49ers Win NFC Championship, Defeat Falcons, 28-24
Running back Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after scoring a nine-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on January 20, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.
For the sixth time in franchise history, the San Francisco 49ers are headed to the Super Bowl.
The Forty-Niners advanced by defeating the Atlanta Falcons, 28-24, in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, at the Georgia Dome, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Atlanta controlled the early part of the game, jumping out to a 17-0 lead, as they scored on their first three possessions of the game.
The Falcons scored on the very first drive of the game, getting on the scoreboard in the first 3:36 of the game, on a seven-play, 80-yard rive, that was capped off on a 46-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Ryan to receiver Julio Jones.
On their next drive, Atlanta went 65 yards, on 12 plays, in 6:23, before Matt Bryant kicked home a 35-yard field goal, to extend their lead to 10-0 at the 3:24 mark of the opening quarter.
The second quarter began with the Falcons extending their lead to 17-0, as Ryan and Jones hooked-up again, this time on a 20-yard pass, capping off a 4-play, 55-yard drive, that took 1:55 off the clock.
San Francisco began to move the ball, and cut the Atlanta lead to three points, scoring two touchdowns later in the second quarter.
The first one came on a Lamichael James 15-yard run at the 8:14 mark of the second period, capping off an 11-play, 80-yard drive, cutting the Falcons lead to 17-7.
The 49ers closed the gap even more at the 2:00 mark of the second quarter, when quarterback Colin Kaepernick hit tight end Vernon Davis with a 4-yard touchdown pass, capping off a 7-play, 82-yard drive, to cut the Atlanta lead to 17-14.
The Falcons scored on the last drive of the initial half however, going on a 7-play, 80-yard drive, that was capped off on a 10-yard pass from Ryan to tight end Tony Gonzalez.
The touchdown toss was the third of the first half by Ryan, and gave Atlanta a 24-14 halftime advantage.
The only points of the third quarter came at the 10:51 mark of the quarter, when San Francisco running back Frank Gore scored on a 5-yard run, highlighting 7-play, 82-yard drive, to cut the Falcons lead to 24-21, which is how the quarter ended.
The 49ers looked poised to take the lead early in the first quarter, moving the ball deep into Atlanta territory, but receiver Michael Crabtree, after a reception from Kaepernick, fumbled the football, and the Falcons recovered inside their own one-yard line.
The San Francisco defense came up big however, forcing the Falcons to punt, after going three-and-out, and giving their offense the football at the Atlanta 38-yard line.
The Forty-Niner offense took advantage, as six plays later, Gore scored on a nine-yard touchdown run, and gave San Francisco the lead, their first of the game, at the 8:27 mark of the final quarter.
With under 2:00 left in the game, the Falcons moved the football to the San Francisco 10-yard line, but came up short, as they turned he ball over on downs, and the 49ers completed the comeback, winning the NFC Championship.
Atlanta actually out-gained San Francisco, in terms of total yards, 477-382, but also turned the football over twice, and had only 65 rushing yards on the afternoon.
Kaepernick led the 49ers, completing 16-of-21 passes, for 233 yards, and a touchdown.
In a losing cause for the Falcons, Ryan completed 30-of-42 passes, for 396 yards, and three touchdowns.
With the win, San Francisco improved to 13-5-1 on the year, while Atlanta's season comes to an end at 14-4.
The 49ers have won five Super Bowls in franchise history, but haven't made an appearance since winning Super Bowl XXIX back in 1995, when they defeated the San Diego Chargers, 49-26, to win the 1994 title.
Super Bowl XLVII will take place on Sunday, February 3, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, in New Orleans, Louisiana.