The Atlanta Falcons have taken command of the NFC Championship game at home in the Georgia Dome as they lead the San Francisco 49ers 24-14, and they are proving those who picked the 49ers (most people) wrong so far. It was 17-14 after Colin Kaepernick hit Vernon Davis with a four-yard touchdown pass, and it looked like the Falcons porous secondary was going to blow another one. However, Ryan turned the momentum at home heading into the half with a perfectly engineered touchdown drive.
The TD that capped off Ryan’s hard work was a ten-yard reception by Tony Gonzalez that was a diving effort in the middle of the end zone. The Hall of Fame tight end, however, was outdone by Julio Jones who made an epic touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone that was partially the product of a perfectly thrown ball from Matt Ryan that beat tight coverage from 49ers solid corner Tarell Brown.
I feel bad for Brown, whose advanced stat sheet has not treated him kindly thanks to Jones’s big game. It isn’t his fault, though, because there is only so much that Brown can feasibly do. His coverage has been pretty tight, but the problem is that Dashon Goldson (a very overrated safety headed for free agency) isn’t giving Brown sufficient help. That long TD catch from Jones to start the scoring was all on Goldson.
The battle in the trenches was supposed to swing well in the 49ers favor, but it has been anything but a battle pointing in the 49ers favor. Kroy Bierrman has always been an extremely underrated DE in this league, and he has come up big at moments today. Meanwhile, Ryan has had plenty of time as the Falcons offensive line has staved off a usually voracious 49ers pass rush to this point.
Kaepernick brought the 49ers back from a 17-0 deficit with an efficient day, but his 126.7 QB Rating has been thoroughly topped by an even better three TD, 11.3 Y/A, 150+ QB Rating day from Matt Ryan. The Atlanta Falcons have this one at home, but the 49ers are definitely not done yet thanks to Kaep and Vernon Davis (four catches for 75 yards and a TD).
Julio Jones already has over 100 yards of receiving with 105 yards off of seven receptions with two touchdowns.
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By the way, the Falcons defense has done an excellent job shutting down Frank Gore and forcing the ball into Kaep’s hands. Fortunately for San Francisco , Kaep has delivered,