Throughout 17 seasons, not many things can compare to what the Baltimore Ravens accomplished in this year’s playoffs. Of course, before this year, 2000 topped everything we had ever seen, but it was this playoff run that had emotions running higher than ever before.
Whether it was Ray’s last dance against Indy, the Miracle to Jacoby, or knocking off Brady, this team was destined to win Super Bowl XLVII.
Like John Harbuagh emphasized in his first press conference, this TEAM was really about TEAM. It might be a cliché, but it’s true; every player played a part in this one. Here’s my unofficial top five players of Super Bowl XLVII:
5: Jimmy Smith: In some eyes, this will be a stretch, but Jimmy Smith had two of the biggest plays on the game. On 3rd and goal on the 49ers’ final drive, Smith deflected a pass from Colin Kaepernick that would have made it 4th and one yard to go at the goal line. Those four yards might not seem too important, but it forced Kapernick into a passing play instead of using his legs to have a very makeable one-yard TD run. And of course on 4th down, Smith was covering Michael Crabtree which would eventually be the final 49er play. Despite all of the debate about how Smith held Crabtree, it was a clean play with perfect coverage.
4: Paul Kruger: Kruger proved on Sunday that he really was another one of Ozzie’s perfect draft picks. Sealing edges all day, Kapernick wasn’t able to get the ground game going and he was forced to try through the air. Kruger also recorded two sacks in the biggest game of his young career. It should be interesting to see what Ozzie and Co. do with Kruger in the offseason, as he is a free agent in 2013.
3: Anquan Boldin: Who has been better throughout the entire postseason than the modern-day Q? Boldin has been sensational and Joe Flacco’s biggest target in the best postseason of his life. Q knew what it was like to lose and not capture the Lombardi, so this time it was personal. He racked up 104 yards on his six receptions. Receiving the first touchdown of the game, Anquan snatched the pass from Flacco and got XLVII under way.
2: Jacoby Jones: I’m not sure if it was his mother’s homemade gumbo or what, but Jones knew the magnitude of this game, and made each of his plays count. He may have only had one catch, but it was a 56-yard rocket from Flacco followed by a pretty tip-toe move to scamper into the end-zone. That play put Baltimore up 21-3 and allowed them to have a huge lead going into the locker room. Oh yeah, he also had that 108-yard TD return to start of the second half.
1: Joe Flacco: ELITE. Do I have to say more? ELITE.
Thanks for the ride, Ravens. Every bit of stress was worth the ultimate reward!