Well, the New Orleans airport workers won’t have a chance to egg the Falcons’ bus, after all.
For the second straight week, the Falcons blew a big lead. Unlike last week against the Seahawks, they were unable to come back and win.
After the 49ers took their first lead of the game with 8:23 to play, the Falcons moved the ball in position to go ahead again, fueled by a decision on replay review to uphold a catch by receiver Harry Douglas, who could have scored if he hadn’t stumbled. The ball appeared to both move and touch the ground, but it was determined to be a catch — prompting a full-body heave from coach Jim Harbaugh.
Still, the 49ers stiffened, stopping the Falcons on fourth and four with less than two minutes to play. Along the way, quarterback Matt Ryan landed hard on his left arm after throwing a pass. He was clearly bothered by an apparent injury to his shoulder/collarbone for the rest of the game.
The Falcons forced a punt, but Frank Gore gave the 49ers some breathing room and the Falcons simply didn’t have enough time to mount a scoring drive. Ryan’s injury may have prevented him cranking up a deep pass to the end zone, which could prompt some to question whether a backup quarterback should have been used for the last play.
Regardless, the 49ers are going to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1994. And Jim Harbaugh has finally finished the business that began the following year, when his Colts nearly beat the Steelers for a berth in Super Bowl XXX.
And there’s also a chance that Jim Harbaugh will be facing his big brother in the Big Easy, if the Ravens beat the Patriots.
Though we’re officially objective, the idea of two brothers squaring off in the Super Bowl is a storyline worth rooting for.