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Ravens withstand comeback and edge 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII

Updated: February 4, 2013 1:21AM



NEW ORLEANS — There was a dominating start to what looked like a throttling-in-the-making for the Baltimore Ravens.

Then there was an explosive comeback by the San Francisco 49ers.

In between, there was a power outage that lasted 34 minutes.

This was Super Bowl XLVII at the Superdome.

When it was over, it was the Ravens — led by quarterback Joe Flacco’s big first half, a goal-line stand in the final minutes and a big game from receiver Jacoby Jones — who pulled out a 34-31 victory Sunday.

It was a slugfest till the end.

Trailing 34-29 with 2:39 left, the 49ers had first-and-goal from the 7-yard line, but the Ravens’ defense stood its ground. After a short run by LaMichael James, the Ravens forced three consecutive incompletions by Colin Kaepernick.

‘‘How else can you finish that off but with a goal-line stand?’’ Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said. ‘‘That is championship football.’’

As for the pregame story lines:

◆ Lewis, a future Hall of Fame linebacker and a lightning rod for controversy, will retire a two-time champion. Safety Ed Reed won his first ring after 11 hard-hitting seasons.

‘‘To do it for the hometown in the hometown and to do it for Baltimore, there can’t be a better feeling than that,’’ said Reed, who had an interception. ‘‘It was probably one of the best Super Bowls you’ll ever see.’’

◆ Ravens coach John Harbaugh beat his younger brother, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, with their parents in the stands in the first Super Bowl between two head-coaching brothers.

‘‘The meeting with Jim in the middle [after the game] was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done,’’ John Harbaugh said. ‘‘I’m proud of him.’’

◆ Flacco ensured he’ll be paid this offseason by capping a memorable postseason with an MVP performance. He was exceptional, especially in the first half, and finished 22-for-33 for 287 yards, three touchdowns and a 124.2 passer rating.

‘‘We’ll have this thing forever,’’ said Flacco, who connected with Anquan Boldin, Dennis Pitta and Jones for touchdowns.

◆ Kaepernick shook off some early struggles and his teams’ penalties and turnovers to put together a stunning second-half rally. The 49ers scored 17 points in a span of 4 minutes, 10 seconds in the third quarter. Kaepernick (16-for-28, 302 yards, 62 rushing yards) pulled the 49ers to 31-29 on a 15-yard run with 9:57 left in the fourth, but the two-point conversion failed.

‘‘He makes it go, and their offense is incredible,’’ John Harbaugh said. ‘‘There’s so many problems that they pose.’’

Jones, who deftly maneuvered his way into the end zone on his 56-yard touchdown catch, returned the second-half kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown. Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger also had a big day with two key sacks.

Kicker Justin Tucker, who failed to make a first down on a fake field goal in the second quarter, made 19- and 38-yard field goals in the fourth to help the Ravens maintain their lead.

After the Ravens’ goal-line stand in the final minutes, punter Sam Koch took a safety for the final margin.

‘‘We have a team that, no matter what the situation is, we’re going to overcome it to the best of our ability,’’ Flacco said. ‘‘It’s kind of fitting that we won like that today.’’



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