But Baltimore’s playoff hero, Boldin, led the Ravens down the field on a drive that culminated in a field goal to put them back up eight points at 31-23. Running back Bernard Pierce left the game with an ankle injury on the drive, but later returned.
Finally Moss had a meaningful contribution on the next possession on a corner route, then Gore knocked off a 20-yard rumble that put San Francisco in the red zone. Kaepernick dropped back to pass on the next play, but left tackle Joe Staley stonewalled Arthur Jones so badly at the line of scrimmage that he could not contain the edge and Kaepernick promptly scampered for a 15-yard touchdown run. The two point conversion failed, and the score remained 31-29 in Baltimore’s favor.
The Ravens started moving the ball like they did in the first half when they began their next drive. A pass interference on Culliver converted a third down and then a ten-yard gain by Boldin netted a first down that was overturned on a challenge. But, again coming through at the most important moment, Boldin outmuscled Culliver down the sidelines on a back shoulder throw with a hand directly in his face. Rice put the Ravens in field goal range with a 12-yard run and Tucker kicked it down the middle from 38 yards to make the score 34-29.
With one last shot to win the game, San Francisco almost ate up a large chunk of field on a near-catch by Davis on a scissor route down the sideline that was almost a circus-style, fingertip grab. Kaepernick then made a great play, recognizing zone coverage, looking off linebacker Dannell Ellerbe in order to open up a throwing lane. As soon as Crabtree came out of his break, Kaepernick nailed him on the deep-in route to arrive deep in Baltimore territory.
Coming up on the two-minute warning, Gore took the ball on the power run off tackle and ate up 33 yards to put the ball on the Baltimore seven. But it was all for naught, as the 49ers failed to find the end zone. On fourth down, Crabtree and cornerback Jimmy Smith became tangled up as he was tracking a jump ball thrown in desperation in the face of an overload blitz.
The Ravens finally ran out the clock in what proved to be a Harbaugh-bowl that was every bit as thrilling as the hype suggested. Lewis ended his career with one more ring before he becomes a Sunday fixture at Bristol on ESPN, and AFC North is once again the home of a Lombardi Trophy winner.