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Corey Graham on the spot, Donte Whitner not in Super Bowl XLVII

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS --At halftime of Super Bowl XLVII, the Baltimore Ravens appear to be in control with a 21-6 lead over the San Francisco 49ers.

Turner-Carroll grad Corey Graham is a reason for that. He has been an on-the-spot star for the Baltimore Ravens throughout the postseason.

On the sports world's biggest stage tonight, Graham was involved in a game-changing turnover that helped swing momentum for the Ravens in the second quarter.

The 49ers got off to a slow start, committing costly penalties on each team's opening possession.

An illegal formation wiped out a 20-yard pass play to 49ers tight end Vernon Davis. On the Ravens' first series, an incomplete Joe Flacco pass on a third-and-9 should have forced a field goal. But linebacker Ahmad Brooks jumped offside, giving the Ravens another third-down chance. Flacco connected with Anquan Boldin over former Buffalo Bills safety Donte Whitner. Touchdown.

But the 49ers started to find their traction, driving 62 yards on 12 plays before kicking a field goal.

The 49ers forced a Ravens punt on the next possession and continued to move the ball with ease as the second quarter began.

Colin Kaepernick found Davis for a 29-yard gain and then hit him again for 11 yards. LaMichael James ran for 9 yards. Frank Gore ran for 7 more.

San Francisco was in control until James tried to run around the right end and got corralled by Graham, the Ravens' starting left cornerback who's had a marvelous postseason.

Graham wrapped up James, and outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw forced a fumble that defensive end Arthur Jones recovered.

Baltimore converted the turnover into a touchdown and a 14-3 lead. Flacco ended a 10-play, 75-yard drive with a 1-yard toss to tight end Dennis Pitta.

On San Francisco's next play from scrimmage, Kaepernick threw an interception to Baltimore safety Ed Reed to dictate the first half further.

Baltimore should have taken a 14-point lead, but kicker Justin Tucker was stopped short of the first-down marker on a fake-field-goal rushing attempt.


Corey Graham | Donte Whitner | Super Bowl XLVII
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |