And just like that, the football season has come to an end.
Now I know you were expecting the customary “And the lights go out on the 2012 NFL season”, but I feel like you have heard that one before…
First of all, here are the links that you care about.
Please allow me to take a second to pat myself on the back. I thought Baltimore would pull off the win behind the strong arm of QB Joe Flacco and a defense that did just enough to slow down the 49ers offense. I actually correctly predicted Ravens WR Jacoby Jones’ impact on special teams and would have correctly predicted a 49ers’ David Akers’ missed field goal if Baltimore hadn’t run into the kicker. I even had my final 28-23 score prediction for awhile there. I know many could care less about my successful predictions, but I obviously would like to have it noted.
As for the game itself, I just want to provide more general observations from the big game. Please resort to this link of the NFL.com Gamecenter for statistics, highlights and scoring summaries.
– How about the play of Ravens QB and Super Bowl MVP, Joe Flacco?
He played well enough to earn the MVP Trophy (despite my personal preference in WR Jacoby Jones). His numbers? 22 of 33, 287 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. Yeah not bad. While it would be nice to see these numbers consistently, these are certainly “elite” numbers and after watching him play this postseason, it will be very interesting to see how this confidence carries over into next season. And it wasn’t just the numbers, it was the way he got those numbers. Let’s be fair: the 49ers defense is a great defense. One of the best in the league and Flacco looked confident and very talented as he made all the throws he needed to. Even when the game became in doubt, Flacco managed to drive the Ravens offense down the field with ease. Very impressive performance.
– How about 49ers’ QB Colin Kaepernick?
Kaepernick kind of had the opposite story from Flacco. While Flacco demonstrated that he has matured and was unaffected by the “big stage”, Kaepernick showed some youth. Don’t get me wrong, he played very well, especially “post-blackout”, but for other parts of the game there we instances where it looked like he was making his 10th career start. Whether it was hitting Ravens S Ed Reed wide open down the middle of the field (on a bad overthrow of WR Randy Moss) when the 49ers offense just needed to stop the bleeding or when Kaepernick needed to spend a costly timeout relatively early in the second half. Kaepernick also demonstrated his pure ability and superstar potential during San Francisco’s improbably comeback, but he still has some ways to go and a couple more games under his belt will go a long way with that.
– Ravens WR Jacoby Jones
What can I say about Jones? He runs back a kickoff to start the second half 108-yards and a touchdown. Also add in his 56-yard touchdown reception where he showed off even more of his elusiveness and you have a player who scored two touchdowns, and accounted for over 200 total yards in the biggest game you can play in. That’s a playmaker. I personally think he should have received the MVP simply because of how unique his performance is to this stage, as opposed to a great game from quarterbacks, but it is simply the flip of a coin. Jones was picked up in free agency this past offseason from Houston and ultimately Baltimore has to feel pretty good about their pickup.
– Players departing?
49ers WR Randy Moss, and Ravens’ LB Ray Lewis and S Ed Reed are the most notable players looking at some interesting decisions/situations in the coming months. Well, Lewis has already said he is retiring. I’m sorry, but if you didn’t know that, you’ve been living under a rock for some time now. I will provide a more thorough post about him, since I know you haven’t gotten enough of him, but for now let me just say that this is the way you would expect him to retire. He goes out on top just as his skill is deteriorating. Talk about the perfect situation for him.
Moss and Reed have more intriguing situations. Moss is facing an uncertain future. He is unhappy with not only how his time with San Francisco (to this point) ended, but also how he was utilized. The problem is, there hasn’t been anything to demonstrate that he still has the ability to dominate physically. So there are questions about if the future free agent will be targeted by other teams for any role beyond what he has been doing. If Moss doesn’t want to put up with more of the same, we may be looking at the “real” end of Moss’ career.
Reed’s future is a little simpler. His contract is up this season meaning he is facing free agency. At his age (34), he isn’t getting any longterm deals from Baltimore. I would have to imagine they would love to retain him, but there is a good chance Reed and the team have different perceptions of what Reed is worth and that would mean free agency. If he does hit the market, there is a lot of speculation the New England Patriots become possible suitors. I won’t speculate yet, but Reed has already said he would love to play for the Patriots and you have to think Pats head coach, Bill Belichick would love to have him. It’s something to watch.
– The Halftime Show
I thought Beyonce rocked it, but to each his own. Here is the video thanks to CBS on YouTube
This is the real story from the Super Bowl. The game is practically over prior to the power cutting out in half of the Superdome. Baltimore was up 28-6, had just watched Jacoby Jones run back a 108-yard kickoff return and had all the momentum. Over 30 minutes later and the game finally picks back up again. I come from the opinion that the power outage had a dramatic effect on the game. When Baltimore finally got the ball back on offense, it had been over an hour since they were out on the field. I’m trying to take anything from San Francisco, but this is similar to basketball and how when a team has all the momentum they opposing coach is expected to take a timeout to let the crowd settle down, take a deep breath and execute. I know halftime had just ended, but San Francisco giving up the kickoff return was like the other team getting all the momentum and the power outage was like the coaches timeout. It gave them a chance to recover. I don’t think it’s just a coincidence San Francisco made a very impressive comeback immediately following the outage.
As far as all the conspiracy theories surrounding the outage? I’m not buying into any of those until there is something substancial.
– Final Thoughts
Baltimore deserved to win. They played sound defense in the first half and did enough when it mattered in the second half to beat San Francisco. As I mentioned above, I do think the power outage benefited San Francisco, but I thought the 49ers would have found their footing anyway even without the outage. I didn’t think it would be enough, but I thought they’d figure it out. Flacco was incredible. Kaepernick was dynamic in the second half and Jones was the difference maker.
– Delanie Walker
We are going to take a step away from football for a moment. San Francisco 49ers TE Delanie Walker not only had to deal with a Super Bowl loss, but also had to manage an even more devastating loss.
Kind of puts everything, even in the context of the Super Bowl, into perspective. I think it can go without saying that drunk driving is a horrible, horrible thing and needs to be stopped, which I’ll admit… is an understatement. Our hearts and prayers go out to Walker, his family and those close to Alice and Bryan Young.