If you listened to any of the post-game comments from either the Atlanta Falcons or the San Francisco 49ers, the most common theme heard was the 49ers made more plays to win the game when it counted. No truer words could have been spoken and that’s the reason the 49ers are headed to the Super Bowl after completing a comeback win in the NFC Championship game.
The Falcons had the Niners exactly where they wanted them; with a double-digit lead against an inexperienced quarterback known more for his legs than his arm, heading into the second half. Unfortunately, the 49ers used a complete team effort in the last 30 minutes and made the necessary plays on both sides of the ball to leave Atlanta with a win.
San Francisco controlled the game in the second half by utilizing the running game led by Frank Gore. The Falcons made it clear they were not going to let Colin Kaepernick beat them with his legs and that became obvious to the 49ers after halftime. Gore ran for 60 yards and two touchdowns in the second half when the Niners’ offensive line wore down the Falcons defense.
The Falcons, who played almost flawlessly all game on offense, only made a few mistakes in the second half, but they were big ones and the 49ers capitalized. Two turnovers from Matt Ryan, an interception and the fumble deep in San Fran territory, were huge plays in the game and likely cost Atlanta a trip to the Super Bowl. Leaving points on the field allowed the 49ers to stay in the game and put more pressure on the Falcons to try and hold up after getting out to a big lead.
The 49ers’ defense also did their part, shutting out the Falcons in the second half and making the critical two plays late in the fourth quarter to win the game. Stopping the Falcons on third and fourth down, with just four yards to go with just over a minute to play sealed the Falcons fate and propelled the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
It was a complete team effort in the second half that led the San Francisco 49ers to their sixth Super Bowl appearance in team history. Getting that same effort for 60 minutes in two weeks may determine if they win that game or not.
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