49ers vs. Falcons: 7 Best Highlights from NFC Championship Game
In the first game of the NFL's Championship Weekend, the San Francisco 49ers headed into Atlanta to face the Falcons on their home turf.
The Falcons got off to another hot start, going up 17-0 before the 49ers had a chance to catch their breath. But the lead wouldn't last. The 49ers won the game with two fourth-quarter touchdown runs by Frank Gore.
The final score was 28-24, and these are the biggest highlights from this incredible game.
Julio Jones Burns the 49ers
Matt Ryan moved the Falcons down the field with some key third-down conversions, hitting Roddy White and Jones to move the chains.
Then, after less than four minutes had expired on the game clock, Ryan found Jones deep down the right sideline after he split coverage and got behind 49ers safety Dashon Goldson.
The 49ers defense was confused on the play, as Goldson expected the cornerback to cover the deep zone, and Jones' speed was too much to overcome. This touchdown put the Falcons up by a score of 7-0.
Julio Jones Keeps Rolling
By the time the first quarter ended, the Falcons were up 10-0 and were knocking at the door for another score.
On the first play of the second quarter, Ryan found Jones in the left corner of the end zone for the second touchdown of the game by this duo. Jones made a spectacular catch over Tarell Brown, then got both feet in bounds for the score.
After this catch, Jones' stats through the first 15-plus minutes of the game looked like this: six catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns.
He simply could not be contained, and his dominant play put the Falcons up by a score of 17-0.
After getting pummeled the entire first quarter, the 49ers finally put together a scoring drive.
Colin Kaepernick made some key plays to convert third downs—including a 27-yard connection with Vernon Davis on 3rd-and-7—and LaMichael James finished it off with authority on a 15-yard run for an important touchdown.
The drive did more than just put points on the board, though, as the 11-play drive chewed up almost seven minutes of game time, giving the 49ers defense some much-needed rest.
After this touchdown, the score was 17-7 in favor of the Falcons.
Vernon Davis Makes an Appearance
After taking a back seat to Michael Crabtree for most of the second half of the season, Davis became an integral part of the 49ers' offensive game plan against the Falcons.
The 49ers forced Atlanta into a punt after scoring their first touchdown of the game, and they marched down the field on their next drive to make it a three-point game.
Davis caught three passes for 48 yards—including this four-yard touchdown—and the score was 17-14 in favor of Atlanta after this score.
Tony Gonzalez Says, "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better"
Ryan and his offense worked the 49ers defense in the two-minute drill, marching down the field on a seven-play drive that went 80 yards in one-and-a-half minutes.
The impressive drive ended on a 10-yard Gonzalez touchdown reception, and it was a thing of beauty. Gonzalez beat Patrick Willis to the inside at the goal line, and Ryan put the ball on the money for the score.
The Falcons took a 24-14 lead into halftime.
49ers Strike Back To Begin Second Half
The 49ers had their way with the Falcons on the first drive of the second half.
Kaepernick hit Randy Moss for a couple of key first downs, hit Delanie Walker for another and Frank Gore did the rest.
Seven plays and over four minutes later, Gore finished the drive with an impressive five-yard touchdown run to pull to within three points once again.
Atlanta led 24-21 at this point.
Frank Gore Puts the 49ers Ahead in Fourth Quarter
After a trio of turnovers—two by Atlanta and one by San Francisco—the 49ers finally got on the scoreboard to take the lead for the first time of the game.
The Falcons allowed Ted Ginn to break off a 20-yard punt return to set them up at the Atlanta 38-yard line. Six plays later Gore finished off the drive with a nine-yard run for the go-ahead score.
The 49ers led 28-24 at this point.
And that proved to be the decisive score of the game, as the 49ers stuffed Atlanta's fourth-down bid late in the fourth quarter at the San Francisco 10-yard line and held off Ryan's last-second, last-ditch Hail Mary attempt at the end of the game.
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