NEW ORLEANS — For a Super Bowl with so many story lines, this game came up with quite a twist.
Try a blackout that turned a blowout into a shootout — capped by a brilliant defensive stand.
The Baltimore Ravens survived a frenzied comeback by the San Francisco 49ers following a 34-minute delay in the third quarter for a power outage Sunday night, winning their second championship 34-31. Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco threw three first-half touchdown passes, Jacoby Jones ran back the second-half kickoff a record 108 yards for a score, and star linebacker Ray Lewis' last play fittingly was part of a defensive effort that saved the victory.
"To me, that was one of the most amazing goal-line stands I've ever been a part of in my career," said Lewis, who announced a month ago he would retire when the Ravens were done playing.
They are done now, with another Vince Lombardi Trophy headed for the display case.
"What better way to do it," Lewis said, "than on the Super Bowl stage?"
That stage already was loaded with plots:
—The coaching Harbaughs sibling rivalry, won by older brother John, who said the postgame greeting with Jim was "painful."
—Flacco's emergence as a top-level quarterback, and his impending free agency.
—Colin Kaepernick's rapid rise in the last two months as 49ers QB.
—The big game's return to the Big Easy for the first time in 11 years, and the first time since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city in 2005.
—Lewis' self-proclaimed "last ride."
But when the Superdome lost power, well, that wasn't in anyone's scenario.
Flacco and the Ravens (14-6) were turning the game into a rout, leading 28-6 when, without even a flicker of warning, several banks of lights and the scoreboards went dark. Players from both sides stretched and chatted with each other in as bizarre a scene as any Super Bowl has witnessed.