by Patrick Imig (@patrickimig)
Cold Hard Football Facts' NFC Champion
The 49ers Were The Better Team All Season Long, Inluding Sunday
San Francisco is now 6-3 against Quality Opponents, the Falcons 4-1. Atlanta reaped the benefits of a softer schedule during the regular season. The 49ers were more weathered, and used that mentality to overcome a 17-0 lead in the second quarter and a 10 point lead at halftime. With 8:23 in the fourth quarter, the 49ers went ahead for good 28-24 after Frank Gore gashed the Falcons on a nine yard score.
He also executed a great Dirty Bird Dig.
Gore finished with 90 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries (4.3 YPA). The 49ers got 34 yards on five carries (6.8 YPA) and a touchdown from rookie LaMichael James.
The 49ers outgained the Falcons on the ground 149-81, and averaged 5.1 YPA compared to 3.5 for Atlanta.
The 49ers Won The Battle Of Scoreability
Altanta was statistically better in Scoreability during the regular season, finishing 10th overall compared the 49ers who ranked 15th. But on Sunday, San Francisco was much more efficient, scoring 28 points on 377 total yards of offense, good for 13.3 YPPS (Yards Per Point Scored). The 49ers performance on Sunday would rank 6th overall over the course of a season.
The 49ers spit in the face of the Falcons, who finished No. 2 in Bendability during the 2012 season.
The Falcons, meanwhile, averaged 19.9 YPPS, which puts the single game performance in Oakland Raiders/Kansas City Chiefs territory.
Colin Kaepernick Was Exceptionally Efficient
Part of the reason for the 49ers efficient scoring came from Kaepernick, who completed 16/21 passes for 233 yards and 10.6 YPA. Though he only rushed for 21 yards on two carries, Kaepernick played mistake-free football and completed a pass of at least 20 yards to four different receivers: Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Delanie Walker and Randy Moss.
Matt Ryan completed 30/42 passes for 396 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Ryan was great (114.8 Passer Rating), but wasn't as efficient as Kaepernick (127.7 Passer Rating).
The Falcons Are Now 34-10 At Home In The Ryan/Smith Era
The 49ers win is impressive when you consider the Falcons were 8-1 at home this season.
Here’s Atlanta’s home record since Smith and Ryan took over (including playoffs):
2008 – 7-2
2009 – 6-2
2010 – 7-2
2011 – 6-2
2012 – 8-2
Vernon Davis: Yeah, Might Want To Cover That Guy
A week after Zach Miller shredded the Falcons with eight catches for 142 yards and a touchdown, Vernon Davis caught five passes for 105 yards with a score.
Davis starred opposite Tony Gonzalez, who hauled in eight catches for 76 yards and a touchdown.
Here's Jim Harbaugh Throwing A Tantrum
Julio Jones Is Still Just A Shiny Hood Ornament
Jones set a Falcons franchise record with 11 receptions for 182 yards and two touchdowns. It still wasn't enough for the Falcons to claim the NFC Championship.
The Cold Hard Football Facts have long contended that Shiny Hood Ornaments do not a world champion make. This was the case again for Julio Jones and the Falcons.
The 49ers head to New Orleans and attempt to go 6-0 in Super Bowl history. The Falcons go back home and ponder what they need to do to reach the Super Bowl.
Glad I don't have to work at Home Depot tomorrow.