Both games were a tale of two halves. Behind great plays on defense and great quarterback play, the 49ers and Ravens were both able to come from behind on the road to secure their spots in Super Bowl 47. Both the 49ers (favorites) and the Ravens (significant underdog) came into the title games in different situations but it was the perseverance to make changes at halftime and absorb blows that was the difference. Even if they weren’t brothers, the Harbaugh coaches both have to be recognized for excellent coaching adjustments throughout the game. Combine that with excellent play from the players and it’s a recipe for success. Players of the game go to Frank Gore (21 car, 90 yds, 2 TDs) in the NFC and in the AFC to Joe Flacco (21-36, 240 yds, 3 TDs) who definitely looked elite yesterday.
The 49ers were very impressive in the second half, shutting out Atlanta’s potent offense and recovering from an early deficit to finally take the lead in the 4th quarter. Kaepernick wasn’t as dominating as last weekend’s game against the Packers but he was effective enough, particularly late in the game to put drives together that put the Niners in scoring position. For the Falcons it simply wasn’t enough and this time around, the lead was just too great to overcome. Statistically Matt Ryan had a great game overall but the problem was that his turnovers (fumble and interception) came at critical moments. Right when the Falcons were going to score either keep the lead or take it back, there was a mistake and the Niners defense was there to take advantage. Also, I was pretty impressed by how loud the Georgia dome got.
Out east, the Ravens were able to play in a similar fashion. The biggest difference was that the Ravens were a pretty significant underdog and note, for the second week in a row they were able to win. Baltimore shutout New England in the second half and also scored 21 points to advance to the Super Bowl for the first time since their title in 2000. 21 unanswered points and they made Tom Brady look pretty average; not bad for a defense that was supposed to be old and worn out for most of the season. Ray Lewis will get headlines as usual but it was a collective group effort from start to finish, even after the slow start. The Patriots were already injured and they suffered a couple of key injuries in this game but it’s very surprising that the offense only managed to score 13 points at home.
So we have a Super Bowl dubbed as the “Harbowl” and it looks to be a good one. Tons of headlines to go over in the next couple of weeks.