The beginning of the NFC Championship looked similar to Atlanta's game last week when the Falcons got out to a 20-point lead over the Seattle Seahawks, a lead that they ultimately squandered late in the fourth quarter. The Falcons quickly built up a 17-0 lead over the 49ers on Sunday by the beginning of the second quarter, but once again, they looked like they were squandering that lead.
After a Matt Ryan touchdown pass to Julio Jones put the Falcons up by 17 with 14:54 left in the half, the 49ers finally started to come to life, and for the first time in his career, Colin Kaepernick is hitting Vernon Davis early and often. After San Francisco's first two drives went for a combined -2 yards, Kaepernick drove them 80 yards down the field to make it a 17-7 score on a LaMichael James 15-yard touchdown run. The 49ers forced the Falcons to punt quickly on their next possession, and then promptly drove 82 yards down the field until Kaepernick hit Davis for a 4-yard touchdown pass and cut the lead to 17-14 late in the second quarter.
Davis has 4 catches for 75 yards. Kaepernick is 9 of 12 for 99 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.
However, Ryan had one more trick up his sleeve left for the first half. Atlanta got the ball back with 1:50 left in the half and Ryan drove them 80 yards down the field, hitting Tony Gonzalez for a 10-yard touchdown and bring the lead back up to 24-14. That is now the score at halftime.
Can the 49ers outscore the Falcons by 10 on the road? Can Atlanta finally hold a late lead at home in the playoffs?
One more half to go before someone is going to the Super Bowl. (Unless the 49ers are trying to tie again.)