1. The fake field goal “failure.” On a fourth and nine on the 14 yard line with three minutes left in the first half, the Ravens with a good lead already in hand, faked a field. Snapping the ball directly to the kicker, Justin Tucker ran the ball around the lift end and ended just one yard and one final clean block away from a first down.
This call was the first fake field goal in Super Bowl history. The failure came from foregoing an additional three points… But the success came from forcing the Niners who had yet to sustain a successful drive to start very deep in their end of the field with not much time. The Niners went three and out on their next possession. The decision was for taking a risk for greater gain by trusting your own proven capabilities.
2. Complete the Play. After the two minute warning in the first half, Raven quarterback Joe Flacco launched a long bomb to Jacoby Jones
who caught the ball off balance and stumbled to the ground. 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver literally jumped over Jones after the catch. Jones got up and completed the play by running into the end zone. Jones would have been considered tackled and down if Culver had touched him in any form while he was on the ground. Always play each play, each move all the way through until the whistle blows.
3. Handle Adversity. After the power outage, the Niners were able to put together a third quarter rally that merited them seventeen points in just over four minutes. It was a devastating comeback. It seemed as if the emotional energy of the Raven had been sapped and suggested that a team that had handles some much adversity had failed to handle the challenge of the lights going out as well as the team across the field. Always play each play, each move all the way through until the whistle blows.
4. Call the Necessary Audible. Joe Flacco played a great game but, in my mind, won the MVP in this one move. Halfway through the fourth quarter, a pass ended just short of a first down (it was measured and then challenged successfully for review.) With a three and one, the logical play was to run for the needed yardage. The Nioners stacked the line to defend it, Flacco saw it and audibled for a short right pass to Boldin which was caught for a fifteen yard gain and a first down. The play worked and the drive continues ending in a Justin Tucker field goal that proved to be the difference in the final score. If Flacco ran the play that the coach had called and it didn’t work or of the audibled pass didn’t work, it could have been the difference in momentum of the games. Have the courage and the confidence to make a call that you alone will be held accountable.
5. Take the Short Term Ding for the Long Term Win. After a legendary last stand by the Ravens defense (and, yes, there was a questionable non-call), the offense was left with a five point lead, two minutes and buried deep in the opposition’s territory. For three downs, the Niners held the Ravens to just three yards forcing a punt. Instead of kicking, punter Sam Koch ran around the end zone as the clock ticked and then stepped out of bounds for the safety, awarding San Francisco two points, but ensuring that the next play would involve the Ravens punting from a better position with even less time. The game ended on that punt return (which, surprising, was not the Niners’ only option.) > Make sure that your utility players, (such as kicker Justin Tucker and punter Sam Koch) are capable of service beyond the designated function.
> You can give up two points along your way for better outcomes.