Love this analysis of the endgame ...
Ravens leading 34-29, the Niners reach first-and-goal at Baltimore's 7 with 2:39 remaining, holding two timeouts. The Ravens' defense has already surrendered 466 yards. The Niners' previous four possession results: touchdown, touchdown, field goal, touchdown. Given the clock, the down-and-distance, the Ravens' age and exhaustion, the Niners' 6.3 yards per rush on the game -- the table is set for a San Francisco win.
But the Ravens have saved the best for last, and allow two yards, then force three consecutive incompletions. A moment later, a deliberate safety ices the Super Bowl. As sweet as it gets.
• First-and-goal at the 7. LaMichael James up the middle for two yards. Gore just ran for 33 yards and has been repped out for a down. But what Baltimore's tired defense most fears, a Kaepernick sprint run, doesn't happen.
• Second-and-goal at the 5. Kaepernick rolls right, incompletion to Michael Crabtree running a "pin" to the right front corner of the end zone. Gore is back in the game as a blocker. He's on the left, and simply stands there watching, doing nothing. Once again the two things Baltimore worries about -- Gore or Kaepernick runs -- don't happen.
• Third-and-goal at the 5. Gore is taken out! This tells the Ravens they don't need to honor the rush. Crabtree runs a shallow out to the right, ruled incomplete (see more below). Again, no Kaepernick rush.
• Fourth-and-goal at the 5. A fade in the right corner to Crabtree falls incomplete as the Ravens blitzed six. The Niners had six blockers back. But Gore, lined up right as a blitz blocker, did not realize the overload was coming from the left. Weakside linebacker Danelle Ellerbe came through unblocked and hit Kaepernick on his hurried throw. Baltimore wins.
Think what's happened here. Three straight plays from the Baltimore 5: Kaepernick, one of the most dangerous players in the sport, has not rushed. Gore hasn't touched the ball. Three straight pass attempts to the same guy, Crabtree, and all three toward the right corner. Inexperienced right-handed quarterbacks are more comfortable throwing to their right. The Ravens' defense was expecting passes, and passes to the right -- just what San Francisco delivered.
The rule here is .... If you want to win the big game you dance with the one that brung you.
Colin and Frank got you to the big game ... but when you needed to win you didn't give them the ball.