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Ravens Vs. 49ers: Top Five Plays Of 2012

Jeremy Bergman |
January 25, 2013 | 11:33 a.m. PST

Associate Sports Editor

The Brothers Harbaugh will not be mentioned in this article! (Wikimedia Commons)
The Brothers Harbaugh will not be mentioned in this article! (Wikimedia Commons)

We're still ten days away from Super Bowl XLVII on February 3rd, which means there's still ten days worth of Ray Lewis's last ride stories, interviews with the Harbaughs' third cousins twice-removed, and Sports Science analyses of Kaepernicking. Actually I suspect this article will be the only one this week that won't reference the Big Game as the HarBowl, the Super Browl, the Super Baugh…whoops. There are too many puns; what's a journalist to do?!

Anywho, to preface the aforementioned onslaught of media coverage to come in the next few days, I've scoured the game tape from all 37 games that the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers have played this year and have come up with the top five plays of the 2012-13 season from both clubs for your enjoyment. (You're welcome.) 

Not surprisingly this and this did not make the cut… 

Baltimore Ravens

5. Jacoby the Jackrabbit

The most memorable image of the Ravens' Super Bowl XXXV victory over the Giants had to be Jermaine Lewis's 84-yard kickoff return touchdown, a speedy streak down the sideline that cemented Baltimore's first Super Bowl win. Twelve years later, the Ravens come into this Super Bowl with yet another speed demon returning kicks - Jacoby Jones. Despite the recent rule changes concerning kickoffs, Jones managed to return three kicks back for touchdowns in…

Week 6 (108 yards, which is an NFL record)

Week 10 (105 yards) 

and Week 11 (63 yards). 

He's pretty fast, I guess.

4. Picking Peyton

Now it wasn't the most glorious or skillful interception of the season, but Corey Graham's snag of Peyton Manning's ill-timed across-the-body Favrian toss late in the first overtime of a tied AFC Divisional Playoff game was the most opportune play of the Ravens' season. What adds to the greatness of this snipe was that, less than four minutes afterwards, rookie Justin Tucker kicked the Ravens into the AFC Championship with a game-winnng 47-yard field goal. 

3. Bernard F**kin Pollard

That's what Patriots fans will forever call the safety who now on - not one, not two, not three - four occasions has severely injured valuable Patriot players, destroying their playoff chances. In 2008, as a member of the Chiefs, Pollard dove into Tom Brady's knee in the first game of the season, tearing his ACL and ending his year. In 2009, as a member of the Texans, Pollard dove into Wes Welker's knee in the last game of the season, tearing his ACL and MCL and ending his year.  In 2012, as a member of the Ravens, Pollard tackled Rob Gronkowski awkwardly in the AFC Championship, spraining Gronk's ankle and hindering his performance in the Super Bowl. Then, just last week, Pollard struck again, hitting the Pats' starting running back Stevan Ridley helmet-to-helmet, forcing Ridley to fumble the ball over to the Ravens, and briefly knocking him out. Ridley never returned, and neither did the Patriots' mojo. (NOTE: This video is either dope or cringe-worthy, you decide.)

2. Hey Diddle Diddle, Ray Rice Up the Middle

Down 13-10 at San Diego with only 1:50 to go in the fourth quarter, the Ravens were faced with a daunting 4th and 29. Not since the days of Freddie Mitchell had that improbable of a fourth down been completed. But leave it to the patient Joe Flacco, the speedy and crafty Ray Rice, and the blind referees to make the improbable possible. A few plays later, Baltimore, on the verge of losing their third game of the season, kicked a last-second FG to send it into overtime and did the same thing again the extra period to snag its ninth victory of the season.

1. The Mile High Moore-acle

Regardless of whether Joe Flacco and the Ravens win the Super Bowl or whether Rahim Moore ever plays another game in Denver, this play will go down in the annals of NFL history as one of the most improbable, lucky, dramatic, and jaw-dropping plays ever. If you were, by chance or ignorance, living under a rock these past two weeks, then you don't know that the Ravens were down 35-28 with less than 40 seconds left in the fourth quarter, and you don't know that the Ravens' offense had been non-existent all quarter; and you don't know that Flacco stepped up on a 3rd and 3 at the 30-yard line and threw a bomb down the right sideline that hung in the Mile High air like a balloon; and you don't know that Moore severely misjudged defending the lofted pass and jumped too early; and you don't know that the ball fell nicely into the waiting arms of - who else? - Jacoby Jones, who pranced into the end zone, tying the Conference Championship game and sending it into overtime. You can't believe it? I still can't, either. 

San Francisco 49ers

Alex Smith's injury changed the course of the Niners' season, maybe their history. (Wikimedia Commons)
Alex Smith's injury changed the course of the Niners' season, maybe their history. (Wikimedia Commons)
5. Smith Gets Bledsoed

So this really isn't a skillful play or even a successful sequence for the 49ers, but it was a play that changed their season entirely, and for the better. Is it sadistic for me to rank a starting quarterback's injury as a top five play of the year? Maybe. Is it because of this injury that San Francisco is playing in the Super Bowl next Sunday? Yes. So Niners fans, give a big thank you to Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar, who, like Jets backer Mo Lewis did for the Pats, may have altered your franchise's history with one hit. 

4. Pick Twelve

Drew Brees normally doesn't make mistakes. But in Week 12, against the Niners, he made two bad ones. With around 30 seconds left in the first half and the Saints driving with a 14-7 lead, Ahmad Brooks jumped a route and took Brees' inaccurate pass back 50 yards for a touchdown, tying the game at the half. Jump to the third quarter. On the heels of a Niner TD to take a 21-14 lead, Brees throws another pick, this one tipped off of Marques Colston's hands and right to Donte Whitner, who burned the Saints' offense 42 yards to the end zone. 

3. Old Man Moss

Sure, it was against the Cardinals. And yes, the Niners were already up 17-0. But look at the moves on the 35-year old legend that is Randy Moss. First, he jukes two much younger and nimbler defenders. Then, while they search for their missing jockstraps, Moss burns down the sideline past every other player on the field - including his own! 

2. What Comeback?

The Niners had just surrendered 28 unanswered points in less than 15 minutes to the Patriots, who tied the game at 31 with less than seven minutes to go. The momentum was with the Pats and the crowd was getting loud. It looked like San Francisco 49ers were about to get embarrassed on national television. But then this happened (1:17 of the video below)… Michael Crabtree's scamper for six put the Niners ahead for good and provided the momentum for the rest of the season.

1. Kaepernicking

Colin Kaepernick was the story of the Niners' season and of the year in the NFL. So it is fitting that the Niners' top play of the year is a Kaepernick run, a 56-yard touchdown at that. Tied at 24 halfway through the third quarter of the Niners' NFC Divisional Playoff matchup, Kaepernick ran the option and deceived everyone on the field - and many more at home. Kap shot right through a gaping hole in the Packer D to the end zone. The play defined the year in San Francisco, put the Packers away for good, and - most importantly - got #Kaepernicking trending.


Reach Associate Sports Editor Jeremy Bergman via e-mail or on Twitter @JABergman



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

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