NFL 2012-2013 Conference Title Games Recap

NFL 2012-2013 Conference Title Games Recap

San Francisco 49ers @ Atlanta Falcons is the NFC Title Game.

Atlanta jumped all over the 49ers at the start. Matt Ryan hit Julio Jones for 13. On 3rd and 9 from their 37 Ryan hit Roddy White for 16. Ryan then went deep to a wide open Jones for a 46 yard touchdown bomb as the Falcons quickly led 7-0.

The 49ers went 3 and out and the Falcons got it back at their own 18. Ryan hit Jones for gains of 8 and 6, Gonzales for 5, and White for 10. On 3rd and 10 from midfield, Ryan went to Jones for 27 yards. Ryan threw incomplete on 3rd and 4 as the Falcons settled for a 35 yard Matt Bryant field goal for a 10-0 lead.

The 49ers again went 3 and out as the Falcons took over at their own 43. Michael Turner ran for 4 and 10 and Ryan then went deep to White for a 23 yard gain. On the first play of the second quarter Ryan went deep to Jones for a 20 yard touchdown as the Falcons led 17-0 lead. Yet for the second straight week Atlanta would jump out to a big lead only to see themselves in a nailbiter.

After a touchback the 49ers finally got going as Frank Gore ran for 9, 1 and 7. Colin Kaepernick hit Randy Moss for 8 and Michael Crabtree for 7 and 4. On 3rd and 7 from the Atlanta 42, Kaepernick hit Vernon Davis for 27 yards. On the next play James ran it in from 15 yards out to get the 49ers on the board down 17-7 midway through the second quarter.

The 49ers got it back at and after a penalty faced 1st and 19 at their own 9. Yet Kaepernick calmly hit Davis for 19 and ran for 23 more. Unncessary roughness tacked on 15 more. Kaepernick thenw ent deep to Davis for 25 yards down to the 4 at the 2 minute warning. Kaepernick then hit Davis for the touchdown as the 49ers were within 17-14.

With 1:55 left from their own 20, Ryan hit White for 15, Gonzalez for 14, White for 13, Jones for 15, Gonzalez for 6, and Gonzalez for the 10 yard touchdown with 25 seconds left in the half as the Falcons got some breathing room. Atlanta led 24-14 at halftime but the Frisco defense clamped down for much of the second half.

The 49ers began the third quarter at their own 18 and Kaepernick hit Moss for 21 yards. Gore gained 6, 11, and 2. Kaepernick hit Walker for 20 and Moss for 17. Gore ran it in for a 5 yard touchdown as the 49ers closed to within 24-21 only 4 minutes into the second half.

A clean game then got dirty. The Falcons moved from their 20 to the Frisco 47. Ryan was intercepted by Culliver, as the 49ers took over at their own 44. The 49ers moved to the Atlanta 20, when a 38 yard field goal try by David Akers doinked off the left upright no good. Atlanta moved from their 28 to the Frisco 28. Out of the shotgun, Ryan fumbled the snap and the 49ers recovered at their 37. The 49ers began the fourth quarter at the Atlanta 43. Kaepernick went deep for a 33 yard gain to Crabtree. Yet 2 plays later Crabtree got hit at the goal line and fumbled. The Falcons recovered at their own one yard line.

The 49ers held on defense and a 20 yard punt return by Ted Ginn had the 49ers at the Atlanta 38. On 3rd and 1 Dixon gained 4. James gained 8, Kaepernick hit Crabtree for 8, and Gore got the 9 yard touchdown as the 49ers had their first lead of the game with 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Last week the Falcons blew a 20-0 lead at home, fell behind 28-27, and won it at the gun. This week they led 17-0, fell behind 28-24, and had plenty of time to come back. Matt Ryan led the Falcons down the field, and with 80 seconds to play Ryan threw incomplete on 3rd and 4 from the Frisco 10 yard line. Each team took their second timeout as it came down to 4th and 4 with 1:13 left.

Ryan fired over the middle, and there was definitely defensive holding. Yet it was not called and the 49ers took over. The 49ers ran the ball and ran down most of the clock. With 15 seconds left they had to punt from their own 15. The Falcons took over at their own 43 with 6 seconds to play. Matt Ryan normally has the arm strength for the Hail Mary, but he appeared to be hurt a few plays earlier. While he has great receivers, Billy White Shoes Johnson was not available. Ryan threw a 30 yard pass over the middle that was complete but the clock ran out.

Five years ago the Falcons were a mess. Mike Smith and Matt Ryan came along and took a team that had never had consecutive winning seasons to five straight winning seasons, four of them playoff wins. This year they finally won a playoff game. Yet another collapse means another year of listening to the doubters. Tony Gonzalez will retire without his trip to the big game. Meanwhile, the 49ers won 5 of them from 1981 to 1994, and then were a mess when Jim Harbaugh took over 2 years ago. Yet these are not the glamorous 49ers. They win ugly with stifling defense, just as they did today. Last year they went 13-3 and came up just short. This year they took the next step as the 49ers look to become the second team to win 6 Super Bowls and the first team to do it without a loss in the big game. 28-24 49ers

Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots is the AFC Title Game.

Swirling winds gave the defenses the advantage early on, and after an exchange of punts the Patriots took over at their 21. They moved all the way to a 3rd and 2 at the Baltimore 12 when Shawn Ridley got the carry and got nothing. Stephen Gostkowski hit a 31 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Patriots. Although the Ravens had the wind at their backs in the first quarter, they had miserable field position. The Patriots had great field position but kept having to go into the wind. Things changed in the second quarter as the Ravens again took over at their own 10. Ironically, at this point the Ravens were going into the wind.

On 3rd and 4 from their 16, Joe Flacco hit Dennis Pitta for 17, Ray Rice for 12, Pierce for 8, and Torrey Smith deep for 25 yards down to the Patriots 15. Ray Rice took over, gaining 8, 5, and the 2 yard touchdown as the 13 play, 90 yard, 6 minute drive put the Ravens up 7-3 with 9 1/2 minutes left in the half.

The Patriots got it back at their 21. Defensive unnecessary roughness moved the Patriots and Brady hit Welker for 7 and Lloyd for 3. Ridley gained 7 and 4. From the Baltimore 40, Brady hit Welker, who split the seams for a 24 yard gain. Ridley gained 8 and Brady hit Hernandez for 7 more. On 3rd and goal at the one, Brady took advantage of a defensive breakdown in the secondary and hit a wide open Welker in the flat for an easy touchdown as the Patriots retook the lead 10-7 with 4:18 left in the half.

Baltimore continued to have miserable field position, and the Patriots got it back with another short field. At the 2 minute warning the Patriots had 2nd and 6 at the Baltimore 39.

Baltimore continued to have miserable field position, and the Patriots got it back with another short field. At the 2 minute warning the Patriots had 2nd and 6 at the Baltimore 39. On 4th and 1 from the 34, the Patriots went for it and a wildcat snap to Danny Woodhead gained 7 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the 27, Brady found Hernandez for 17. On 1st and goal from the 10 with 26 seconds left in the half, Brady was rushed and slid after a 3 yard gain. He wanted to preserve the last timeout, but poor clock management by the usually savvy Brady forced the Patriots to take the timeout anyway with 5 seconds left. Gostkowski hit the 25 yarder as the Patriots only led 13-7 at halftime.

After an exchange of punts in the third quarter, the Ravens took over at their 13. This was after a 3rd down pass was dropped by Welker. There is no word if Brady’s wife screamed at Welker after the drop. In the first half the Ravens were ultra conservative on offense, but Jim Caldwell, despite never making a facial expression, unleashed Flacco on this drive. Defensive pass interference moved the Ravens to their 28. Then Flacco hit Pitta for 22, Rice for 15, Smith for 5, Boldin for 12, Pitta for 5, and Pitta for 5 again for the touchdown as the 87 yard drive against the wind had the Ravens up 14-13 with 6 minutes left in the third quarter.

The Patriots would punt on their next drive when a holding penalty negated a first down. The Ravens had their best starting position at their own 37. On 2nd and 14 Flacco fired to Smith for a 23 yard gain. On 3rd and 2 form the Patriots 36, Pierce gained 11 and 6. Flacco hit Pitta for 6 and Boldin for 8 down to the 5. On the first play of the fourth quarter Flacco hit Boldin in the end zone. Boldin outjumped the defender for the touchdown as the Ravens led 21-13. Yet the Patriots would have the wind at their backs in the fourth quarter.

New England took over at their 16 and faced 1st and 10 at their 39 with 13 minutes left in the game. Ridley took a handoff, gained 8 yards, and got blasted by Pollard. The resulting fumble was recovered by the Ravens, who for the first time all day had a short field at the Patriots 47. Ridley was done for the day. Flacco quickly went for the kill, hitting Smith for 16, scrambling for 14, hitting Jones for 6, and Firing over the middle again to Boldin for another touchdown as the Ravens led 28-13 with 11 minutes left in regulation.

Brady rapidly moved the Patriots from their 29 to a 2nd and 4 at the Baltimore 19. Yet Brady threw 3 straight incompletions and the Ravens took over with 8 1/2 minutes left. Baltimore went 3 and out and took only one minute off the clock. The Patriots took over at their 40 and Brady quickly hit Welker for a 36 yard gain. On the next play Brady had his pass batted up in the air and intercepted by Ellerbe with 7 minutes left.

From their own 18, this time the Ravens ground the Patriots into dust. On 3rd and 1 from their 27, Rice got 2. On 3rd and 1 from their 38, Leach got 5. The Patriots took all their timeouts, but by the time they got it back at their own 33 only 2:05 remained. Brady got the Patriots to the Baltimore 22 with 1:13 left. Brady went to the end zone and was intercepted by Williams. Finally, the nail was in the coffin as the Ravens got their revenge from one year earlier.

The Lamar Hunt Trophy was presented by OJ Brigance, who was on the 2000 Ravens team that won it all. He now has ALS, and it was a tearjerker from him. Ray Lewis wore a t-shirt with the late Art Modell on it. Ray Lewis praised everyone in sight. Just like 12 years ago, Baltimore did it the hard way on the road. 28-13 Ravens

One week from now is the Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Two weeks from now Super Bowl (47) XLVII from New Orleans is now the Harbaugh Bowl, as brothers Jim and John square off.

February 3, 2013–Super Bowl XLVII

San Francisco 49ers against Baltimore Ravens

eric

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