49ers in Super Bowl after comeback against Atlanta
By Simon Evans
ATLANTA (Reuters) - The San Francisco 49ers battled back from a 17-0 deficit to defeat the Atlanta Falcons 28-24 on Sunday and book their first trip to the Super Bowl in 18 years where they will face the Baltimore Ravens.
Running back Frank Gore scored two unanswered second half touchdowns as the 49ers, who came up one win short of reaching last year's Super Bowl, booked their place in the February 3 decider in New Orleans.
Second year quarterback Colin Kaepernick, in just his ninth start, delivered a composed all-round display, throwing for 233 yards and one touchdown while tight end Vernon Davis had 106 yards receiving for a San Francisco team which never lost faith despite falling so far behind.
"We are tough, it is hard to break us. We aren't going to give up," said Gore. "We will keep fighting into the fourth quarter and until the game (clock) hits double zero."
The victory was a record comeback for a team in an NFC Championship game and capped a pulsating encounter at a packed Georgia Dome.
The 49ers, who had losing records in seven of the eight seasons before Jim Harbaugh took over as head coach last year, now have a chance to win a record-equaling sixth Lombardi Trophy, tying the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Backed by a raucous home crowd making a thundering noise in the roofed stadium, Atlanta dominated at the outset with quarterback Matt Ryan leading an 80-yard opening drive that culminated in a 46-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Julio Jones.
After a 35-yard Matt Bryant field goal for Atlanta, the San Francisco defense was clearly struggling as Ryan and Jones again combined to deadly effect - the receiver showing outstanding agility to grab a 20-yard touchdown pass deep in the left corner as the Falcons built a 17-0 lead. Continued...