Jacoby Jones scored two of the most spectacular touchdowns in Super Bowl history as Baltimore Ravens beaten San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in a thriller.
First Jacoby Jones, playing in his native New Orleans, caught a long Joe Flacco pass before running into the endzone.
Then, after Beyonce’s stunning half-time show, Jones returned the kick-off 108 yards in barely 11 seconds for the longest ever Super Bowl play.
After a long delay due to a power cut, the 49ers hit back but fell just short.
The third quarter will go down as one of the most crazy and dramatic encounters ever seen in the NFL, let alone in a Super Bowl.
Many of the 70,000-plus crowd at the Superdome were still recovering from a high-octane half-time show performance by Beyonce and her old Destiny’s Child bandmates when Jones received David Akers’ kick-off eight yards deep inside his own endzone.
Rather than take the sensible option of appealing for a fair catch, he elected to run the ball and ghosted past the 49ers defenders without barely a touch.
After Baltimore raced into an early lead courtesy of a pair of Joe Flacco touchdown passes to Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, Jacoby Jones extended Baltimore’s advantage to 21-3 when he caught Flacco’s perfectly floated downfield pass and then, realising he had not been touched by a defender, showed equally quick mental agility to get up and trot into the endzone.
After trailing 21-6 at the break, and then 28-6 following Jones’s kick-off return, San Francisco could have been forgiven for giving up.
But they were inspired by something truly unprecedented – half of the lights going off, and not being fixed fully for 34 minutes.
While wags joked that 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh may have had something to do with it, the truth was that it was his side – rather than the floodlights – which had a power surge against the Ravens, who are coached by his older brother John Harbaugh.
First they were aided by some comical defending by the Ravens, which let Michael Crabtree turn an already impressive gain into a 31-yard touchdown as two defenders crashed into each other.
Then, after a good punt return, Frank Gore ran unopposed into the right hand corner of the endzone from six yards.
Suddenly the 49ers were only 20-28 down, and things got even worse for the Ravens when San Francisco cornerback Tarell Brown stripped the ball out of Ray Rice’s hands and fell on the loose ball himself for a turnover.
Following an exchange of field goals, Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick capped a long drive with a 15-yard run into the endzone down the left sideline.
But his two-point conversion attempt failed, and Justin Tucker’s 38-yard field goal made it 34-29 to Baltimore deep into the fourth quarter.
San Francisco tried to battle back, but ultimately their recovery stalled when Colin Kaepernick’s pass towards Crabtree fell incomplete.
Jim Harbaugh cried foul, arguing his receiver had been held by a defender, but the officials were never going to change their mind and Baltimore were able, just about, to wind down the clock and seal their second Vince Lombardi trophy.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who ended his 17-year career with a second Super Bowl win, said: “How could it end any other way than that. And now I get to ride into the sunset with my second ring.
“It’s no greater way, as a champ, to go out on your last ride with the men that I went out with, with my team-mates. And you looked around this stadium and … Baltimore! Baltimore! We coming home, baby! We did it!”
San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh congratulated his big brother John’s triumph while struggling to come to terms with his side’s loss: “Had several opportunities in the game. Didn’t play our best game. Ravens made a lot of plays. Our guys battled back to get back in it. We competed and battled to win.”