By: Mike Stone
Here are six reflections I took away from Super Bowl 47.
1. The 49ers and Jim Harbaugh completely blew the beginning of the game. On the first play of the game Colin Kaepernick hit Vernon Davis for 20 yards, but the play was called back because Davis was called for being lined up incorrectly. How can a team get called for an illegal formation on the first play of the game when the play had been scripted for about a week? The Niners eventually punted. On Baltimore’s first possession they had a 3rd and 9 at the 18 yard line. Joe Flacco under pressure threw an incomplete pass but San Francisco’s Brooks was called for offsides, so The Ravens had another chance and Flacco promptly hit Anquan Boldin for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. The off sides cost the Niners 4 points. If dumb penalties are put on the coach, than Jim Harbaugh has to take the hit.
2. The 49ers and Jim Harbaugh completely blew the end of the game. After Frank Gore carried the ball to the Raven 7 on a 33 yard run, you thought San Francisco was going to win it. On first down LaMichael James carried for two yards to the five and then Harbaugh and Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman turned stupid, either that or they forgot that their quarterback had legs. They tried three straight passes to Michael Crabtree and granted he was held on the last one, I cannot for the life of me figure out why they would not at least have Kaepernick try to run one play off the read option. The play selection cost them the Super Bowl as much as the non-call.
3. Speaking of the non-call. Yes, Crabtree was definitely held and a flag should have been thrown, but Crabtree was also pushing off, so in real speed it might have been tough to see who the guilty party was. You hate to see big calls or non calls decide a big game, but in this case I think the defensive holding penalty should have been called. That said it was not the reason the 49ers did not win the game.
4. Despite the loss it is clear San Francisco is still a very good team and will have to be reckoned with for at least the next 3-4 years. They have a terrific young quarterback, a good defense, and a very good young head coach, which is a lethal combination. The 49ers are everything the Lions aren’t right now. With the exception #1 receiver and possibly defensive tackle and kicker, where do the Lions have the edge over San Francisco? Unfortunately Kaepernick is better than Stafford, Gore and James are head and shoulders above Leshoure and Bell, and the offensive lines cannot be mentioned in the same breath. At tight end they have Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker. The Lions have Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler, do I have to even comment. They are close at defensive line, but I would give San Francisco the edge especially when Aldon and Justin Smith are healthy. Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman are Pro Bowl caliber linebackers. Steven Tulloch is solid, but even if Justin Durant and Deandre Levy come back they can’t compare. The Niner secondary is not elite, but it is still better than what the Lions have. As you see, the Lions have a long way to go and that is without getting into the coaching and front office.
5. The blackout swinging momentum is absurd. Yes, the game did switch its axis after the blackout, but this is what the Niners have done frequently. They have gone on long scoring runs and given them up as well. Look back to the NFC title game. They trailed 17-0 and 24-14 before rallying to win the game. If the comeback was completely foreign to them I would concur that the blackout changed the game, but it was just consistent to what they did at times this season.
6. Jacoby Jones could have been the best under the radar signing this past off season. Jones only caught 30 passes for the Ravens in the regular season, but he did return two kickoffs and one punt for touchdowns. His post season is one for the ages. His 70 yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco in the final minute in Denver sent the game into overtime and his performance on Super Bowl Sunday was unbelievable. One catch for a 56 yard touchdown and his 108 yard kickoff return to start the second half were both incredible. I actually think Jones should have won the MVP ahead of Flacco.