By Danny Cox
Championship Sunday lived up to its name as both the NFC and AFC champions were crowned, but both were done in dramatic fashion. Brothers will face off on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans as Jim Harbaugh will lead his San Francisco 49ers against John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens.
In the first game of the day, San Francisco rallied to defeat the Atlanta Falcons 28-24 in the NFC Championship Game. All week, it was predicted the Falcons could not build up a big lead and then allow themselves to sit back and try to protect it instead of extending it.
Well, that was exactly what they attempted to do, and it failed miserably this time.
Unlike last week against the Seattle Seahawks, there was no last second field goal to help them win and allow them to advance. San Francisco was down 17-0, but put together a monster comeback to shock the crowd and the entire Falcons’ team in the Georgia Dome and move on to the Super Bowl.
When halftime came, the Falcons had scored right before the run and went up 24-14 on Tony Gonzales’ touchdown. It appeared as if they weren’t going to let a team come roaring back for the second straight week, but there was no offense to be found from Atlanta in the second half.
49ers running back Frank Gore took over the second half scoring on short runs of five and nine yards to give the 49ers the final differential with over eight minutes left to go. With only about 10 yards to go to the end zone, the Falcons had a chance by 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman knocked down a pass intended for Roddy White that would have kept the drive going.
Later in the day, the AFC Championship Game saw the Baltimore Ravens keep Ray Lewis’ career going for at least one more game as they defeated the New England Patriots 28-13. It appeared as if Tom Brady and company were going to roll out to an easy win as they went up 13-7 on a Ravens’ team that could do nothing offensively.
Those 13 points would be all she wrote for the mighty Patriots.
It was nothing but the Ravens in the second half and wide receiver Anquan Boldin was a huge part of it all. Baltimore outscored New England 21-0 in the second half with Bolding catching the final two scores of the day from quarterback Joe Flacco.
Three fourth quarter turnovers for the Patriots ultimately sealed the deal. Stevan Ridley was responsible for the first as he broke for an eight-yard gain, but was nailed by Bernard Pollard, getting knocked unconscious. As Ridley tumbled to the ground, the ball hit his knee and popped out before being recovered by the Ravens.
Brady then went on to throw two interceptions with less than eight minutes to go, and there was just no way to stop Baltimore from running out the clock. The first of Brady’s interceptions came on a ball tipped at the line, but the second was just a great pick off by Cary Williams.
From there, Joe Flacco and the Ravens kneeled on the ball to run things out and head to New Orleans for their first Super Bowl in over a decade.
When Baltimore and San Francisco meet on the field for Super Bowl XLVII, it will be one that’s going to bring about stories like no other. Colin Kaepernick will lead the 49ers in a miraculous tale that he predicted way back in the fourth grade. Ray Lewis will guide the Ravens into battle in the final game of his career.
It is going to be a war in the “Big Easy,” and one that’s going to have football fans happy no matter what side they are cheering on.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.