'General' leads Ravens to Super Bowl victory

Joe Flacco is a gunslinger. Those who doubted him during the regular season now sing a different tune.

It's hard to believe that a quarterback whose jersey was selling for 50 percent off in Baltimore stores was named the player of the game in the AFC Championship and the Super Bowl MVP. ( MORE )

As the quiet and mellow Flacco led his team to a Super Bowl victory and tied NFL records, it was hard to believe there were doubters and naysayers at the start of the 2012 season up to the start of the playoffs.

Synonymous with Baltimore are guys like Johnny Unitas, Cal Ripken and with the end of his NFL career, Ray Lewis is among them. As Joe Flacco completed passes that would make a Greek god jealous, in the first half of Super Bowl 47, he may have earned his place among them.

Flacco and the Ravens defeated the 49ers 34-31 in what will surely go down as one of the best games in Super Bowl history.

Fans stood in their seats and roared as Flacco picked apart the 49ers secondary for nearly 200 passing yards in the first half of the game. Seats shook, and screams drowned out the game's play-by-play announcer.

Play after play, the impossible happened in the first half as Joe Flacco scrambled, broke tackles and completed passes as he was knocked to the ground or out of bounds.

"That first half ended up being a really big part of the game," Flacco said. "..We were able to get it done in the first half."

Doing their part was the Ravens' defense, led by soon-to-be-legend Ray Lewis. Lewis said it best after the wildcard game win over the Colts -- Flacco is a general. Like a general, he dropped bombs on his enemy – the longest a 56-yard touchdown pass to New Orleans native Jacoby Jones that put the Ravens in position to go into the locker room up 21-6 at halftime.

"I had to step up and throw the ball on the run," Flacco said. "Jacoby had great concentration. I didn't want to overthrow him there. He just did a good job coming down with that football."

In the first half Flacco's performance overshadowed that of Colin Kaepernick, a dangerous run-and-gun quarterback that many analysts expected to be a dominant force in Super Bowl 47.

For Ravens fans, at least, his performance also outshined that of Beyonce at halftime – a performance that ended with chants of Seven Nation Army heard in the background.

Ravens Nation was speaking in corridors of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and they were speaking about the team's second Super Bowl win in franchise history.

As Ravens Nation celebrated early, things moved more in their favor as Jacoby Jones took the opening kickoff of the second half to the house.  It was an NFL record, and it gave the Ravens a 28-6 lead.  Reporters in the press area began to whisper about a potential blowout.

It all seemed too good to be true, and it was.

Flacco and the Ravens played so lights out that the lights actually went out in the second half. Crews worked for about 30 minutes to get scoreboards rebooted and field lights back online. Security workers behind the auxiliary press area yelled, "Hold on to your wallets as corridors behind rows of seats with black.

…And momentum shifted.

A pass from Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree with 7:20 remaining in the third quarter and a successful PAT closed the lead to 28-13. A punt nearly returned to the house set Kaepernick and the 49ers up to narrow the lead again. A couple well-thrown passes by Kaepernick set up a Frank Gore touchdown run and after a successful PAT, the score was 28-20 with five minutes to play in the third quarter.

A fumble by Ray Rice on a pass from Flacco that would have been a first down put the 49ers on the Ravens' 25-yard line in position to score again. The 49ers closed the lead to five points with a David Akers 35-yard field goal.

"They have the ability to score and score quickly," Flacco said. "That's kinda what they did there. ...Games can go like that. That's why you have to take care of the football and get first downs. We have a team that no matter Iwhat the situation, we are going to overcome it to the best of our ability."

Flacco said that it's "kinda fittiing" that the team won a close battle in Super Bowl 47.

The 49ers led 17-0 after the system reboot in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, but as the third quarter ended Flacco regained momentum and led his team down the field and into position for a successful 19-yard field goal by Justin Tucker. Ravens in favor, 31-23.

A 49ers drive highlighted by long passes and a long run by Kaepernick narrowed the gap again, 31-29 with 9:57 to play. It was at that moment that Ravens Nation saw the most out of the general.

"Forget you.. …Let's do it tonight…" a mix of popular music blasted through the sound system at the dome, and it was the Ravens' them song.  A big completion to Anquan Boldin, a run by Ray Rice set up a 38-yard field goal by Justin Tucker with 4:19 to play.

Another explosive 49ers offensive drive with long passes and runs put Kaepernick in scoring position again just before

the two-minute warning. Smashmouth redzone defense kept the 49ers out of the endzone. The 49ers failed to convert on fourth down from the about the five yard line.

The Ravens and their newly-crowned general got the ball back and took the clock down to 12 seconds before taking a safety and kicking off to the 49ers with four seconds left to play.

Kickoff… tackle made… game over… Ravens win.

Flacco tied Joe Montana for most postseason TD passes with 11, as he led the Ravens to Super Bowl victory. He was 22 of 33 passing attempts for 287 yards.

"Joe Montana is my favorite quarterback," Flacco said after the game. "So, to be put anywhere next to him is pretty cool."

As far as the people that doubted him at the start of the season, Flacco said he never likes to feel like he is in a position where he needs to defend himself.

"We'll have this thing forever," he said. 

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