During the ensuing 34-minute halftime break, Jones snuck in some time watching the Beyoncé spectacle on a locker room TV. Suitably inspired, apparently, he returned the opening kick of the second half 108 yards to make it 28--6. In the span of two game minutes, Jones had touched the ball twice, gained 164 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Three plays later, just after Arthur Jones sacked Kaepernick for a six-yard loss, a brownout cut most of the building's power, leaving players and coaches alike to stretch and scheme during a 34-minute delay.
With electricity's return came a flicking on of the 49ers' power switch too. Kaepernick countered and threw and faked and read-optioned and scrambled the 49ers to 23 of the next 26 points. With 10 minutes to play it was 31--29, and the Niners were lining up for the tying two-point conversion. This will be one of those super slo-mo plays that 49ers fans will see for a long time: Reed came on a safety blitz around left tackle at the snap of the ball—or a 10th of a second early. It was close. But no flag was thrown, and as soon as Kaepernick looked up, he had to heave the ball away, somewhere in the area of Randy Moss. No chance. It turned out to be a huge play.
On the next drive the essence of Flacco was on full display. On third-and-inches from the Baltimore 45, he approached the line with four options: He could sneak; he could run Rice to the left; he could execute an option play; or he could throw to Boldin on the right side, about a 12-yard out.
Big moment. Convert this and the Ravens are likely to get at least a field goal. Fail to convert and—well, the Falcons, who at one point in the NFC Championship Game led the Niners 17--0, could tell you how that ends. Kaepernick had been nearly unstoppable for four straight drives; now he might turn a two-point deficit into a five-point lead. This is where quarterbacks have to make the right call—or face an off-season of second-guessing.
At Huck Finn's later that night, Flacco took a break from being a Super Bowl MVP (posing, signing, hugging) to discuss his options. "Their formation took away the run, and it took away the option," he said. "I don't like to sneak. I always think the quarterback sneak's a crapshoot. So I only had one choice—throw to Anquan."
"Risky," he was told.
"When you're a quarterback," he said, shrugging, "you just make the play that's there."
Back on the field, he took the snap from Matt Birk and looked for Boldin. In the stands his dad and biggest fan, Steve Flacco, was surprised. "Wow," Steve thought. "That's not a high-percentage throw."
The pass was right in Boldin's chest—but so was the right arm of cornerback Carlos Rogers. Boldin is strong, and he hung on to the ball for dear life as he and the D-back fell together. And the ball stayed caught. Gain of 15.