Who cares about 17 points? The San Francisco 49ers don’t.
The 49ers are headed to Super Bowl XLVII after a miraculous comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Conference Championship Game. At one point down 17-0, San Francisco mounted the largest comeback in NFC Championship history that capped off the 49ers’ trip to the biggest stage in the NFL.
Although all of the pregame hoopla swirled around second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick and how the Falcons would have to slow him down in order to win, it was 49ers running back Frank Gore who put the team on his back.
When the game first got under way, the 49ers offense looked lost. Kaepernick struggled to get on the same page with his offensive line as the Georgia Dome crowd roared. His passes fell incomplete as the defense pressured him with ease. After two three-and-outs, the 49ers were already in a hole and appeared to be down for the count.
From there on out, though, the offense started to click. The 49ers began feeding Gore consistently as the yards started racking up in big chunks. In no time at all, San Francisco had put up their first points and stopped the bleeding.
Gore did most of his damage in the second half, striking paydirt on two separate occasions as the 49ers took a four-point lead over the Falcons that they would never surrender. Despite their best efforts, Atlanta couldn’t muster another touchdown, falling short on fourth down after a Matt Ryan pass to Roddy White hit the turf.
When all was said and done, Gore had racked up 80 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. Although his stat line wasn’t exactly something to write home about, he picked up yards when the 49ers needed them most and consistently found ways to move the chains. Trust me when I say that 80 yards and two touchdowns don’t do justice for Gore’s spectacular performance.
Now headed to Louisiana to play in Super Bowl XLVII, the 49ers will face the winner of the AFC Conference Championship Game between the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens. Regardless of who comes out on top, one thing is for sure: they’ll have a tough time keeping Gore and Kaepernick in check on February 3.
Like the old saying goes: the game’s not over until the final whistle blows. Maybe Mike Smith and his coaching staff should reiterate that point two weeks from now when they’re watching the Super Bowl from the comfort of home.