Super Bowl XLVII: 4 Winners, 4 Losers
3. 49ers finale
The 49ers did a fantastic job for most of the game driving between the 20-yard lines. But there's something about Colin Kaepernick's explosiveness and the qualities that make him the "new wave" of quarterback that work better on a longer field. We've seen it with Michael Vick for a number of years, and like Vick, Kaepernick feels like a bigger threat around midfield than he does in close. We saw it continually in this game with three David Akers field goals and the turnover on downs at the end of the game. (By the way, the tone for that series of downs was set on first down when Jim Harbaugh oddly went with a handoff up the middle to LaMichael James at the seven-yard line. Felt like a total "give up" play.)
2. LaMichael James
Early in the second quarter, the 49ers had weathered the early storm of big Raven pass plays and their own mistakes. Their pass rush was getting to Joe Flacco, and momentum had noticeably changed, to the point where everyone in my row of the press area agreed -- momentum had changed! (And if the press rubber stamps it, by God, it's gotta be true!) And then LaMichael James, in trying to make the extra spin and eke out another yard got popped by Courtney Upshaw, fumbled, and Arthur Jones recovered. Ten plays later, the Ravens were up 14-3 on their way to a 21-6 halftime lead.
1. Jim Harbaugh
(NOTE: I'm going with Harbaugh here because I have more salient points to make about him, but know that Chris Culliver is the easy lock for this spot. What a Godawful week that guy had, on every level.) Putting Harbaugh in the "loser" category may be a bit strong. I mean, the guy has won two division titles and lost in the NFC title game and Super Bowl in his first two seasons as an NFL coach. The guy is good.
But his team didn't look ready to play, really from the beginning of warmups (at least compared to a Ravens team that had a noticeable hop in their step), and it played out that way with two crucial penalties in the first quarter leading to early momentum going the Ravens way. Then toward the end of the game, he burned a timeout to settle his team down before third down at the 5-yard line. Honestly, delay of game would have been better than burning what amounts to a coupon for 40 seconds there. One more time out was the difference between a last-gasp kickoff return and a final look at the end zone. Not a great night for one of the best in the league.
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