Four points and that is all it took.
When it was all said and done, a 28-24 loss kept the Atlanta Falcons from going to New Orleans and an opportunity for redemption in a city plagued by missed chances.
Simply put, too many mistakes and missed opportunities came back to haunt the Atlanta Falcons late in Sunday’s game. Erasing an early 17-point deficit gave the 49ers, and a young Colin Kaepernick, all of the momentum they needed to mount an almost unheard of run to punch a ticket to their first Super Bowl in 18 years.
After a pair of touchdowns from Frank Gore and gaining San Francisco’s first look at a lead on the day, the 49ers defense quickly made up for lost time and stopped a very fast and capable Falcon offense. After a pair of touchdowns from Julio Jones early in the first half, it looked like Atlanta might have sealed their fate early.
According to the record books, San Francisco mounted the biggest comeback in a NFC Championship yesterday. Ironically, the previous record was set by Atlanta in the 1999 title game where they came back from a 13-point deficit to overtake Minnesota.
After Sunday’s game, one thing that Atlanta clearly needs to address is not blowing early leads. Although the first half looked extremely promising, San Francisco outscored Atlanta 14-0 in the second half. After the half, the Falcons defense crumbled with several missed key coverage issues, especially on Gore, not to mention tackling being an issue as well. To the Dome’s horror, the 49ers were easilty able to chip away at third downs. But, as seen with the score, the Falcons spark offensively seemed to dwindle as well. Easy and quick passes down-field seemed to be almost nonexistent during the second half.
Although they did not take the win, quarterback Matt Ryan fortunately had a record setting day with his 396 passing yards, setting a Falcons single game post season record.
At the end of the day, Kaepernick walked away going 16 of 21 for 233 yards.
Unlike the week before, it was a touchdown that the Falcons needed to win this game. Leaving the Falcons faithful with another loss and heavy hearts, Atlanta will start working on their drive to another overall stellar season next year. Hoping to come full-circle and finally bring a big Super Bowl win to a hungry fan base, its time for Atlanta to get back to work and start turning their focus to next year. Although it will take a few days to sink in for those stunned by the loss, it was still a season that Atlanta should be proud of.
About the Author
Written by Ashley Gulick
Sports Journalism is my passion! I keep up with the latest news on pro/college football, NASCAR and baseball....and just about everthing else. I grew up in Talladega, Ala., but moved to Georgia when I was 15. From a young age, I always knew that I wanted to be involved with sports somehow. Once I got into college and completed my degree in Communications, I knew that I had a passion for sports journalism. I have covered sports for the Kennesaw Sentinel (KSU's student paper), Marietta Daily Journal and Douglas County Sentinel.