2013 Super Bowl: 5 Turning Points that Cost the San Francisco 49ers
Super Bowl XLVII surely didn't leave us disappointed. From a great start by the eventual Champion' Baltimore Ravens to a dazzling halftime performance by Beyonce. From a crazy power outage to an equally crazy comeback mounted by the San Francisco 49ers. From horrible officiating and chippy play, to an equally questionable ending; New Orleans couldn't have hosted a better Super Bowl.
With that in mind, there were five different turning points that I want to take a look at in this article.
5. LaMichael James Fumble
San Francisco was on the verge of driving down for the lead in the second half before the running back from Oregon made a rookie mistake. He failed to cover up the ball on a right to the right side. The result was a fumble and recovery by Baltimore, who ended up driving the ball down the field for a touchdown and a 14-3 lead. In reality, this one play took a minimum of three points off the board, which could have impacted the outcome of the game.
4. Colin Kaepernick Interception
If you look at the replay of this interception, it was all on Randy Moss, who struggled a great deal in the game. Moss cut his route while Kaepernick was in the midst of throwing the ball. This caused the young quarterback to question where he was going with the ball and air-mail it over Moss's head. While Baltimore did not score on its following drive because of a questionable fake field-goal attempt, this was a momentum changer of sorts.
3. Miss Opportunity
San Francisco put up 14 consecutive points immediately following the power outage early in the third quarter. Ray Rice then fumbled on Baltimore's very next drive. Down by just eight (28-20), San Francisco was in prime position to get a third touchdown in less than five minutes of actual game time.
It didn't happen.
Kaepernick was wildly inaccurate on a throw to Vernon Davis on second down, while Cary Williams broke up a third-down pass to Ted Ginn along the left hash in the end zone. San Francisco had to settle for a David Akers field goal to cut the lead to 28-23. A touchdown here would have, at least, made it a one-point game.
2. Play Calling in Final Two Minutes
Frank Gore had just broken off a ridiculous 33-yard run down to the Ravens seven, what followed reminded many 49ers' fans of the days Jimmy Raye was calling plays. San Francisco went to LaMichael James on first down before throwing three passes into the end zone to Michael Crabtree. How in heck did Gore not touch the ball a single time on that set of plays? This is even more magnified by the fact that All-Pro defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was missing from Baltimore's defense at this point in the game after being injured earlier.
1. No Call on Fourth Down
Common logic suggests that you don't call a holding or pass interference penalty late in the game in the end zone unless it is blatant. Officials are going to be less inclined to do so in the Super Bowl.
That being said, Jimmy Smith's obvious hold of Michael Crabtree in the end zone on fourth down with less than 2:00 remaining in the game and San Francisco down by five had to be called. Smith was literally draped all over Crabtree for a good three yards after the initial five-yard rule. A penalty there would have given San Francisco a new set of downs from inside Baltimore's three.
While San Francisco shouldn't have put itself in a situation to have to rely on a call by the officials, it is a darn shame that such a great Super Bowl came down to horrible officiating. As it is, San Francisco lost in the Super Bowl for the first time and will be dealing with this bitter taste for the next five or six months.