BAL 31 SF 29)
BAL 11: Flacco was in deep doo doo deep in his territory, but was bailed out on the first pass interference penalty called on Culliver grabbing Torrey Smith after an incompletion on third down. Boldin bails out Flacco again on a ballsy third and inches moving the ball to the San Fran 40; Rice picks up 12 more off tackle. After an offsides penalty on third and seven knocks it to third and two, Flacco throws incomplete to Pitta; Tucker hits from 38 yards! (BAL 34, SF 29)
SF 12: Colin Kaepernick has the ball with 4:19 remaining.
Gore starts with a whole lotta seven on the ground, Kaepernick misses Davis (actually Davis drops a bomb) but Kaepernick whistles a missile to Crabtree, moving them up to the Ravens’ 40. Frank Gore rips through the D for 33 yards and ‘Niners are now first and goal from the 5;
Two Minute Warning: 49ers second and goal from the 5; pass falls incomplete; third down time out is called just as play clock hits zero. After a timeout a pass to Crabtree on the two is incomplete.
On Fourth Down, a rushed Kaepernick, throws in the right corner of the end zone to Crabtree; pass is incomplete, Ravens ball.
BAL 12: Ravens protect the ball and eat clock, the timeout called by ‘Frisco deprives ‘Niners of a vital 45 seconds worth of clock. Ravens have to punt with 11 seconds remaining. Koch eats up seven seconds running around in the end zone before conceding the safety, changing the odds outcome and billions of dollars in another direction. Four seconds remaining on the clock. (BAL 34 SF 31)
SF 13: Although San Fran can call for a fair catch, Ginn Jr. opts to return the punt from about his 20. He gets to midfield before he’s tackled and time runs out.
Post Game: I am happy for Ray Lewis, but also for Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, and the rest; but I am especially happy for Mr. O.J. Brigance, who I had the pleasure of meeting when he played in the Canadian Football League. Brigance played on the 1994 CFL Champion British Columbia Lions and I covered the team that wonderful year.
While Joe Flacco was awarded the Most Valuable Player award, I feel punter Sam Koch won the MVP in Vegas (tee hee)
Colin Kaepernick is no joke; he played great under the circumstances, and for Bill Cowher to cry like some bitch about using Alex Smith after the power went out was among the most ridiculous shit I’ve ever heard come out the mouth of a “journalist” – sadly apropos after the nonsense that came out during the two-week Super break.
If this game was Ray Lewis’ Last Ride, Jim Caldwell was doing the driving. The move to bring Caldwell in was the difference (in my humble) in getting the Ravens over the hump. So for all the haters and assholes who said Caldwell can’t coach, he’s led two QBs to Super Bowl wins.
Peyton Manning knew that Joe Flacco knows that and so did all the League lemmings; they play at being insiders because they can dial it up, but can’t translate it.
The officials, for the most part, let them play, and it should be a wake – up call for League to stop this Pum Pum Ball get a hard – on off of statistics fantasy football folderol instead of respecting how defense truly wins championships.
Congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens – now Two-Time Super Bowl Champions!!!
Always outnumbered, never outgunned.
Copyright c 2013 Michael – Louis Ingram all rights reserved.