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One Career Ends And Another Is Born: Super Bowl XLVII Storylines

Posted on February 05, 2013 by Andy Larmand
Ravens receiver Torrey Smith celebrates on the field of the Superdome following Super Bowl XLVII.

Ravens receiver Torrey Smith celebrates on the field of the Superdome following Super Bowl XLVII.

The good news? Super Bowl XLVII had just about everything one could have asked for in the final professional football game for 213 days. It featured a pair of brothers facing off against each other, an icon of a generation going out on top, an energizing rookie quarterback, a jaw-dropping halftime show, an intentional safety, a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and one 33-minute power outage. Not to mention a furious comeback in the second half that fell just short of making it the greatest Super Bowl ever played.

The bad news? It’s the final football game for 213 days. It was a great one though.

As always, we have a lot to get to in the last edition of the weekly NFL storylines being that this was the final game of the 2012-13 season. I’d just like to thank God for giving me the fingers to type this with. God is so great.

Joe Flacco, Super Bowl XLVII MVP, tied the all-time record with 11 touchdown passes in a single postseason in the first Super Bowl since 2002 without either Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger or Peyton Manning. Only he and Joe Montana have ever accomplished that. All five quarterbacks to ever throw eight-plus touchdowns and no interceptions in the playoffs have won the Super Bowl. Ray Lewis is going out on top if you haven’t heard. After 12 seasons, Lewis won his second career title. It is the longest span between titles by any player in NFL history. Baltimore has won four straight against the 49ers, outscoring them 103-50. San Francisco lost its first Super Bowl in their history and Baltimore improved to 8-1 all-time as the No. 4 seed in the playoffs. They also improved to 2-0 all-time in Super Bowls (won Super Bowl XXXV in 2000). When they won it all in 2000, they were the No. 4 seed as well and the last two Super Bowl champions have been the No. 4 seed in their respective conferences. The previous two meetings between these two teams featured a total of two touchdowns; this one had six.

Baltimore finished the regular season with a record of 10-6. In each of the last three seasons, the eventual Super Bowl champion finished the regular season with no better than 10 wins (Packers with 10 in 2010, Giants with nine last season). The NFC had won three straight Super Bowls before the Ravens win. The last AFC team to win a title before this was the Steelers in 2008. With 65 points being scored in the Super Bowl, the total from this postseason grew to 571, which broke the previous record of 530 set in 1995. No. 2 seeds had been 4-1 in their last five Super Bowl appearances before the 49ers’ loss. With Flacco winning MVP, six of the last seven Super Bowl MVP’s have been quarterbacks. Only Santonio Holmes in 2008 won the award as a non-quarterback. Baltimore became just the second team to ever win a championship after leading the league in penalty yards during the regular season (1974 Steelers). After 19.5 sacks in his first 13 games, Aldon Smith hasn’t recorded one since. In the Super Bowl, he had no sacks and made just two tackles. Six games are the longest he has ever gone without a sack.

No NFL team had ever even reached the Super Bowl after ranking 15th or worse in both total defense and total offense during the regular season. The Ravens were the first and they won it all. Flacco has no interceptions in his last 195 pass attempts. With a second-quarter interception of Colin Kaepernick, Ed Reed tied the all-time record with his ninth career postseason interception. Baltimore improved to 11-5 in road or neutral playoff games in their history, the best win percentage of any NFL franchise. The 49ers had 15 former first-round picks on their roster for the Super Bowl to the Ravens’ eight, but Baltimore beat them anyway. With his first-quarter TD catch, the fourth for him this postseason, Anquan Boldin tied the amount he had in the regular season. Kaepernick was able to set the record for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single postseason with 264. He came up just two yards shy of tying the all-time record for rushing yards by a quarterback in the Super Bowl as he finished with 62, but did have the longest ever TD run by a quarterback in the big game with his 15-yarder.

Joe Flacco raises the Lombardi Trophy after the Ravens' Super Bowl win.

Joe Flacco raises the Lombardi Trophy after the Ravens’ Super Bowl win.

Teams losing turnover battle are now 4-35 all-time in the Super Bowl and 1-19 in the last 20 Super Bowls played. San Francisco turned the ball over twice. Kaepernick’s interception was the first time a San Francisco quarterback had ever been intercepted in the Super Bowl. Baltimore turned it over once. Ray Rice‘s lost fumble in the third quarter was the fifth postseason fumble of his career, the most of any active player. He lost three this postseason. This was the first Super Bowl since 2006 in which both of the starting quarterbacks had no Super Bowl experience (Manning and Rex Grossman). The 49ers lost despite having a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher and two 100-yard receivers. They also became the first team since 2005 to go 4-0 against the AFC East in the regular season and not win the Super Bowl. The 2006 Colts, 2009 Saints and 2011 Giants all won the title after going undefeated against the AFC East in the regular season. Kaepernick became just the fifth first or second-year quarterback to start a Super Bowl. John Harbaugh‘s teams improved to 7-0 after bye weeks, while Jim Harbaugh‘s teams fell to 3-1-1.

Ravens center Matt Birk became the first ever Harvard alum to start a Super Bowl and Flacco became the second quarterback from the University of Delaware to start a Super Bowl (Rich Gannon). Also, this marks the second straight season that an alum of the University of Massachusetts has won a ring as James Ihedigbo won one on Sunday (Victor Cruz in 2011). It also marked the second straight Super Bowl appearance for Ihedigbo as he was a member of the Patriots last year. If the 49ers had won the game, every division in the NFC would have had a Super Bowl winner in the last four seasons. The Ravens became the first team in NFL history to win four postseason games while allowing 375-plus yards of total offense in each one. They surrendered 468 to the ‘Niners on Sunday, the most ever by a Super Bowl winner. The Patriots have lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion in each of the last two seasons and there has been a safety in each of the last to Super Bowls.

Flacco tied Brady for the most playoff wins by a quarterback in his first five NFL seasons with his ninth, tied Eli Manning for the most road or neutral site playoff wins with his seventh and his 63 total wins in his first five professional seasons are the most by a quarterback in the Super Bowl era. He now has the same number of Super Bowl titles and career playoff wins as Peyton Manning. Baltimore became the fifth team to win each of their first two Super Bowl appearances. Reed won the first title of his 11-year career. Baltimore improved to 14-7 all-time in the playoffs. Their .667 postseason winning percentage is the best of any franchise. Since Harbaugh took over in 2008, the Ravens’ 63 wins are tied with New England for the most in that span. Kaepernick had a total QBR of 46.1, but Flacco had a total QBR of 95.1 in the game, the highest in a Super Bowl since…last year when Manning posted a 103.8 QBR. The 95.1 QBR tied the second-best of Flacco’s career and was the highest by any quarterback this postseason. This was just the second ever Super Bowl between two teams that lost in the Conference Championship round in the previous season.

Ray Lewis won his second Super Bowl in the final game of his career.

Ray Lewis won his second Super Bowl in the final game of his 17-year career.

Lewis had seven tackles in the game and finished the playoffs with 51 – the most in history. He joined the likes of Otto Graham, John Elway, Jerome Bettis and Michael Strahan as players who won the Super Bowl in the final game of their career. Vernon Davis caught six balls for 104 yards, but was kept out of the end zone. Baltimore only allowed two touchdown catches by tight ends this season and none since Week 13. They reached the Super Bowl by beating the top two teams in points scored. The 1970 Steelers were the only other team to accomplish that. No team has won a Super Bowl in the same season it tied a game since the 1974 Steelers. Baltimore’s streak of 10 consecutive red zone touchdowns ended with the first ever fake field goal attempted in the Super Bowl by Justin Tucker, the first rookie kicker in the Super Bowl since Ryan Longwell in Super Bowl XXXII. Jacoby Jones had a 70-yard TD catch and a 56-yard TD catch in the playoffs. He had just one touchdown catch in the regular season. The longest touchdown catch in Super Bowl history is 64 yards. He also returned the second-half kickoff a Super Bowl-record 108 yards for a touchdown and became the second player with a kickoff return touchdown and receiving touchdown in the same playoff game, according to Elias. His 290 total yards set a Super Bowl record and he is one of two players, along with Reed, to have multiple touchdowns of 105-plus yards in their careers.

Baltimore is now 26-2 in games that they have led by 15 or more points at halftime. They are 26-0 in their last 26 such games. This season, teams with a 15-point halftime lead are 47-2. The AFC now has 22 Super Bowl wins to the 25 of the NFC. This game was tied with Super Bowl XXIV for the fourth-highest scoring Super Bowl in history with 65 points. Coincidentally, the 49ers won that game, 55-10, over the Broncos. All three of Jones’ kickoff returns this season are 105 yards or longer. The Ravens were up 28-23 after the third quarter. Teams up by at least five points following the third are now 34-2 all-time in Super Bowls. The 2009 Saints were the last team with a first-round bye to win the Super Bowl. Baltimore lost four of its last five regular-season games and went on to win the title.

Kaepernick has thrown for 230 or more yards in each of his last five games, which tied the longest streak by a 49ers quarterback since 2004. He joined Montana and Steve Young as the only San Francisco signal callers to throw for 300 yards in a Super Bowl. Their 31 points were tied for the most ever by a losing team in the Super Bowl with the 1978 Cowboys. San Fran had been 13-0 in playoff games in which they scored at least 31 points in their history. They fell to 2-70-1 all-time when trailing by at least 15 points at halftime. Frank Gore became the second player to rush for 100 yards and a touchdown and lose the Super Bowl (Thurman Thomas). Their pistol offense gained an average of eight yards per play and accounted for over 200 yards of offense. The 49ers trailed by at least seven points in all three of their postseason games. They made up for that by scoring 17 points in 4:10 following the power outage, however.

The game had it all - even a blackout.

The game had it all – even a blackout.

Ah, the power outage. It will live on forever in Super Bowl lore. The lights went out at 8:37 p.m. EST. A total of 33 minutes went by between plays. Since the outage occurred shortly after halftime and Jones’ return TD, the offense of the Ravens and defense of the 49ers went 84 minutes of real time before stepping on the field again.

Finally, no defending Super Bowl champion has won a playoff game in the following year since the 2005 Patriots. No one has repeated since the 2003-04 Pats.

It’s been a good year.

Some information taken from ESPN Stats & Info.

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Follow me on Twitter @RealAndyLarmand.

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