The third quarter could not have gotten off to a worse start for the 49ers. Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones returned the opening kick 108 yards for a touchdown. It tied the longest return in NFL history. The Ravens had padded their lead to 22 points, 28–6.
At 13:22 in the third quarter with the 49ers in possession of the ball, half the lights went out at the Superdome after a power surge. The play was delayed 34 minutes. The 49ers were facing a 3rd-and-13 and soon had to punt the ball away.
Baltimore then had a possession that lasted only 1:44 before they kicked it back to San Francisco. But the power outage would turn to be a huge momentum changer in the game.
San Francisco got their first touchdown when Michael Crabtree hauled in a 31-yard catch-and-run TD pass from Kaepernick mid-way through the third quarter. Kaepernick was beginning to find his rhythm having completed his first pass of the game to Randy Moss earlier in the drive.
The 49ers defense seemed to draw inspiration from their offense as they shut down the Ravens for a second straight possession culminating with a big sack of Flacco by Ahmad Brooks.
Ted Ginn Jr. then returned a poor kick by Ravens punter Sam Koch 32 yards to the Baltimore 20-yard line. After another completion from Kaepernick to tight end Davis, Gore ran to the right for a 6-yard touchdown.
The 49ers had scored two touchdowns in 2:21 to cut the lead down to eight points. It had become a completely different game since the 34-minute power outage.
With just over four minutes to go in the third quarter, Baltimore’s Ray Rice caught a ball out in the flat and then fumbled when hit. The 49ers recovered the ball. It was the Ravens’ first turnover of the game.
The 49ers ensuing possession saw Akers miss a 39-yard field goal wide left, but a penalty flag for running into the kicker gave the 49ers kicker another chance at the field goal. Akers hit the ensuing 34-yard field goal to make the score 28–23.
The third quarter ended with the Ravens finally starting to make some progress on offense after a horrific performance after the lights went out.
Follow Rahul on Twitter @RV_ETSports
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