Found January 17, 2013 on
San Francisco 49ers
San Diego Chargers
New Orleans Saints
Most of the focus of the NFC Championship game is on Colin Kaepernick and everyone questioning how the Falcons can stop him. That's an important storyline for the game but another involves a much less "sexy" position on the football field. The Tight End. Yes, the TE has become more of a focus in today's game with great players like Antonio Gates, Rob Gronkowski and of course, Tony Gonzalez.
The addition of Tony Gonzalez to the Falcons was very important for the Falcons and Matt Ryan. Gonzalez has now been a part of the Falcons offense for four years. What might be hard to believe, since this is supposedly his swan song, is that this has been Gonzalez's best year since he's joined the team. This season, Tony has the most receptions (93), yards (930) and TDs (8) since he joined the Falcons.
A lot of the improvement in stats has to do with Dirk Koetter and his offense. Matt Ryan is throwing at a much higher completion rate than he has in the past and he had a career high in TDs and yards this season. Matt Ryan has taken the next step under Dirk Koetter but even with Julio Jones and Roddy White at his disposal, he still looks to Tony Gonzalez as much as anybody else on the roster. A great example of this was in the Seattle Seahawks game where Ryan hit Gonzalez over the middle with time running down on the clock late in the fourth quarter. The pass was good for 19 yards and a few of those yards after the catch might have been the reason that the Falcons advanced in the playoffs.
That was a great play by Gonzalez but his most impressive play came in the first quarter when Ryan hit him with a back shoulder throw at the back of the end zone and Gonzalez planted his feet perfectly to score a TD. The Falcons don't win last week without Gonzalez.
As great as the Falcons have been with Gonzalez on offense this year, the Tight End position has been a bit of a kryptonite for the Falcons defense this year and the San Francisco 49ers Vernon Davis is probably licking his chops. The Falcons have given up some big games to TEs this season. Jimmy Graham of the Saints caught seven passes for 146 yards and hauled in two TD passes. Greg Olson of the Panthers had TD catches in both of his games against the Falcons. And I think we all remember Seattle's Zach Miller running wide open last week in route to 142 yards and a touchdown.
Vernon Davis's stats were down this season and he was a bit banged up at the end of the season but he's still a very talented player who will provide match-up problems for the Falcons defense. Statistically, Davis is the second most targeted receiver on the 49ers this season. The Falcons will need to find a happy medium between respecting the spread option and also slowing down Davis if they want to come away with a victory on Sunday afternoon.
BEST OF MAXIM
The 49ers are feeling good after last weeks game, do they have enough left in the tank?
The Divisional round delivered some of the best football of the season. Having the elite quarterbacks on the field definitely helped.
This weekend we have a final four that should deliver more exciting football. This is why the NFL is the most popular sport.
I previewed the Championship...
(Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated. With AP Photos.) By PAUL NEWBERRY AP Sports Writer Tony Gonzalez remembers talking to Michael Strahan after the former New York Giants defensive lineman won a Super Bowl title in his final game.
That's the way Gonzalez wants to do it.
He's two wins away from going out a champion.
The top-seeded Falcons (14-3) host the San Francisco 49ers...
As we approach tomorrow’s NFC Championship game, Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon told the media that they like it that people don’t believe they can stop 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Weatherspoon said they “love hearing we can’t stop Kaepernick. We want the challenge & look forward to it. It will be fun,” per Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle....
(Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated. With AP Photos.) By ANTONIO GONZALEZ AP Sports Writer Carlos Rogers had one word to describe his homecoming in Atlanta when the San Francisco 49ers face the Falcons in Sunday's NFC championship: expensive.
The 49ers cornerback, born in Augusta and an offseason resident of Atlanta, grew up doing the ''Dirty Birds'' dance when...
The NFL's Divisional Playoffs had some of the best games in recent memory. NFL Fans were treated to a great Double Overtime game with the Ravens and Broncos, a fantastic finish in Atlanta with the Falcons beating the Seahawks, an incredible performance by 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick during their win over the Packers, and a dominant performance by the Patriots over the Texans. Before As...
It was one heck of a Divisional Round weekend. The Ravens stunned the Broncos at Mile High, Colin Kaepernick was the star as the 49ers beat the Packers, the Falcons overcame a huge 4th quarter comeback by the Seahawks to win, and finally, the Patriots held off a late rally by the Texans. Now, it’s the Conference Championship Round. Four teams are just one step away from the Super...
The San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons square off this Sunday at 3:00 PM EST on Fox for the NFL‘s NFC Championship and a ticket to the Super Bowl. Both teams are led by phenomenal young quarterbacks, and both of those young men have just one playoff win in their careers thus far. Atlanta’s Matt Ryan has more overall experience, but San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick is clearly...
The San Francisco 49ers face the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship on Sunday. Below are some notable quotes from this weeks press conference's by several 49ers players and coach Jim Harbaugh, provided by the NFL. QB Colin Kaepernick: Can you talk about that process when you tuck it into Frank Gore? Click Link Below to Read More!
Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan admits he has fond memories of his time coaching the San Francisco 49ers.
"I have great memories of the place. A lot of good things happened there as well,"Nolan said. "Obviously, getting fired is not a good thing. But nonetheless, there's a lot of players still playing there that we added I obviously look forward
Back in the NFC championship game, the San Francisco 49ers are confident they can take that next step this year behind multi-threat quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
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San Francisco 49ers @ Atlanta FalconsNFC ChampionshipSaturday, January 20th, 2013 @ 3:00 PM ET on FOXMike - I think I owe an apology to Colin Kaepernick, as I thought he would be the downfall of the 49ers, instead he went out and set the NFL record for most rushing yards by a QB in a game. Woops.With the 49ers coming into Atlanta, I think the Falcons will be somewhat prepared for...
After a 46-24 regular season record in five seasons, the Falcons finally got their first playoff victory in the Mike Smith era last weekend against the Seahawks. One could surmise Atlanta now has the proverbial “playoff monkey” off its back and should have less pressure moving forward. And yet, the Falcons, despite being the No. 1 seed in the NFC and having home-field advantage...