NFL Playoffs — Championship Recap: 49ers, Ravens Win, Will Meet in Super Bowl XLVII
The San Francisco 49ers rallied past the Atlanta Falcons for the NFC title, and the Baltimore Ravens upset the New England Patriots for the AFC crown. San Francisco and Baltimore, coached by brothers Jim and John Harbaugh respectively, will meet in Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3 in New Orleans. Here’s a recap of Sunday’s conference title games:
San Francisco 28 — Atlanta 24
Frank Gore ran for 90 yards and two second-half touchdowns, and the San Francisco 49ers overcame a 17-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons, 28-24, in the NFC Championship Game in Atlanta on Sunday. With the victory, San Francisco advanced to face Baltimore in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on Feb. 3. The 49ers will be making their first Super Bowl appearance since 1995.
Gore’s two touchdown runs, including a 9-yard jaunt with 8:23 left in the fourth quarter, allowed San Francisco to complete the biggest comeback in the history of the NFC title game. The top-seeded Falcons’ final drive stalled in the red zone, when the 49ers’ NaVorro Bowman batted away Matt Ryan’s fourth-down pass intended for Roddy White with 1:13 to play.
Atlanta established a 17-0 lead in the first half thanks to Ryan’s two touchdown passes to Julio Jones and a Matt Bryant field goal. After San Francisco scratched back to within 17-14 after Colin Kaepernick’s 4-yard scoring pass to Vernon Davis, Ryan hit tight end Tony Gonzalez for a touchdown just 25 seconds before halftime to give the Falcons a 24-14 edge at the intermission. However, Atlanta would not score again.
Ryan finished 30 for 42 for 396 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He also fumbled. Jones had 11 receptions for 182 yards and two scores. White caught seven passes for 100 yards for the Falcons.
After struggling through most of the first half, Kaepernick finished with 233 passing yards and a touchdown. He was held to 21 yards on the ground just a week after setting an NFL rushing record for quarterbacks with 181 yards. Davis caught five passes for 106 yards and a score.
Baltimore 28 — New England 13
Joe Flacco threw three second-half touchdown passes, including a pair to Anquan Boldin in the fourth quarter, and the Baltimore Ravens shocked the New England Patriots, 28-13, in the AFC Championship Game in Foxborough, Mass. on Sunday. With the victory, Baltimore advanced to face San Francisco in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on Feb. 3. The Ravens will be making their first Super Bowl appearance since 2001.
Flacco threw a 3-yard scoring pass to Boldin on the first play of the fourth quarter, giving Baltimore a 21-13 lead. The Ravens got the ball back five plays later, when Patriots’ running back Stevan Ridley fumbled after being knocked unconscious in a helmet-to-helmet collision with Baltimore safety Bernard Pollard. Flacco threw an 11-yard TD pass to Boldin four plays later to put New England away for good.
Flacco finished with 240 yards passing. He has thrown eight touchdowns and no interceptions in the Ravens’ three playoff wins this postseason. Boldin finished with five receptions for 60 yards and the two scores.
Despite previously having a career record of 67-0 at home when leading at halftime, New England quarterback Tom Brady could not rally his team after they fell behind in the second half. Brady threw two fourth-quarter interceptions that helped seal the Patriots’ fate. He finished with 320 passing yards and a touchdown. New England’s Wes Welker had eight receptions for 117 yards and a score.
[Scores and stats via NFL.com]