First quarter: Boldin comes up big
Anquan Boldin is one of the most successful big receivers in the NFL, and he showed why in the first quarter.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder used his big frame to get open in the middle of the end zone and catch a 13-yard touchdown pass 4:24 into the game.
Boldin, a 10th-year veteran, led the Ravens with 65 catches for 921 yards this year. He ranks sixth among active wide receivers with 10,165 receiving yards. Boldin’s score capped a six-play, 51-yard opening drive by the Ravens. They took possession at their own 49-yard line after Jacoby Jones returned a punt 17 yards.
Boldin also made a 31-yard gain by using his big frame to grab a jump-ball lob pass by quarterback Joe Flacco against Chris Culliver. The big gain to the Niners’ 33 didn’t produce points.
Key play: The 49ers got a 36-yard field goal from David Akers with 3:58 left.
Second quarter: Need for speed
Second-guess: It was a close no-call on an incompletion from Flacco for Torrey Smith, but Niners cornerback Culliver did grab Smith just before the ball arrived and slowed the receiver. Good throw by Flacco.
Jacoby Jones was yet another of the great acquisitions of Baltimore General Manager Ozzie Newsome. The Ravens signed Jones last May, late in the free-agency season, to a modest, two-year, $7 million contract.
He led the NFL in kickoff returns with a 30.7-yard average and had two kickoff returns for touchdowns. Jones showed off his speed in the second quarter, catching a 56-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to put the Ravens ahead, 21-3, with 1:45 left in the half. Jones blew by 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver on the play.
Jones entered the league with Houston as a third-round pick in 2007 from Division II Lane College in Louisiana.
Jones ran a 4.50 time in the 40-yard dash out of college but has maintained he can run a 4.24.
Key plays: Baltimore took a 14-3 lead on a 1-yard TD pass from Flacco to Dennis Pitta with 7:10 left. ... Ed Reed got his ninth career postseason interception.
Second-guess: Torrey Smith grabbed at cornerback Chris Culliver on a pass down the sideline just before the 2-minute warning. There should have been a flag.
Third quarter: Power surge
The two teams and the crowd of 71,024 in the Superdome were thrown into the dark when most of the lights in the stadium went out. There was 13:22 left in the third quarter when play was stopped, and San Francisco was facing a third-down situation.
The game was delayed for 34 minutes.
Before the power outage, the Ravens’ Jacoby Jones took the opening kickoff of the half 108 yards for a touchdown to give Baltimore a 28-6 lead. Jones burst straight up the middle of the field and then broke down the right side and into the end zone.
But the delay helped the 49ers. When power was restored, the Niners pulled within 28-13 on a 31-yard yard TD pass from Colin Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree with 7:20 left. Just 2:21 later, Frank Gore ran 6 yards around right end for a TD.
Key plays: Chykie Brown ran into kicker David Akers on a field-goal try that failed from 39 yards. The 5-yard penalty gave him another try and he made it from 34 yards. ... Buffalo native Corey Graham made a nice breakup of a deep pass for Crabtree at the Ravens’ 25 with about 8:30 to go.
Fourth quarter: QB in motion
Colin Kaepernick didn’t do a lot of running in the first three quarters but he made his legs count in the fourth. The San Francisco quarterback scrambled 15 yards for a touchdown to pull the 49ers within 31-29 with 9:57 left in the game.
It was the ninth rushing touchdown of the season for Kaepernick and his third rushing TD of the playoffs. It also was the longest touchdown run by a quarterback in Super Bowl history. The touchdown capped a five-play, 81-yard drive.
Key plays: The Ravens got a 19-yard field goal from Justin Tucker to go ahead, 31-23. Another Tucker field goal, from 38 yards with 4:19 left, gave the Ravens a 34-29 advantage.
Good no call: It was the right decision by the officials to not call illegal contact on Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith with 1:50 left in pass coverage against the Niners’ Michael Crabtree.
The pass from Kaepernick fell incomplete on fourth and goal from the 5. Smith made contact within 5 yards of the line and both the receiver and the cornerback were in contact with each other. Not enough to call the foul.