The Atlanta Falcons dominated the first quarter of play, moving the ball down the field on their first possession as Matt Ryan hit a wide-open Julio Jones on a play-action pass for the game’s first score. They increased their lead to 10-0, and held the lead until 8:23 left in the game when Niners’ running back Frank Gore scored on a read/option TD scamper.
The San Francisco 49′ers did everything they could to lose the ball game, including (but not limited to) losing a fumble at the goal line earlier in the second half.
Down 28-24 with 5 mins remaining, Matt Ryan drove the Falcons down the field but a questionable reception by Harry Douglass was allowed to stand upon review. If the Falcons weren’t going to score on this particular drive, they would probably run out of time waiting for the ball back as San Francisco’s offense had awakened from it’s first quarter slumber.
Obviously, “spotting” the other team in any sort of Championship game really puts your team at a disadvantage, and the Niners weren’t playing with a lot of fire until late in the second quarter. They carried the momentum through halftime, however, and finally took the lead halfway through the fourth.
It was enough to get them the win in the Georgia Dome as Matt Ryan’s 4th-down pass attempt to Roddy White was well-defended by LB Navorro Bowman. One problem was White ran a 5-yard crossing route, which allowed Bowman to put a legal bump on the receiver which blew up the timing of the play. The other problem was that, had he actually caught the pass, he still would have been short of the first down by a couple of yards. Real head-scratcher there.
San Francisco will be going to their 6th Super Bowl two weeks from today. The organization is 5-0 in the Super Bowl – 4 wins behind Joe Montana and one victory was with Steve Young calling the signals back in 1994, their last trip to the Big Dance.
Atlanta had only been to the Super Bowl once before, losing to John Elway’s Denver Broncos in 1998.
San Francisco was down 17-0 at one point in the second quarter as Atlanta was looking to blow them out. This game ended up very much like the Seattle game the week before, when Atlanta blew a big lead, but made up for their “sins” by kicking a field goal at the end to ice the game by a deuce.
No such luck against Jim Harbaugh’s team this week. Julio Jones had 8 receptions for 148 yards and 2 TDs, including the 48-yarder on the play-action pass on the game’s initial drive while Vernon Davis was San Fran’s leading receiver with 5 for 106 yards and a single TD.