NEW ORLEANS — Call it the Blackout Bowl. Call it Blackout Gate. Call it whatever you want.
Baltimore will call it an NFL title.
The Ravens overcame a 34-minute delay due to a power outage in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, holding off the San Francisco 49ers 34-31to earn their second-ever Super Bowl win.
It wasn’t easy thanks to a bizarre delay.
Just after Jacoby Jones set a Super Bowl record with a 108-yard kickoff return giving Baltimore a 28-6 lead to open the second half, the lights suddenly went out in three quarters of the stadium.
With little else to do, players lay on the field, stretching and trying to keep warm. Fans, meanwhile, tried to start the wave in an effort to keep their attention.
Entergy said power was never lost to the Superdome’s transmission lines. After the game, Entergy and SMG – which manages the Superdome – said piece of equipment that monitors electrical loads senses an abnormality, shutting down a breaker.
But when it came back on, San Francisco took advantage, rolling off 17 unanswered points.
Baltimore, though, came through with the biggest plays of the night.
San Francisco was knocking on the end zone to grab its first lead in the final two minutes thanks to Frank Gore’s 33-yard run to the Baltimore 7. The Ravens’ defense came up with four straight stops and cemented the win.
After Baltimore punter Sam Koch took a safety, eating eight seconds off the clock, San Francisco had only four seconds left to trie and do something. It couldn't and the Ravens held on.
Baltimore won in spite of getting outgained by nearly 100 yards. The Ravens allowed second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick to completely 16 passes for 302 yards and a score. But the Ravens took the ball away twice, including an interception of Kaepernick by Ed Reed.
The Ravens were helped by New Orleans native Jones, who caught one pass for 56 yards and returned the kickoff for a touchdown.
The game appeared headed for a blowout in the first half.
Baltimore’s defense forced a punt on the initial 49ers series and immediately took advantage of field position. Joe Flacco, who was 22 of 33 for 287 yards and three touchdowns in the game, put Baltimore up 7-o less than five minutes into the game with a beautifully placed pass to receiver Anquan Boldin in the end zone.
San Francisco appeared to be on its way to tying the game and on second down in the red zone, the 49ers had what they wanted. But Kaepernick’s pass was too high for Michael Crabtree, who tipped the pass away from Randy Moss in the end zone. The 49ers instead settled for a David Akers 36-yard field goal and pulled within 7-3 with 3:58 to go in the first quarter.
The Ravens forced the first turnover of the game, knocking the ball out of the hands of San Francisco’s LaMichael James at Baltimore’s 25. Ten plays later, Flacco tossed his second touchdown of the game, hitting tight end Dennis Pitta for a 1-yard score and a 14-3 lead with 7:10 to go in the first half.
Then, on San Francisco’s next play, Kaepernick overthrew his intended receiver and into the hand of Baltimore’s Ed Reed. But the 49ers forced a 32-yard field goal attempt. Well, what was supposed to be one. Instead, kicker Justin Tucker took the direct snap and sprinted around left end only to be stopped six yards shy of the first down.
It didn’t matter. After forcing a punt, Flacco tossed his third touchdown of the game on a third-and-10, hitting receiver Jacoby Jones for a 56-yard score. Jones actually was underthrown after getting behind the San Francisco defense. He caught the ball stumbling to the ground, got up, spun away from a defender and got into the end zone for a 21-3 lead.
Akers’ second field goal of the game cut the 49ers’ deficit to 21-6 at halftime.
And then Jones sent the Ravens’ sideline into delirium, racing 109-yard kickoff return to open the second half, giving Baltimore a 28-6 lead.
Then the blackout occurred and, as the electricity came on, so, too, did San Francisco.
The 49ers came up with a defensive stop and then marched 80 yards in seven plays, cutting into the deficit to 28-13 when Michael Crabtree caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from Kaepernick.
Another defensive stop was followed by a 32-yard Ted Ginn Jr. punt return and the 49ers were suddenly within striking distance after Frank Gore’s 6-yard touchdown run. Suddenly, the 49ers were down only 28-20.
Ray Rice’s third fumble of the postseason gave San Francisco the ball back in Baltimore territory. Akers hit a 34-yard field goal and with 3:10 to go in the third quarter, the 49ers were down 28-23.
Baltimore stemmed the momentum, using a 71-yard, 5 minute, 16 second drive to push its lead back to eight at 31-23 with 12:54 to go in the game.
Kaepernick then put San Francisco in position to tie the game with a 15-yard touchdown run, but Reed came untouched off the edge on the 2-point conversion forcing the quarterback to throw early and incomplete. Instead of being tied, Baltimore still led 31-29.
Tucker’s 38-yard field goal pushed Baltimore’s lead to 34-29 with a little more than four minutes to play.