After two quarters of play in Super Bowl XLVII, the Baltimore Ravens lead the San Francisco 49ers 21-6.
After a quarter-opening punt by the Ravens, San Francisco marched the ball down to Baltimore's 24-yard line. But backup running back LaMichael James fumbled trying to extend a play, and the Ravens scored the game's first turnover.
Baltimore's ensuing drive was a thing of beauty. They mixed both run and pass in order to move the chains down the field. The unlikely star was backup tight end Ed Dickson, who made both a juggling 23-yard reception and a more traditional 14-yarder to get Baltimore inside the 10-yard line. From there, Joe Flacco made things look easy, finding Dennis Pitta for a wide-open one-yard touchdown pass.
As was the case on Baltimore's first touchdown, Niners safety Donte Whitner took most of the online blame for the score. Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke broke down his mental lapse on Pitta's touchdown:
Chris Burke @ChrisBurke_SI
Whitner just kept sliding to his left and there wasn't another Baltimore receiver anywhere close. In the process, left Pitta wide open.2/4/2013, 12:22:32 AM
Things went from bad to worse on the Niners' next offensive play. Colin Kaepernick air-mailed a pass across the middle to Randy Moss, which was easily intercepted by Ed Reed. Per the CBS broadcast, it was the first interception a 49ers quarterback has ever thrown in a Super Bowl.
There was more "chippiness" after the play, with both teams wrestling after the whistle. Cary Williams shoved an official during the scrum but surprisingly wasn't ejected for the play. Both teams did, however, receive offsetting personal fouls.
After being stifled in the red zone for the first time, Baltimore got risky with a fake field-goal attempt. Rookie kicker Justin Tucker took the ball around the left end, and it looked open, but he was unable to reach the first-down marker. As noted by CBS Sports' Gregg Doyel, it probably wasn't the right down-and-distance for such a fake:
Gregg Doyel @GreggDoyelStar
Love that call on fourth down, but maybe not on fourth and NINE2/4/2013, 12:36:12 AM
With the Niners pinned inside their 10-yard line, Baltimore's defense forced a three-and-out to get the ball back with good field position. And from there, Joe Flacco and Jacoby Jones connected on the first half's biggest play.
Jones got behind the secondary (much like he did against Denver) and made a diving catch on a slightly under-thrown deep ball. He tumbled to the ground but got up after not being touched, then shifted his way into the end zone for a 56-yard score.
Andrew Siciliano, host of DirecTV's Red Zone Channel, tweeted about the play's potential staying power:
Andrew Siciliano @AndrewSiciliano
Wow. We will be seeing the replay of that TD for years2/4/2013, 12:49:33 AM
After a poor first half, Colin Kaepernick came up big during San Francisco's subsequent two-minute drill. He led his team down the field with some powerful throws, but the Niners drive stalled in the red zone. David Akers ended the half with a 27-yard field goal.
*If you're playing a Super Bowl box game, the winning numbers are Baltimore 1, San Francisco 6.*