ATLANTA -- Mike Smith knew it could happen again.
A week ago, his Atlanta Falcons blew a 20-point lead but won through a miracle comeback in the final minute.
Again on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game, the Falcons built a big lead -- 17 points at one point. Smith said his message at that juncture was to "never let up, never give up."
"That's how you have got to play this game," he said. "In the National Football League, you have to play for four quarters."
The Falcons learned that lesson painfully on Sunday in a 28-24 loss to San Francisco at the Georgia Dome as second half turnovers, one an example of bad luck the other of dumb luck, proved their undoing.
The Falcons, playing in their first conference championship game since 2005 and hoping to go to their first Super Bowl since 1999, still have many bright young stars -- wide receiver Julio Jones with a break-out performance on Sunday and quarterback Matt Ryan among them -- but one has to wonder if their window to win a Sup...