Ravens Turn Off The Lights On 49ers Championship Hopes
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By Samuel Njoku
The Baltimore Ravens are Super Bowl Champions. The Ravens defeated the 49ers 34-31 to win their second title in franchise history. This game featured two very evenly matched teams, but in the end, the Ravens would come out on top due to some huge plays by some of their best talent.
Jim Caldwell wasn’t going to wait until the second half to give Flacco control of the offense. Baltimore started the game slinging the football all over the field. The Ravens were going to force the 49ers to stop Joe Flacco – they couldn’t. Give Caldwell a ton of credit for sticking to the run even though San Francisco’s front seven all but neutralized their effectiveness. Many questioned whether it was Cameron or Flacco that held this team back. Those questions were answered this postseason.
Dean Pees did exactly what he was supposed to do on Sunday. The best way to keep Kaepernick in the pocket is to call zone coverage in the secondary. Whenever the Ravens went into man coverage, Kaepernick made them pay with huge chunks of yards on the ground. The Ravens traditionally play a lot of man coverage, which makes their play all the more impressive. The defense did struggle in the second half but Pees dialed up just enough pressure to keep Kaepernick uncomfortable in the redzone.
Is there a happier person in New Orleans right now than Joe Flacco? Well, maybe his agent. Joe Flacco has been criticized unfairly his entire career for his confidence in himself. Tonight, Flacco had all of his critics eating crow as he made a superb 49ers defense look ordinary. His 3 touchdowns in Super Bowl XLVII earned him MVP honors. When Flacco has time in the pocket, he can dissect any defense. San Francisco learned that the hard way tonight.
Ray Rice was shut down in this game. But in games like this, it is his carries that made the difference. Rice kept the defense honest and made life a lot easier for Flacco during play action plays. Bernard Pierce was once again helped with crucial conversions to keep drives alive.
The Ravens did a great job of containing Kaepernick early in the game. But it was only a matter of time before the 49ers found ways to move the ball downfield. San Francisco’s offense was just the faster unit on the field. Ray Lewis tried to keep up with Vernon Davis on certain situations, but was unable to make the play. The defense implored a bend but don’t break mentality that help them seal the win. The stand they made with 2 minutes to go in the game was impressive. It doesn’t get anymore clutch than that.
Special Teams: A+
Jacoby Jones made a legitimate case for Super Bowl MVP. Not only did he catch a bomb from Flacco for a touchdown, but he also ran a 108 yard kick return for a score. Without Jones, the Ravens probably lose this game. This unit has kept Baltimore in a number of games all season. This game was no different. Sam Koch and Justin Tucker were great as always. Jerry Rosburg deserves a raise.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.