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How did the Niners let this one get away?
From Elias: If you only knew these two facts about the Super Bowl - the 49ers averaged 7.8 yards per play and Frank Gore led all players with 110 rushing yards - you could have reasonably concluded that the Niners won and won big. Here's why:
Only three other teams averaged at least 7.5 yards per play in an NFL or AFL title game (Super Bowl or otherwise). All won the game by more than 30 points: the 1957 Lions, 7.7 yards per play (59-14 over the Browns); 1963 Chargers, 10.2 (51-10 over the Patriots); and 1987 Redskins, 8.4 (42-10 over the Broncos). Frank Gore was the 20th player to gain at least 100 rushing yards in a Super Bowl. Only three others did so for the losing team; but unlike the Ravens, a player on the winning team also reached the 100-yard rushing mark in those three games.
Yes, Flacco is now an "Elite QB"
From Elias: The Ravens' victory in Super Bowl XLVII was Joe Flacco's ninth win as a starting quarterback in a postseason game. That tied Tom Brady's record for most playoff victories in a QBs first five seasons in the NFL.
Flacco threw three touchdowns passes against the 49ers, to finish this postseason with 11 TDs and no interceptions. Flacco's streak of 11 TDs without an INT is the third longest in playoff history, behind Joe Montana (18, 1989-1991) and Drew Brees (13, 2010-2012).
Jones scores long TDs by air and land
From Elias: Jacoby Jones scored on a 56-yard pass reception and a 108-yard kickoff return against the Niners. Only four other players in NFL history scored TDs on a play from scrimmage and a kick return in the same playoff game: Charlie Trippi of the Chicago Cardinals in the 1947 NFL Championship Game, Anthony Carter of the Vikings in a Wild Card game in Jan. 1988, Dante Hall of the Chiefs in a Divisional game in Jan. 2004, and Reggie Bush of the Saints in a Divisional game in Jan. 2010.
Jacoby set a Super Bowl record with 290 combined yards (206 on kickoff returns, 28 on punt returns, on his 56-yard pass reception).
Lewis goes out as few Hall of Famers have
From Elias: Five current Hall of Famers ended their NFL career with a Super Bowl victory: Ted Hendricks, Mel Renfro, John Elway, Gary Zimmerman, and Russ Grimm. Among the finalists for the Hall's Class of 2013, Jerome Bettis and Michael Strahan also won a Super Bowl in their final game and could join that group in time. And now Ray Lewis is odds-on to do so one day as well.
Kaepernick makes his mark in his first playoff season
From Elias: Colin Kaepernick threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree and he scored on a 15-yard run in the 49ers' loss. Only five other QBs threw a TD pass and scored a TD, both on plays of at least 15 yards, in the same playoff game: Sid Luckman, Otto Graham, Jim McMahon, John Elway, and Alex Smith. But Kaepernick did it twice in a span of three playoff games (with 56-yard and 20-yard TD runs and a 20-yard TD pass against the Packers on Jan. 12).
Gasol has Nash's back in Lakers' narrow victory
From Elias: The Lakers blew an 18-point third-quarter lead but held on to defeat the Pistons, 98-97. Over the last 10 seasons, LA has won 214 of 215 regular-season games in which they led by at least 18 points in the second half.
Sunday's game was the second straight in which Pau Gasol led the Lakers in scoring (23 points), something he had not done even once since topping LA with 23 points in their season-opening loss to the Mavericks.
But an even bigger surprise than Gasol's mini scoring surge was Steve Nash's two missed foul shots with the Lakers leading by one point with 2 seconds to play. Nash hadn't missed a free throw in the final minute of the fourth quarter since January 20, 2012 (33-for-33 in the interim), and this was the first game in he missed two foul shots in the final 10 seconds of the fourth quarter since April 14, 2003.
James celebrates Super Sunday
From Elias: LeBron James (30), Chris Bosh (28), and Dwyane Wade (23) all topped the 20-point mark in the Heat's 100-85 victory at Toronto. It was the second straight year in which James was the only NBA player to score at least 30 points on Super Bowl Sunday, and the details were the same in 2013 as they were in 2012, when LBJ also scored 30 points against the Raptors.
James has scored at least 30 points on Super Bowl Sunday four times (also in 2004 and 2009), surpassing the all-time NBA high that he previously shared with Robert Parish. Of course, The Chief had the advantage of playing most of his career for the Celtics, who have played 31 games on SBS, by far the most in NBA history.
Boston's bench saves the day vs. Clippers
From Elias: The Celtics edged the Clippers, 106-104, and the credit has to go to Boston's bench which combined to shoot 65 percent from the field (17-for-26). The Celtics have won 16 consecutive games in which their reserves made at least 60 percent of their field-goal attempts, dating back to April 2010.
Crosby + Malkin + Ovechkin = no goals in high-scoring affair
From Elias: A game featuring Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Alex Ovechkin promises plenty of goals, and that was the case on Sunday when the Penguins beat the Capitals, 6-3. But none of the nine goals was scored by Crosby (who had three assists), Malkin (two assists), or Ovechkin (one assist). It was only the fourth regular-season game in which Crosby, Malkin, and Ovechkin all played without at least one goal by one or more of those three marquee names. Here's the kicker: The nine goals in Sunday's game were one more than the total from the previous three games in which they all played, all won by Pittsburgh (2-0, 2-1, and 2-1).
Vanek continues to key the Sabres' attack
From Elias: Thomas Vanek has been a proverbial one-man gang for the Sabres this season and he had a hand in all three of Buffalo's goals in Sunday's 4-3 loss to Florida, recording one goal and two assists. Vanek has scored or assisted on a league-high 70 percent of his team's goals this season (19 of 27, including 9 of 11 in the Sabres' last three games), and he's done so despite missing one game. The only NHL player other than Vanek with points on more than half of his team's goals is Henrik Zetterberg of the Red Wings (12 of 21, 57%).
Hedberg now second behind Brodeur ... a distant second
From Elias: Johan Hedberg recorded his first shutout of the season and the 22nd shutout of his NHL career with a 3-0 win for the Devils over the Islanders. It was Hedberg's eighth shutout in the three seasons he's played for New Jersey, which remarkably moves him past Chris Terreri into sole possession of second place on the all-time leaders list for the Scouts/Rockies/Devils franchise.
Of course, the first name on that list is 40-year-old Martin Brodeur, whose shutout against the Flyers on January 22 was the 120th of his career. Hedberg, who is 39 years old, and Brodeur are the first teammates in NHL history to each record a shutout at age 39 or older in the same season.
Price rules the Senators
From Elias: Carey Price extended his winning streak to six games in the Canadiens' 2-1 victory over the Senators. Price has 13 career wins against Ottawa, his second-highest total versus one opponent (15 vs. Boston), and he's 7-0-2 with a 1.41 GAA in his last nine games against the Senators, allowing only one or two goals in each game.