Tag Archives: Jacoby Jones

What a Game: Super Bowl XLVII Was to Definitely One to Remember

5 Feb

By Chris Murray

Super Bowl XLVII MVP Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Super Bowl XLVII MVP Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

For the Chris Murray Report

So what did we learn in the aftermath of the Baltimore Ravens thrilling 34-31 win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII?

One- it is now safe to say that Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks.  In Super Bowl XLVII, Flacco passed for 287 yards and three touchdowns passes and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

In the playoffs, Flacco beat Andrew Luck, the No.1 pick in the 2012 NFL draft and then knocked off two league MVPs in Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Aren’t those guys considered elite quarterbacks?

If you’re still not convinced that Flacco is that dude or at the very least well on his way to becoming that dude,  you need to consider that in the 2012 postseason,  Flacco tossed 11 touchdown passes without an interception which ties Joe Montana and Kurt Warner for the most in a single postseason  without  a pick.

“One of the things is that without question he’s a big-game performer,” said Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell.  “My old high school basketball coach used to always say cream will always rise to the top and that’s Joe.”

Flacco is the only quarterback in the Super Bowl era to play in four playoff games without tossing an interception.  He has won seven career playoff games on the road including this last Super Bowl. It is the most road wins by a starting quarterback in NFL history. Flacco has a better record (9-4) in the postseason than Peyton Manning (9-11), whom he beat in the divisional playoff round.

“Joe is one of those guys that the bigger the game the better he plays and I think that you’re going to see that continue throughout his career,” Caldwell said.

Flacco is currently in negotiations with the Ravens for a new contract. To quote Hall-of-Fame cornerback and NFL Network analyst, Deion Sanders: “Pay that man!”

Colin Kaepernick scores on a 15-yard touchdown run to bring the 49ers to within two points of the Ravens.

Colin Kaepernick scores on a 15-yard touchdown run to bring the 49ers to within two points of the Ravens.

Two-, Colin Kaepernick and the read option are here to stay despite losing in the Super Bowl. Yes, he had a slow start, but Kaepernick still played his butt off, especially in the second half. Kaepernick and the 49ers offense shredded the Ravens defense for 468 yards of total offense-including 182 yards rushing.

With his team down by 22 points, Kaepernick brought the Niners back using a combination of the pass and the running game with Frank Gore and LaMichael James in the Pistol offense.

Gore, who would finish the game with 110 yards rushing and a touchdown, had two runs of 20-plus yards including a big 33-yard run that put ball deep in Baltimore territory late in the game from that read-option offense.

Kaepernick was 16-of-28 for 302 yards and one touchdown. He also ran the ball seven times for 62 yards including a record-breaking 15-yard touchdown run, the longest in Super Bowl history by a quarterback. Not bad for a guy with just 10 starts in his brief career.

On their final drive of the game, the 49ers, in the Pistol formation, drove through a tired Ravens defense from their own 20-yard line to the Baltimore five. One of the big plays on that drive was Gore’s big 33-yard run to the Ravens 7.  A two-yard gain by James moved the ball to the five with about two minutes left.

That leads us to No. 3-Never get away from what’s working. On the 49ers remaining three downs of the game, they passed the ball on three straight plays and came up short.

You would have thought with Kaepernick’s running ability and the way Gore was crashing through the Ravens defense that head coach Jim Harbaugh or offensive coordinator Greg Roman would have called a play with one of them running the ball.

“I always thought they were going to run. I really did. All of those pressures were called for the run, not the pass,” said Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees.

A quarterback draw or a designed run by Kaepernick from the Pistol or just giving it to Gore on the same option plays that got them into the red zone in the first place.

“We could’ve ran on them all day,” Gore said. “We called plays that we thought that was good, and things didn’t happen.”

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (left) shakes hands with his brother Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers head coach after the end of Super Bowl XLVII.

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (left) shakes hands with his brother Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers head coach after the end of Super Bowl XLVII.

No. 4-This was one hell of a Super Bowl.  This game had just about everything including several interesting storylines. You had the Harbaugh brothers-John and Jim matching wits against one another.

You had Flacco cementing his claim as a top-notch quarterback with an MVP-performance.

Beyonce’s performance at halftime, which included the reunion of Destiny’s Child, was a showstopper within a showstopper of a football game.

There was a 35-minute delay of the because of the power outage in the Mercedes Benz Superdome. I don’t pretend to know what caused it, but I suspect that origins of this outage came from a Buffalo Wild Wings in San Francisco where a 49ers fan sent a text to an electrician friend at the Superdome to shut the power down to stop Baltimore’s momentum.

Just kidding, but the Super Bowl power outage would make a great commercial for Buffalo Wild Wings.

The incredible performance by Ravens receiver and kick returner Jacoby Jones, who caught a 56-yard touchdown pass that will go down as one of the great plays in Super Bowl history.  Jones caught the ball falling to the ground at about the 49ers seven yard line. He got up, put a move on a Niners defender and sped past another for the touchdown.

As a kick returner, Jones opened the second half with an electrifying, Super Bowl record 108-yard kickoff return. To paraphrase a Baltimore Sun reporter Jones will never want for a drink in Baltimore for the rest of his life.

There was also the 49ers valiant comeback from a 28-6 deficit in the third quarterback, led by Kaepernick, who is going to be a star in this league for a good long time barring injury.

Ray Lewis ends an incredible 17-year career with his second Super Bowl ring.

Ray Lewis ends an incredible 17-year career with his second Super Bowl ring.

San Francisco’s comeback fell short on what was a controversial non- pass interference

call on Michael Crabtree who locked horns with Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith in the endzone as Kaepernick’s pass on fourth down sailed over both players’ heads.

Was it  holding or pass interference against Baltimore or a good non-call by the officials?  It will be debated for a long time.

And last, but not least, Ray Lewis ending his storied career on an incredible goal-line stand by the Ravens defense. It was a fitting end for arguably one of the best middle linebackers to ever play the game.

Nevermore: For an old Baltimore Colts Fan, Ravens Dramatic Win Exorcises Demons of Ghost to the Post

18 Jan

By Chris Murray

Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker jumps for joy after booting the game-winning field goal to beat Denver in overtime in the AFC Divisional  Playoff.

Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker jumps for joy after booting the game-winning field goal to beat Denver in double overtime in last Saturday’s AFC Divisional Playoff.

For the Chris Murray Report

As I watched Justin Tucker’s game-winning 47-yard field  goal that put the Baltimore Ravens into this Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, there were plenty of reasons for me as a native Baltimorean to be overjoyed.

Growing up as a fan of Baltimore’s storied sports franchises—the Colts and the Orioles—and now the Ravens, I have a special reverence for the lore and history of those franchises and certainly last Saturday’s thrilling win by the Ravens will be an indelible part of that history when it’s said and done.

For me, the Ravens double-overtime win over the Denver Broncos was eerily similar to the 1977 AFC Divisional Playoff between the Baltimore Colts and the Oakland Raiders. That game, played on Dec. 24,  1977, went into double-overtime with the same plot turns and twists as Saturday’s game.  Unfortunately, the Baltimore squad was on the short end of a heart-breaking loss.

Raiders wide receiver Dave Casper get congrats from teammates and head coach John Madde n after catching winning pass to beat the Baltimore Colts in overtime in the 1977 AFC Divisional Playoffs.

Raiders wide receiver Dave Casper get congrats from teammates and head coach John Madden after catching winning pass to beat the Baltimore Colts in overtime in the 1977 AFC Divisional Playoffs.

At 15-years-old, I was among those fans in Memorial Stadium that watched in stunned silence as Oakland’s Kenny Stabler hit Dave Casper for the winning TD pass in the north endzone facing 36th Street as the evening shadows descended upon a disappointed crowd;

As filled up with joy as I was this past Saturday, I remember the disappointment of seeing the Raiders celebrate on the turf of Memorial Stadium to end a game what was a playoff classic. The Ravens win last Saturday, for me personally, forever exorcised the demons of Christmas Eve 1977.

Both games went back and forth like a Russian novel. The Raiders would jump out to a lead only to have the Colts move back out in front.  The Ravens-Broncos this past Saturday was just as hairy, full of big plays, kick returns, and pick sixes. The game was tied five times with four lead changes.

In the game against the Raiders, the Colts got points on a pick-six by Bruce Laird and an 87-yard kickoff return by Marshall Johnson. They also got a pair of touchdowns from a backup running back named Ronnie Lee.

With about four minutes left in the game, Baltimore had a 31-28 lead and appeared ready to put the defending Super Bowl champion Raiders away. But for some reason, Colts head coach Ted Marchibroda got conservative and tried to run the clock out, but it didn’t work. That would be something that Colts running back Lydell Mitchell would question in the years after the game.

Dave Casper 44-yard heave from Ken Stabler that put the Raiders in position to kick game-tying field to send their AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Baltimore Colts into overtime.

Dave Casper’s catches a  44-yard heave from Ken Stabler that put the Raiders in position to kick game-tying field to send their 1977 AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Baltimore Colts into overtime.

The Raiders got the ball back with a little over three minutes left.  The big play that put Oakland in position to tie the game was the famed “Ghost to the Post,” play in which Stabler hit Casper for a 44-yard gain to the Baltimore 14 with two minutes left.  The Raiders would tie the game on an Erroll Mann field goal and send it into overtime.

Flashing forward to last Saturday, the Baltimore Ravens were down 35-28 with no timeouts and had the ball at their own 30 yard line with under a minute left.

The odds of scoring the game-tying touchdown seemed to be somewhere between slim and none. But Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, facing a fierce rush from the Broncos defense , stepped up and launched a long pass to wide receiver Jacoby Jones, who somehow got behind two Denver defenders, and raced to a 70-yard touchdown that tied the game.In the same way the Ghost to the Post took the air out of Baltimore fans and led to overtime in 1977, Flacco’s miracle fling to Jones deflated Broncos fans while Baltimore fans in bars and taverns throughout central Maryland were no doubt in the throes of euphoria as the game headed to overtime—I wonder how many of those fans were at Memorial Stadium Christmas Eve 1977.

After a defensive stalemate dominated play for much of the first overtime, Baltimore finally got its big break late in the period when Corey Graham intercepted a Peyton Manning pass. It took the Ravens five plays to move within field goal range for Tucker’s game-winning kick.

Jacoby Jones catches game-tying TD pass from Joe Flacco that sent last weekend's divisional playoff game against Denver into overtime.

Jacoby Jones catches the game-tying TD pass from Joe Flacco that sent last weekend’s divisional playoff game against Denver into overtime.

When the ball sailed through the uprights, I could hear that same deafening, stunned silence from Denver fans that we experienced in Memorial Stadium back in 1977. But this time it was the Baltimore players celebrating a classic playoff victory on enemy turf and even though I was thousands of miles away, I was celebrating the way we were hoping to against the Raiders.

I watched the game at Champs Restaurant in South Philadelphia. I leaped from my seat with my fists pumped in the air when Tucker’s kick was ruled good. I blurted out an old Baltimore battle cry made famous by Colts and Orioles play-by-play announcer Chuck Thompson, “Go to War, Ms Agnes!” “Ain’t the Beer Cold!”

In the storied history of the Baltimore experience in the NFL, the Ravens double overtime win over the Denver Broncos will go down as an all-time great like the Colts famous overtime win over the New York Giants in the 1958 NFL Championship Game  that was dubbed, “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”

Some in Baltimore are calling the Ravens win over the Broncos, “The Second Greatest Game Ever Played.”

As for Christmas Eve 1977 and the Ghost to the Post, all I need to say is over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, quoth the Ravens, “Nevermore.”