Live Commentary: San Francisco 49ers 28-24 Atlanta Falcons - as it happened

49ers' LaMichael James breaks into the end zone against Atlanta on January 20, 2013
© AP Photos
Live coverage of the NFC Championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons.

The San Francisco 49ers have made their first Super Bowl in 12 seasons with a 28-24 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

The NFC West champions had to fight back from 17-0 down, after a blistering start from Matt Ryan's offensive line.

Frank Gore and Vernon Davis starred for the 49ers as they made their way back in to the game, only taking a lead inside the last nine minutes.

They will face either the New England Patriots or the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl in two-weeks time.

Read how all the action unfolded below:


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2.32pmGood evening, or good afternoon if you're joining us from across the pond, we're just half an hour from the start of the NFC Championship game between the Atlanta Falcons and the San Francisco 49ers for a place in this season's Super Bowl.

2.33pmLet's take a look at the inactives for both teams...

2.33pmSan Francisco 49ers: QB S. Tolzien, S T. Robinson, RB J. Hampton, LB C. Johnson, DT T. Jerod-Eddie, G J. Looney, NT I. Williams.

2.34pmAtlanta Falcons: QB D.Davis, WR T.Toone, G P.Manley, G H.Gunn, OT L.Holmes, DE L.Sidbury, DT T.Robertson

2.37pmNeither of these two teams have been to the Super Bowl for quite a while. The Falcons lost to the Denver Broncos in the 1998 season, while the 49ers haven't been to the Super Bowl since winning it in 1994.

2.40pmBoth quarterbacks recorded their first ever wins in the NFL playoffs last weekend. Matt Ryan had previously lost three in a row with the Falcons. Colin Kaepernick played in the post-season for the first time, leading the 49ers to a win over the Green Bay Packers.

2.42pmThe winner of tonight's game will face the AFC Champion, which will be either the New England Patriots or the Baltimore Ravens, who play later tonight.

2.44pmOn paper, the Falcons and the 49ers match up quite evenly. Offensively, San Francisco have averaged 361.8 yards per game, while Atlanta have 369.1 yards.

2.45pmThe majority of the Falcons yardage has come passing, with Matt Ryan relying on a core of receivers, particularly wideouts Roddy White and Julio Jones and tight end Tony Gonzalez.

2.46pmThe 49ers split their gains between passing and rushing, with Frank Gore leading the running game for the NFC West champions with 1,214 yards during the regular season.

2.49pmWith the bookies, the smart money seems to be on the 49ers. They'll be keen to put last year's loss to the New York Giants in the Championship game behind them.

2.51pmHowever, the Falcons have home advantage. Last week saw Russell Wilson struggle to make himself heard over the Georgia Dome crowd, something which Kaepernick struggled with at the Seattle Seahawks earlier in the season.

2.53pmEarlier this week, the Falcons identified Michael Crabtree as one of the 49ers biggest threats. The wide receiver has had some off the field problems in the run up to today's game, but is active.

2.55pmAtlanta will be pleased to have John Abraham active. The defensive end missed much of last weekend's game after aggravating an ankle injury.

2.57pmThe Falcons will also be looking to avoid a repeat of last weekend's game. Despite leading 20-0 at half time, Atlanta had to rely on a field goal in the final seconds of the game, after the Seahawks fought back.

2.59pmKaepernick was mighty against the Packers last weekend, breaking the record for most rushing yards in a single game by a quarterback. The Falcons will need to stop him running ball to prevent a 49ers win.

3.03pmThe players are out on the field and ready to get the game underway. For me, this one's too close to try to predict.

3.05pmThe 49ers have won the toss and decided to defer to the second half, so the Falcons will receive first.

Q1 15:00David Akers kicks off for the 49ers to get the game underway.

Q1 14:18It's a good start for Matt Ryan, his first pass is good enough for a first down, Julio Jones taking the catch.

Q1 12:55Roddy White takes a 16 yard catch for another first down. It's a heavy landing for the wide receiver, who's tackled by Dashon Goldson.

Q1 11:24TOUCHDOWN! 49ers 0-7 Falcons (Jones)

Q1 11:24What a start from the Falcons! A 46-yard pass from Ryan connects with Julio Jones who takes it in to the end zone for the first score of the game. Matt Bryant's extra point is good, and the 49ers offense gets ready to come on to the field for the first time.

Q1 10:44Colin Kaepernick starts with a pass to Michael Crabtree for a short gain. The Atlanta crowd aren't making it easy for the 49ers.

Q1 9:57The 49ers are unable to get the first down, and Andy Lee comes on to the field to punt the ball away.

Q1 9:43A strong start from the Falcons defensive line. The Packers were unable to restrict the 49ers last weekend, but it looks like Atlanta have done their homework.

Q1 9:07Michael Turner rushes for a first down for the Falcons. This has been a very positive start by the home side.

Q1 5:45Julio Jones takes a catch on the sideline but is out of bounds. The wide receiver collides with a steward. The game is stopped while the man receives medical treatment.

Q1 5:45The steward is back on his feet after being hit by the 220lb Falcons player. Hopefully we'll be back underway shortly.

Q1 5:38Another long pass from Ryan to Jones moves the Falcons 27 yards up the field. The 49ers are struggling to keep Jones covered.

Q1 3:28An incomplete pass to Jacquizz Rodgers means the Falcons are out of downs, and bring out Bryant for a field goal attempt from 35 yards.

Q1 3:24FIELD GOAL! 49ers 0-10 Falcons (Bryant)

Q1 3:24Bryant's kick is good, extending the Falcons lead to 10 points.

Q1 3:12A worrying moment for the 49ers as LaMichael James loses the ball as he is brought down while returning the punt. However, the officials say that he had his knee down before the ball came loose.

Q1 3:12Kaepernick attempts a pass to Randy Moss, but is lucky not to be intercepted as Cory Peters gets a hand to the ball instead.

Q1 2:28Kaepernick is sacked for a loss of nine yards, and the 49ers are three and out, bringing the punter back on to the field. A messy first quarter for San Francisco so far.

Q1 1:57Colin Kaepernick has just one completion from three attempts for one yard so far. The 49ers quarterback doesn't look settled at all in this game.

Q1 0:26Another big pass from Matt Ryan, this time to Roddy White for 23 yards. The Falcons are looking good for another score off this drive.

Q1 0:00END OF FIRST QUARTER: 49ers 0-10 Falcons

Q1 0:00No doubt about which team will be happier after that quarter. The Falcons have made a blistering start to the game and are well on top.

Q2 14:54TOUCHDOWN! 49ers 0-16 Falcons (Jones)

Q2 14:54It looks like Julio Jones has his second touchdown of the game, taking another deep catch from Matt Ryan. The officials are looking at the video of the catch, but from the replays shown on TV, I can't see any reason why the score won't stand.

Q2 14:54As expected, the touchdown stands. Jones had both of his feet in bounds when he took the catch. Once against, Bryant's extra point kick is good, an the Falcons go up 17-0.

Q2 14:03This next possession is huge for the 49ers. The NFC West need to get on the score board soon or the game will be over by half time. They'll be buoyed by the knowledge that the Falcons threw away a 20-point lead last week though.

Q2 13:37Frank Gore rushes to get the 49ers first first down of the game. That may give San Francisco a little confidence boost.

Q2 12:54Gore carried for another first down. However, the next snap has been delayed while defensive end Cliff Matthews receives treatment. We didn't see exactly what happened to the Falcon, but he looked to be in a quite a bit of pain.

Q2 11:45An eight-yard pass to Randy Moss followed by another short pass to Michael Crabtree give the 49ers another first down. This is by far the best they have looked all game.

Q2 11:08It's understood that Cliff Matthews has an ankle injury. The Falcons have taken him into the locker room to assess the injury.

Q2 9:32With the home crowd getting loud, Kaepernick is forced to use hand signals to call the play. It takes too long though, and the quarterback is flagged to delay of game.

Q2 9:08Vernon Davis takes a 27-yard catch to move the 49ers towards the red zone for the first time during the game.

Q2 8:20Michael Crabtree has a chance to get the 49ers off the mark, but his catch is taken just out of bounds.

Q2 8:14TOUCHDOWN! 49ers 7-17 Falcons (James)

Q2 8:14LaMichael James rushes for 15 yards to find the end zone for a touchdown. The Falcons couldn't stop the pacy rookie. David Akers adds the extra point to get the 49ers right back in the game.

Q2 8:14That was James' first touchdown for the 49ers, having only made his debut for the team last month.

Q2 8:08The 49ers are without Justin Smith at the minute. He's been battling with a partially torn tricep in recent weeks, and is currently on the sideline having his arm brace adjusted.

Q2 6:36The Falcons have their first drive without a score. Ryan attempts a short pass to Rodgers on third down, but Donte Whitner breaks up the pass to force the Falcons to punt for the first time in the game.

Q2 6:32This game is starting to feel like a contest now. It's taken the 49ers a little while to get going, but the momentum is definitely with San Francisco at the moment. The offense is coming back on to the field, and they'll be keen to take another chunk out of Atlanta's lead before half time.

Q2 6:24It's a good start for the 49ers, as Kaepernick connects with Davis for a 13 yard gain. However, an illegal hold from Mike Iupati means the 49ers are penalised for 10 yards, making then 1st and 19.

Q2 5:12Another good catch from Davis sees the 49ers get another first down. Atlanta's defence is looking a little shaky at the minute.

Q2 3:47Kaepernick runs the ball himself for the first time this game, rushing for 23 yards and another first down, and it takes the 49ers across midfield. This is looking like another dangerous drive from the 49ers.

Q2 3:00The Falcons lose 15 yards for an unnecessary roughness penalty against Steven Nicholas.

Q2 2:28Vernon Davis is having a brilliant second quarter for San Francisco. He takes a 25-yard catch before being pushed out of bounds at the four yard line.

Q2 2:00The player take a timeout for the two minute warning. With just four yards to the end zone, the 49ers are likely to look the run the ball in. Kaepernick had two rushing touchdowns himself last week so may be keen to keep it himself, but James has also been looking sharp so far.

Q2 1:55TOUCHDOWN! 49ers 14-17 Falcons (Davis)

Q2 1:55Just to prove me wrong, the 49ers go for a pass, Kaepernick connecting with Davis to finish a good drive for the tight end. Akers' kick is good for the extra point, and the 49ers have all but wiped out the Falcons' early advantage.

Q2 1:33This has gone remarkably similar to last week for the Falcons. They got the points on the board early, but have gone to sleep and let the opposition right back in the match. Matt Ryan comes back on the field, and will be keen to add to the score before the end of the second quarter.

Q2 1:04Ryan is going for big gains, connecting with Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez for first downs, before connecting with White again for 13 yards to take them inside the 40-yard line. At worst they should get a field-goal attempt out of this.

Q2 0:37Ryan tosses the ball to Julio Jones for a 15-yard gain. The 49ers have taken a timeout, they'll be looking to make sure the Falcons get no more the three points out of this drive.

Q2 0:29TOUCHDOWN! 49ers 14-24 Falcons (Gonzalez)

Q2 0:29A Matt Ryan pass down the centre of the field finds Tony Gonzalez in the end zone. Bryant adds the extra point again.

Q2 0:00END OF SECOND QUARTER: 49ers 14-24 Falcons

4.33pmDespite losing some of their advantage, the Falcons will still be the happier side at half time, heading in to the locker room 10 points ahead.

4.34pmQuarterback Matt Ryan had an impressive opening half, completing 18 of 24 attempted passes for 271 yards, including three touchdown passes.

4.35pmIt was a slower start for Colin Kaepernick, but he'll probably bit pleased with how the second quarter went. The 49ers quarterback completed nine of 12 passes for 99 yards and one touchdown, and also managed 23 rushing yards.

4.36pmJulio Jones was the pick of the receiver for the Falcons, making seven catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns. The 49ers couldn't cope with the 23-year-olds ability to lose his marker during the first quarter, but he was kept in check during the second.

4.38pmVernon Davis has quite an impact for the 49ers in the second quarter. The tight end had four receptions for 75 yards, resulting in a touchdown. Davis has been quiet in the second half of the season, but he's looking good in this game.

4.39pmBoth sides were fairly tidy during first half. Neither quarterback threw interceptions, no-one recorded a fumble, and there was only one sack.

4.41pmThe Falcons will need to keep their focus when they return to the field. The 49ers will receive the ball from the kick off, and will be keen to get the gap back down to three points. They saw the Seahawks dominate the Falcons in the third quarter last week, and will be looking to emulate their NFC West rivals here.

Q3 15:00Matt Bryant kicks off the third quarter.

Q3 14:55The 49ers have had one of the top-rated defences all season. They'll need to go after Matt Ryan to make sure the Falcons don't add to their score.

Q3 14:27However, the 49ers are on offense at the minute, and Kaepernick starts the drive with a 21-yard pass to Randy Moss.

Q3 12:14Kaepernick throws deep to Delanie Walker for 20 yards. Dunta Robinson is injured as he tackles the tight end and goes off for treatment.

Q3 11:34Randy Moss gets open again to take a 17-yard catch at the five-yard line. The 49ers will be looking for a touchdown.

Q3 10:51TOUCHDOWN! 49ers 21-24 Falcons (Gore)

Q3 10:51Colin Kaepernick hands the ball off to Frank Gore, and the running back forces his way over the line. David Akers adds the extra point to cut the Falcons' lead to three points.

Q3 10:47Matt Ryan and the offense are back on the field. The pressure will be on the Falcons quarterback not to let the resurgent 49ers get too comfortable.

Q3 8:55Ryan finds Tony Gonzalez for a first down before Jacquizz Rodgers adds a two-yard rush. Ryan gets ready for the next snap but isn't happy with how the team is set up, and takes a timeout.

Q3 8:19Matt Ryan is sacked for the first time during the playoffs this year, Isaac Sopoaga bringing the quarterback down for no gain.

Q3 7:46INTERCEPTION! Matt Ryan looks for Roddy White, but Chris Culliver gets in between the quarterback and the receiver to make an interception, and force the first turnover of the game. That's just the start the 49ers wanted to this half, and the opposite of what the Falcons were hoping for. The Atlanta defence needs to respond.

Q3 7:14Vernon Davis is continuing what he started in the second quarter, taking a 31-yard catch on the sideline before being pushed out of bounds.

Q3 5:51Kaepernick looks for Chad Hall, but the effort is incomplete, and David Akers is brought on for a field goal attempt.

Q3 5:51MISS! Akers effort from 38 yards hits the upright. The 49ers kicker has struggled this season, and it doesn't look like his form is getting any better. Head coach Jim Harbaugh released Billy Cundiff earlier this week, maybe he'll be wishing he had hung on to him a little longer.

Q3 5:06Jason Snelling carries for 12 yards. Snelling is on the field for Michael Turner, who appears to have an ankle injury, and is carrying out exercises with a medic on the sideline.

Q3 3:04Ryan attempts a long pass to Roddy White, but Carlos Rogers matches him stride for stride, and is there to break up the catch in the end zone.

Q3 2:20Julio Jones catches a 13-yard pass inside the 30-yard line, and takes a heavy hit from Donte Whitner. The pairs seem to have a bit of a discussion about it afterwards, but there was no flag from the officials to say there was anything illegal.

Q3 0:55TURNOVER! Matt Ryan fails to take the ball cleanly from the snap, and Aldon Smith recovers the loose ball for a 49ers' turnover, bringing Kaepernick and the offense back on to the field.

Q3 0:10On third down, Kaepernick tries a throw to Vernon Davis, but the pass is too fast and Davis can't make the catch. However, Kaepernick is fouled after he made the pass, resulting in a 15-yard penalty against the Falcons, and a first down for the 49ers.

Q3 0:00END OF THIRD QUARTER: 49ers 21-24 Falcons

Q3 0:00The 49ers will be disappointed not to have leveled the game when Akers made his field goal attempt, but they're right back in this after a poor start to the third quarter from the Falcons.

Q4 14:18A great start to the fourth for San Francisco, as Kaepernick connects with Michael Crabtree with a 33-yard pass. The wide receiver did brilliantly to make the catch as he was being closely marked. The 49ers are just 10 yards from the end zone.

Q4 13:34Crabtree gets the ball again, this time on the edge of the end zone, and he tries to force his way over the line. However, the ball comes loose when he's tackled. Multiple players jump on the ball, but it's William Moore of the Falcons who is credited with the recovery.

Q4 13:22Matt Ryan attempts a pass to Roddy White, but Ahmad Brooks breaks the pass up to keep the Falcons at their own five yard line.

Q4 12:40The Falcons have confirmed that Michael Turner will not be returning to the game after he picked up an ankle injury earlier. He's been one of their leading rushers, so that's not good news at all for Atlanta.

Q4 11:59Ryan is unable to find the first down, and the Falcons have to bring out their punter.

Q4 11:59The 49ers will be disappointed not to have converted their red zone opportunity, but happy to have forced a three and out from the Falcons. The Falcons' punt has only moved them out to the 42-yard line.

Q4 9:49Anthony Dixon rushes for a first down, and the 49ers are back inside the red zone.

Q4 8:27TOUCHDOWN! 49ers 28-24 Falcons (Gore)

Q4 8:27Frank Gore gets his second touchdown of the game with a nine-yard run to put the 49ers ahead for the first time in the game, Akers adding the extra point. A four-point lead means the pressure is on the Falcons to get a touchdown.

Q4 7:03Roddy White takes a nine-yard catch, with Jacquizz Rodgers adding the extra yard on the next snap to get the first down. Matt Ryan is looking a little on edge.

Q4 7:01Ryan comes under pressure from Aldon Smith, and his pass attempt to Julio Jones is off-target.

Q4 5:07Ryan is left without an open receiver so takes to run himself, as the Falcons close in on midfield. This is going to be a long drive if they're to make the end zone.

Q4 3:53Harry Douglas gets free and takes a long catch down the sideline on third down. However, replays show the ball might not have been controlled as he hit the ground, and Jim Harbaugh has thrown the challenge flag for the 49ers.

Q4 3:53After the review, the officials have ruled it a catch. Harbaugh is livid, throwing his game notes to the ground in anger.

Q4 2:52The Falcons get a first down at the 20-yard line. They will be desperate to get a touchdown and re-take the lead.

Q4 2:52Rodgers gets a one-yard gain to bring up the two-minute warning. It looks like it's going to be another nail-biting finish.

Q4 1:13Ryan gets the ball to Snelling, but takes a hit as he gets the pass away. The Falcons quarterback is slow to get up and looks a little sore. It would be a shame if an injury were to decide the game at this point.

Q4 1:09Ryan is incomplete on fourth down, and the 49ers will come back on to the field with just over a minute on the clock. Prepare for some immense clock management.

Q4 1:04The 49ers take a timeout at 2nd and seven. For the 49ers, it's not about adding to the score, it's all about running down the play clock.

Q4 1:00The 49ers are given a five-yard penalty for delay of game. The Atlanta crowd are getting loud again as they try to encourage their team. The Falcons are using their last time out.

Q4 0:13Gore takes the ball out to the 15-yard line on third down to bring punter Andy Lee on the field.

Q4 0:13The 49ers have taken their final timeout. Barring a disaster on the punt, this should be enough for the 49ers.

Q4 0:00END OF FOURTH QUARTER: 49ers 28-24 Falcons

6.02pmThe San Francisco 49ers are going to the Super Bowl! Ryan comes back on the field for one snap, but with an injured shoulder he can't get the distance for a good hail Mary pass.

6.03pmIt will be the 49ers first appearance in the Super Bowl since the 1994 season.

6.06pmThe 49ers will now be keeping a close eye on the AFC Championship game, to see whether they will face the New England Patriots or the Baltimore Ravens.

6.07pmIf you're just joining us and want to know what you've missed, check out Robert Summerscales's game report. That's all from me, thanks for joining me this evening!

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan against the NY Giants on December 16, 2012
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