NEW ORLEANS (AP) — For a Super Bowl with so many story lines, this game came up with quite a twist.
Try a blackout that turned a blowout into a shootout — capped by a brilliant defensive stand.
The Baltimore Ravens survived a frenzied comeback by the San Francisco 49ers following a 34-minute delay in the third quarter for a power outage Sunday night, winning their second championship 34-31. Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco threw three first-half touchdown passes, Jacoby Jones ran back the second-half kickoff a record 108 yards for a score, and star linebacker Ray Lewis' last play fittingly was part of a defensive effort that saved the victory.
"To me, that was one of the most amazing goal-line stands I've ever been a part of in my career," said Lewis, who announced a month ago he would retire when the Ravens were done playing.
They are done now, with another Vince Lombardi Trophy headed for the display case.
"What better way to do it," Lewis said, "than on the Super Bowl stage?"
Flacco and the Ravens (14-6) were turning the game into a rout, leading 28-6 when, without even a flicker of warning, several banks of lights and the scoreboards went dark. Players from both sides stretched and chatted with each other in as bizarre a scene as any Super Bowlhas witnessed.
After power was restored, the 49ers began playing lights out.
San Francisco (13-5-1), in search of its sixth Lombardi Trophy in as many tries, got back in the game almost immediately.
Michael Crabtree’s 31-yard touchdown reception, on which he broke two tackles, made it 28-13. A few minutes later, Frank Gore’s 6-yard run followed a 32-yard punt return by Ted Ginn Jr., and the 49ers were within eight.
San Francisco wasn’t done challenging, Kaepernick’s 15-yard TD run, the longest for a quarterback in a Super Bowl, made it 31-29. A 2-point conversion pass failed when the Ravens blitzed.
Tucker added a 38-yarder with 4:19 remaining, setting up the frantic finish.
Kaepernick couldn’t get the 49ers into the end zone on the final three plays. The last was a pass into the right corner of the end zone to Crabtree that involved some incidental bumping. Jim Harbaugh insisted a flag should have been thrown.
“There’s no question in my mind that there was a pass interference and then a hold,” Jim Harbaugh said.
Ravens punter Sam Koch took a safety for the final score with 4 seconds left. Koch’s free kick was returned by Ginn to midfield as time ran out.
“How could it be any other way? It’s never pretty. It’s never perfect. But it’s us,” John Harbaugh said of his Ravens. “It was us today.”
As for the foul-up at America’s biggest sporting event, officials revealed that an “abnormality” in the power system triggered an automatic shutdown, forcing backup systems to kick in. But no one was sure what caused the initial problem.
At 4 hours, 14 minutes, it was the longest Super Bowl ever.
Flacco’s three TD passes in the opening half tied a Super Bowl record. They covered 13 yards to Anquan Boldin, 1 to Dennis Pitta and 56 to Jones.
That start boosted him to the MVP award.
“They have to give it to one guy and I’m not going to complain that I got it,” Flacco said.
The wild scoring made this the second championship in the NFL’s 80-year title game history in which both teams scored at least 30 points. Pittsburgh’s 35-31 win over Dallas in 1979 was the other.