Sunday, January 20, 2013

Live Running Diary of the 2013 NFC Championship Game

2013 NFC Championship Game: San Francisco 49ers (-4.5) @ Atlanta Falcons

First things first. I like the Falcons to cover the spread in this one, but not quite be able to pull out the W.

Just about everyone and your grandmother is picking the Niners in this game. 

For christ's sake, their giving 4.5 points and they are the ROAD team. Vegas supposedly gives 3 points just for home field advantage, meaning if this game was being played in San Francisco the Falcons would be 10.5 point dogs. 

Lets get to it. 

Falcons receive. Opening drive:

Fox flashes Matty Ice's stats and Joe Buck immediately mentions how this guy has a true pocket presence as a QB. Ryan proceeds to throw a 46-yard deep bomb for a TD to Julio Jones making Buck look like a genius (for once). Matty Ice looks damn good. Look out Niners.

Falcons 7, Niners 0

Niners get ball at their own 20:

Fox shows a close-up of Kaepernick's face. Kid looks nervous.

Maybe thats just his "I'm about to run for 200 more yards" face (but I doubt it). Quick three and out for Kaepernick and the Niners. Kaepernick had absolutely no swag on that drive.

But hey, he threw a pick six on his first drive against the Packers. Remember that? Yeah, I barely did either. Maybe that "I'm about to shit my pants" look will be long forgotten as well. We shall see...

Falcons second drive:

Julio Jones is going to control this game (100 yards receiving already). Hell of a catch to bring the Falcons into field goal range. Falcons offense is clicking right now.

Whoops spoke too soon. Falcons settle for a field goal. Huge stop for the Niners defense after looking like a mess for most of the game. Let's see if Kaepernick can get something started.

Falcons 10, Niners 0

Niners second drive (almost prematurely ended by a LaMichael James fumble):

Wow that fumble would have been devastating. Niners are lucky he was ruled down. James cannot be pulling stuff like that at a time like this.

Kaepernick throws first pass right at Falcons linebacker. Terrible pass. 

Finally a handoff to Gore. He is a beast. He also single handedly ended my fantasy football season. So we are not talking about Gore anymore. 

Kaepernick gets sacked. He is finally starting to look like Colin Kaepernick, first year starting quarterback not Colin Kaepernick, video game character. 

This game has been all Falcons. I knew I should have taken the points with the Falcons in this game. If only they hadn't made me lose all my faith (and cash) in them last week against the Seahawks.

Falcons third drive:

Another deep pass to Julio Jones (he cannot be stopped). Falcons knocking on the touchdown door once again. 

However, let's not get all that worked up about the score of this one quite yet. The Falcons, after all, were up 20-0 to start last week (that one didn't exactly turn out to be a laugher).

Oh. My. God. 
Incredible throw and catch by Ryan and Jones. How in the world did Julio catch that ball and keep both feet in? 

This guy is an animal. My fantasy team would have been screwed without him this year. 

I don't know, the Falcons may just have a statement game in them yet. This one might just be over already. 

It is up to you and your tattoos, Kaepernick.

Falcons 17, Niners 0

Niners third drive:

Kaepernick really needs to get something going. Atleast Frank Gore is doing something. (Oh wait, I said I wasn't going to talk about him anymore? Okay, well the "San Francisco RB" is single-handedly making sure this game does not get out of hand). 

Finally a calm completion by Kaepernick. He may be settling down just yet. And another. Complete to Crabtree. That's two in a row. Make it three in a row, another completion to Crabtree. Niners in Falcons territory for the first time all day.

Big 3rd down and 2. Delay of game (cannot win a game like this with penalties like that). 

Now 3rd and 7. Still think Kaepernick is going to run for it. Nope, HUGE completion to Vernon Davis all the way down to the 15.

Almost a TD to Crabtree (out of bounds). Kaepernick's swag looks healthy again. 

LaMichael James (of previously criticized almost fumble) explodes into the end zone for a 15 yd TD run. That's more like it.

If the Niners are going to have three running threats for this game, then the Falcons defense is in some serious trouble. 

We got a ball game again.

Falcons 17, Niners 7

Falcons fourth drive:

Falcons offense still looking deadly. Big 3rd down and 4 on their own 40. Pass attempt too weak to Rodgers. Gigantic first stop for the Niners much revered defense. 

If they can keep this up, then the Niners offense will be able to get the job done. 

Falcons 17, Niners 7

Niners fourth drive (after a nearly blocked punt):

First play of the drive and Kaepernick finds Davis for a huge gain. 

BUT THERES A FLAG!!! (isn't there always?) 

Offensive holding. Nix that huge gainer to Davis. 15-yard penalty. Can you say de ja vu? 

Huge 2nd and long hookup to Davis (again). Looks like Davis is going to be a favorite of Kaepernick in this one.

Kaepernick finally takes off. Dang he's quick. Casual 23-yard gain. 

DUMBASS PENATLY. Personal foul of some line monster throwing down an inferior line monster. 15-yard penalty on Atlanta. 

And wouldn't you know it. 25-yard catch and throw from Kaepernick to Davis. Davis knocked out at the 4. Kaepernick looks like he is in complete control. Hard seeing the laughable Falcon D coming up with a big goal line stop here. Momentum fully in San Fran's court. 

Well I am sensing a trend here...Kaepernick finds Davis for a 4-yard TD pass (naturally). 

What was a 17 point lead for Atlanta is now 3. This one is looking like the Seattle game for the Falcons, except that the Niners are closing the lead faster. 

All terrible signs for Atlanta (starting to feel a little better about not betting on the Falcons).

Falcons 17, Niners 14

Falcons 5th drive:

1:55 remaining. Can Matty Ice somehow lead a 4th scoring drive and regain some of Atlanta's slipping momentum?

A field goal here would be big, a touchdown, however, would be devastating for the Niners. I think a field goal is all you can expect here. 

Matty Ice quickly gets ball into Niners territory to the 31. Man this guy knows how to get down the field quickly.

Huge completion to (yup, you guess it) Julio Jones all the way down to the 16. Matt Ryan may just pull out this touchdown dagger. 

Niners D is really good, though. Still think that field goal is happening. 

I stand corrected (thanks to Tony Gonzalez). Ryan finds the all-world tight end for a touchdown. 

Wow, how is Gonzo still doing this?? Dagger touchdown. Two score game again. 

Pressure back on Kaepernick to somehow turn 19 seconds into points (I would say impossible, but this is Kaepernick. After last week anything goes).

Falcons 24, Niners 14

Niners 5th drive:

Niners don't play for points (a little shocking, as I thought they would take atleast one shot downfield with that monster arm of Kaepernick). 

Hand off to James. End of the half. 

Falcons ability to move the ball this easy has got to be surprising to everyone who liked the Niners and their defense. 

But its a ball game, and it's been a good one so far. 

Falcons need to be feeling good about this one. Uphill battle for Kaepernick and the Niners in the second half, but they have proven they are more than capable of scoring points (and fast). 

I see the Niners pulling ahead late in the fourth quarter. I like this one coming down to another Matt Bryant field goal, but we shall see. 

The Falcons should win this game (does not mean they are going to).

I still like Kaepernick to go off in the second half and the Niners to take this one. 

Half Time (Falcons 24, Niners 14)

POST-GAME UPDATE: Quick 2nd Half Recap

Colin Kaepernick comes out with a statement opening drive in the 2nd half and immediately regains all stolen momentum from late 1st half TD by Matt Ryan.

Either Matt Ryan's twin brother came out for the second half or Matt Ryan completely forgot how to play quarterback. 

A potentially huge interception by Ryan, if not for the missed field goal of Akers (man this guy has had an awful year, and he may just cost these Niners a championship). 

Another excellently orchestrated (too soon to say Brady-like?) drive by first year starter Kaepernick and another "San Francisco RB" touchdown later, the Niners had a 28-24 lead and had regained the lead earlier in the 4th quarter than I thought they would (8:23 remaining). 

After a drive that had taken way too long, Matt Ryan and the Falcons were trapped in 4th down territory, without the luxury of taking the field goal. 

In an ill advised throw to Roddy White across the middle (with a questionable no call for pass interference), Matt Ryan failed to complete the 4th and 4 and turned the ball over on the Niners 10-yard line, essentially sealing the Falcons fate. 

The Niners run out the clock and into Super Bowl XLVII as 2013 NFC Champions.

The Final

San Francisco 49ers 28, Atlanta Falcons 24

(And wouldn't you know it...the Falcons covered that 4.5 point spread. Knew I should have taken Atlanta and all those points). 

Why don't I bet more? Oh yeah, never mind.

Let's hope the Patriots handle their business in the AFC Championship game and help set up a whopper of a story line for the Super Bowl: Tom Brady 2013 vs. Tom Brady 2001 (a.k.a Colin Kaepernick). 

I wonder how Alex Smith is feeling right about now? 

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