Matt Ryan and the Falcons exploded early in the game, dropping 17 points on the 49ers, and digging them a deep hole. San Francisco eventually responded by putting up 14 of their own, but the Niners went into the locker room at halftime down two scores.
It was a struggle throughout, but the Falcons maintained momentum for a good part of the game. They were able to get a lead on the Niners early and hold it for three-and-a-half quarters. Ryan had Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez all rolling -- they didn't drop anything.
And even though the 49ers made them one-dimensional, the Falcons still executed so well through the air.
It was unfortunate, however, that they lost Michael Turner halfway through with an ankle injury. Even the receiver, Jones, had his knee looked at on the sideline. That's what the 49ers were going to do no matter what; play physical. San Francisco was able to be efficient by hitting and blocking with tenacity.
They found success running the ball, as both backs, Frank Gore and LaMichael James, scored touchdowns on the day. But the Falcons did a great job limiting the 49ers' newest playmaker, Colin Kaepernick.
The 49ers' QB only scored one touchdown for himself.
Mike Nolan had his defense spy Kaepernick, and they did a great job containing him. It was clear that Atlanta was going to make him win it with his arm and play downhill with the Niners' running game. But San Francisco was able to fight through and pull out a win by picking it up on defense and moving the chains.
The 49ers got past the Falcons at Atlanta, advancing to their sixth Super Bowl in franchise history with a 28-24 victory. It was a tremendous effort by both teams. The NFC will be well-represented in this year's championship game.
Who's got it better than us? The #49ers are headed to the Super Bowl with a 28-24 win vs. Atlanta!— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) January 20, 2013