by Ted Lewis
NEW ORLEANS — Did you change the channel? Make a beer run? Maybe finally relent and do that chore your better half has been pestering about since the season began?
Hopefully you didn’t get so distracted that you forgot to check to see whether the game ever restarted.
Because once it did, 34 minutes later — Entergy, you’ve got some ’splainin’ to do — the San Francisco 49ers went from blown out to blacked out to nearly wiping out a 22-point deficit.
Nearly being the operative word. Especially if you’re a Baltimore Ravens fan.
Make that a world champion Baltimore Ravens fan after sweating out their 34-31 victory.
“We said, ‘Stay buckled up, Baltimore,’ ” said St. Rose’s Ed Reed, who probably ended at least the Ravens’ portion of his Hall of Fame career with a interception, not to mention a championship ring. “And now, here we are.”
But, as was the case earlier in the game, even when things seemingly went wrong for the Ravens, they turned out all right. Case in point: the fake field goal late in the second quarter that came up a yard short.
But so what? The 49ers were backed to their 6, played conservatively and kicked to Jacoby Jones, who muffed the punt but recovered for an 11-yard return.
Three plays later, Jones made an even bigger play — breaking past Donte Whitner and catching Joe Flacco’s rainbow while falling down. He got up, made a spin move and beat the recovering Whitner to the end zone to make it 21-3.
Low risk, high return, coach John Harbaugh said.
The late charge by the 49ers, turning what had been a typical New Orleans Super Bowl (average margin of victory in the first eight: 22.0 points) into a nail-biter that will go down as not just the best Super Bowl played in the Crescent City but one of best in the XLVII-year history of our unofficial national secular holiday.
Hopefully the dramatics at the end won’t fade the memories of the contributions to victory by the two Ravens playing in their hometown.
Jones, the Abramson graduate whose college athletic career began as a track walk-on at Southeastern, followed his TD catch with a record 108-yard kickoff return to start the second half that gave the Ravens what seemed like an insurmountable 28-6 lead.
And there’s Reed, who might have been the goat of the game had not fellow safety Jimmy Smith not gotten a favorable non-call, keeping Michael Crabtree from getting free on fourth down from the 5. Reed probably couldn’t have made the play if Crabtree had been able to get where he was supposed to.
But as with the failed fake field goal — no matter. The Ravens won by taking chances and being aggressive, just as they did during the season
They took command early, seemingly lost their mojo during the blackout but still had enough to win at the end.
“We won it in paradise,” Reed said. “Is it real? In the 504?”
Yep. It’s real.
Hope you didn’t miss it.