NEW ORLEANS - That sure didn't take long.
Two weeks off doesn't appear to have cooled down the scorching Ravens' offense one iota. After forcing the 49ers to go three-and-out on the first possession of the Super Bowl, Baltimore marched right down from its own 49 to take a 7-0 lead just 4:24 into the contest.
Joe Flacco found Anquan Boldin speeding through the middle of the San Francisco secondary for a 13-yard touchdown, giving the Ravens quarterback nine touchdowns and no picks so far in the playoffs.
Flacco went 3-for-4 for 41 yards and a touchdown on the six-play, 51-yard drive that has Baltimore out to an early edge.
Update: The 49ers answered right away, pulling to within 7-3 on David Akers' 36-yard field goal with 3:58 to go in the first quarter.
San Francisco threatened to tie it with a 12-play, 62-yard drive to reach the Ravens' 8. But as has been common this season, the Baltimore defense tightened up in the red zone and kept the 49ers from scoring a touchdown. A Paul Kruger sack pushed Colin Kaepernick back to the 18 and San Francisco had to settle for the field goal.
Update II: While I've heard a number of people predict the 49ers would win this week, I've also heard many call a Ravens blowout, and it just might be heading in that direction.
Baltimore just upped its lead to 14-3 on Flacco's 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dennis Pitta with 7:10 to go in the first half.
That capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive that was set up by a LaMichael James fumble, the first turnover of the game. Corey Graham forced it and Arthur Jones recovered it.
Flacco is making it look easy, going 10-for-13 for 124 yards and two touchdowns, and may be well on his well to earning Super Bowl MVP.
Plenty of time left, but the Ravens are playing quite well on the biggest stage, moving the ball easily (153 yards so far) against a talented defense. Let's see if they keep it up and can find an answer for 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, a former Terp.
Update III: Another fling by Flacco to Jacoby Jones, this time for 56 yards and the Ravens have a 21-3 lead with 1:45 to go in the second quarter.
Jones was so wide open that he wasn't touched when he caught the ball inside the 10. He got up and eluded two defensive backs to speed his way into the end zone.
Flacco is on fire. Third-and-10 fling and this one is a three-score game.
Update IV: The 49ers drove down with ease with little time left in the first half, but were again stifled in the red zone. Akers' 27-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter cut the Ravens' lead to 21-6.