Super Bowl 47 is all set as it will be a battle of two teams led by the brothers Harbaugh Jim and John. Sunday’s NFL Conference Championships were won by a pair of teams that captured their moment of redemption.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
This without question was the game of the day for New Orleans Saints fans. The prospects of the Dirty Birds calling New Orleans home for a solid week and being subjected to week of stories detailing the Falcons greatness during this bye week would have been flat out torture considering the Saints 2012 season.
It didn’t look good for a while as the Falcons jumped out to a 17-0 lead thanks to receiver Julio Jones have a contract game (in other words a game so good his agent is probably trying to get a new deal for him). Jones hauled in a pair of first half touchdown passes as quarterback Matt Ryan found Jones for scores of 46 and 20 yards. Jones however would only have three catches in the second half.
So at 24-13 Saints fans were panicking if not started to come to terms with the Falcons logo being plastered all over town. Then the token Atlanta meltdown took place as a 49ers defense that couldn’t stop the Falcons offense kept them from putting up any additional points in the second half.
Atlanta also turned the ball over twice via a Ryan interception and then on the next drive Ryan fumbled a shotgun snap that was recovered by San Francisco. Saints fans were probably pacing however in that the 49ers couldn’t capitalize on them as kicker David Akers missed a field goal that would have tied the game and then what looked to be a touchdown to receiver Michael Crabtree turned out to be a fumble at the goal line. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick methodically led the offense to a pair of scores both by running back Frank Gore of 5 and 9 yards.
The Falcons as they’ve done all season however still were alive in the final minutes as they had the ball at the 49ers 10 yard line with just over a minute left. San Francisco held on 3rd and 4 from the 10 and then again on 4th and 4 from the 10 to hang on for the win.
Social media exploded with tweets of pictures, tales of how Saints fans were celebrating the Falcons loss and even linebacker Scott Shanle had fun with Falcons fans tweeting pictures of the Lombardi Trophy and his championship ring. Leaving no doubt that there is no love lost between the fanbases.
New England jumped out to an early 3-0 lead before Baltimore put up seven points. At the Half the Patriots led 13-7 but you never really got the feeling that New England quarterback Tom Brady was ever comfortable or got into any rhythm thanks to the Ravens defense. It was the Ravens offense however that was the difference in the second half.
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco continued his good post season by throwing three touchdown passes in the second half with a pair of them going to receiver Anquan Boldin. Brady threw 54 passes completing 29 of them and was picked off twice to go with his lone touchdown pass. The Patriots had three turnovers overall in the game.
THE MATCH UP
The 49ers are no strangers to New Orleans having not only been to but won a Super Bowl in the Crescent City. January 28, 1990 the 49ers captured their fourth Super Bowl Championship with a 55-10 win over the Broncos. San Francisco went on to win a fifth title five years later with a 49-26 win over the Chargers but for a team that won four in the 80s and just one in the 90s it’s been 18 years since they’ve last played in a Super Bowl.
Defense is probably the first thing you think of when one thinks of the 49ers and Ravens. Indeed their reputation for being defensive teams is well warranted but to me their offenses are the reason they reach the Super Bowl.
Baltimore’s John Harbaugh with the help of linebacker Ray Lewis has developed a church like atmosphere in his locker room. The Ravens feed off of emotion and right now believe this is their time. The defense has always been their calling card by Flacco’s play this post season has been impressive to say the least. Flacco isn’t dinking and dunking his offense to points he is flat out airing it out. Receivers Boldin and Torrey Smith are a pair of very good receivers. Tight end Dennis Pitta had seven touchdowns during the regular season and two this post season so is no slouch. Oh yea they also have running back Ray Rice who among the league’s best running backs.
Two coaches who know each and have their respective teams playing hard. Two quarterbacks playing good football and eager to prove they belong. Two solid running back in Frank Gore and Ray Rice to go with pass catchers that give defenses fits, and speaking of defenses those stretchers they use in soccer matches may need to be at the ready come kick off. It all sets up to what should be one heck of a hard fought game.