Baltimore Ravens are Your Super Bowl Champions

The Baltimore Ravens survived a furious second half rally to beat the San Francisco 49ers to with the Super Bowl on Sunday. The win was the franchise’s second Super Bowl victory in their second appearance (they won over the New York Giants in the 2000 season). The loss was the first in franchise history for the 49ers who have won it five times.

This Ravens team, much like last year’s champion Giants, won the championship despite stumbling in the second half of the season. The only reason they won the NFC North and got to host a first round playoff game was due to a tie breaker. They wound up tied for the division lead with the Cincinnati Bengals who they lost two in their last regular season game. When the playoffs started, and Ray Lewis announced he was retiring after the season, each Ravens game was almost like waiting on the inevitable last rites on his career.

But each week the Ravens kept coming up with wins to prolong their season. First it was the surprise team of the year, the Indianapolis Colts, with their superstar rookie quarterback Andrew Luck who came into Baltimore. The Ravens quickly dispatched them 24-9.

From there they faced the Denver Broncos, the AFC’s top seed and their future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. The Ravens pulled that game out with a miracle touchdown pass from new superstar Joe Flacco to Jacoby Jones with 31 seconds left to tie the game and send it to overtime. The Ravens defense then forced a Manning interception which they converted into the game-winning field goal.

Then it was off to the place where their dream ended a season ago, Foxboro, Massachusetts, to face the New England Patriots and their future Hall of Fame quarterback, Tom Brady. The Ravens held the Patriots scoreless in the second half to hand New England their first ever home loss in an AFC Championship Game 28-13, while Flacco threw three second half touchdowns.

Then it was off to the Super Bowl where they would face their head coach’s brother on the opposing sideline. Coach John Harbaugh‘s boys thoroughly outplayed Jim Harbaugh‘s San Francisco 49ers for the first half. Then after Jacoby Jones ran the second half kick-off back for a 108-yard touchdown it appeared to be all over. But, perhaps aided by a 34 minute delay when many of the Superdome’s lights went out, the 49ers stormed back into contention.

It took a defensive stand with the 49ers on their five yard line with first and goal and trailing by five points with under 3:00 left to preserve the Ravens win. It was Baltimore’s fourth win in the post season, all of them over teams with a better record then they had. The last three were also favored to beat them. Baltimore’s playoff run will go down as one of the most memorable in NFL history. From the emergence of Joe Flacco as one of the game’s best signal callers to the farewell of one of the game’s greatest players in Ray Lewis, this tam will be  an unforgettable one indeed.

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