Turnover battle could be key in Super Bowl
49ers and Ravens kick off Harbaugh Bowl Sunday night
NEW ORLEANS — Film study for the San Francisco 49ers’ defense hasn’t been all about the Baltimore Ravens. The 49ers also have seen highlights of turnovers that swayed recent Super Bowls.
To further emphasize the need of forcing turnovers Sunday, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio showed his players a graphic listing turnover differentials and Super Bowl results.
“I think one of them said if you were plus-three, there was a 100 percent rate of victory,” defensive tackle Justin Smith said.
During the past 10 Super Bowls, only one team has won without a winning turnover differential: the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers. Three teams in the past 10 Super Bowls had at least a plus-3 turnover ratio, and all won: the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (plus-4), 2004 New England Patriots (plus-3) and 2010 Green Bay Packers (plus-3).
“We’ve got to get that ball, simply,” said safety Dashon Goldson, who had three interceptions and two fumble recoveries in the regular season.
Defensive players began receiving rubber wristbands two months ago for creating turnovers. Most defenders wear those pseudo-trophies daily.
Secondary coach Ed Donatell ordered 150 bracelets after borrowing the concept from former 49ers assistant Dan Quinn, now the Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman provided the bracelets’ inscription: “To It = See It = Get It.”
“I don’t know if it helps, but it makes a sticky message for players,” Donatell said. “It was big for us last game.”
The 49ers came up with two second-half turnovers to rally from a 17-0 deficit and beat the Atlanta Falcons 28-24 in the NFC Championship game. Even though Chris Culliver had an interception and Aldon Smith a fumble recovery, all defensive players received a wristband.
“We felt everyone deserved one because of the character and courage we showed to overcome that deficit,” Bowman said. “The whole defense showed that, instead of just one or two players who got turnovers.”
n Wide receiver and return specialist Ted Ginn Jr. said if the 49ers win Sunday, he’ll give his Super Bowl ring to his father, who’s battled pancreatic cancer since August and will be at Sunday’s game.
“No matter what goes on, I’ll be happy that I gave him this opportunity to experience this,” Ginn Jr. told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “It’s a dream come true for him.”
The 49ers discretely allowed Ginn to visited his father a couple times during the season. “I was very, very afraid of losing him,” Ginn added. “It was really tough knowing I couldn’t get there, couldn’t be there for him every day. That was the scary part.”
The elder Ginn has been a longtime and highly successful coach at Cleveland’s Glenville High. Safety Donte Whitner played for him and credits him as a driving influence. “Ever since we were kids, Ted pushed us to get to where we are right now — from Glenville to Ohio State to now,” Whitner told the Plain Dealer. “And to have him here with us after everything that he’s been through this year makes it all the more special.”
— The 49ers and Ravens concluded full-scale practice sessions Friday, again working out at the New Orleans Saints’ facility. The teams have walk-through practices scheduled for Saturday at the Superdome.
The 49ers worked out for 80 minutes at the Saints’ indoor facility, completing their drills 15 minutes early.
“We got everything done we normally do,” coach Jim Harbaugh said.
— Harbaugh called quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s week of practice exemplary, adding: “That’s the way he always is since we’ve known him. This is always the way he handles himself — A plus, plus. He’s very focused on the game plan. He’s ready to go.”
The only Super Bowl starting quarterbacks who entered with fewer career starts than Kaepernick’s nine are the New York Giants’ Jeff Hostetler (six in 1991, defeated the Buffalo Bills) and the Los Angeles Rams’ Vince Ferragamo (seven in 1980, lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers).
— Both teams’ injury reports list all injured players as probable. For the 49ers, that includes starting outside linebackers Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks, who were limited for a third straight day at practice by shoulder injuries.— The 49ers are not planning to move to a different hotel on Super Bowl eve, as some teams do.