49ers feel sting from bitter Super Bowl defeat

49ers' plans for No. 6 nixed by Ravens

49ers feel sting from bitter Super Bowl defeat
February 4, 2013, 9:45 am
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Linebacker NaVorro Bowman, hearing the incessant screaming from Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and others just a few feet away, said he could not take it. (AP)

NEW ORLEANS -- Running back Frank Gore, and many of his teammates, sat in the noisy interview area underneath the stands of the Superdome just minutes after the 49ers' 34-31 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday evening.

On the other side of the curtain, Ravens players loudly celebrated, their over-modulating voices drowning out a lot of the soft-spoken words the 49ers delivered.

"I think we're a better team," Gore said. "(I'm) just happy the way we kept fighting. Any other team probably would've just laid down."

Linebacker NaVorro Bowman, upon hearing the incessant screaming from Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and others, said he could not take it. He wanted to leave the room altogether. An NFL public-relations person instructed him to remain and conclude his media obligations.

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"I'm frustrated," Bowman said. "I think about anything I could've done to change the outcome. I'm just that type of person. I always look at myself and see which way I could've played better.

"I'm frustrated just because I know how hard this team has worked from Day 1 -- the coaches, the players, the equipment staff, trainers, everyone. We all had some part in us getting this far and for us to come up short, it leaves a bitter taste in our mouth."

The 49ers battled back from a 22-point deficit in the third quarter. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick's potential game-tying pass on a two-point conversion sailed over Randy Moss' head with 9:57 remaining. And the 49ers' final chance ended with three consecutive incomplete passes from the Ravens' 5-yard line.

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"I thought our guys battled, they competed," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "We got a spark and we weren't going to look back after that. I thought we battled right to the brink of winning. It was a heck of a football game."

For the second consecutive season, the 49ers advanced deep in the playoffs. And for the second consecutive season, the 49ers' final game ended in defeat.

"My emotions are all over the place right now," left tackle Joe Staley said. "I'm very proud of our football team, and I'm really proud of our guys.

"Definitely, right now, I'm disappointed, very frustrated we couldn't get the job done. For all the guys, it's been a special year, but you don't know how many times you will get this opportunity. To come up short, it hurts."