Falcons fall to 49ers in NFC Championship - New York News

Falcons fall to 49ers in NFC Championship

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ATLANTA -

The Falcons blew another postseason lead, and this time Matt Ryan couldn't help Atlanta recover in a 28-24 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game Sunday.
 
The Falcons led 17-0 in the first half and 24-21 entering the fourth quarter. Frank Gore's second touchdown run midway through the quarter gave San Francisco its first lead.
 
Ryan led the Falcons from the Atlanta 20 to the 49ers 10. On fourth-and-4 from the 10, Ryan's pass over the middle for Roddy White was deflected by linebacker NaVorro Bowman.
 
It was the second straight week the Falcons blew a big lead. They led Seattle 20-0 in the first half of last week's divisional playoff game but needed a late field goal by Matt Bryant for a 30-28 win. The field goal was set up by Ryan's two clutch passes.
 
The Falcons had one last chance, taking the ball on their 41 with 6 seconds remaining. Ryan completed a pass to Julio Jones at the 49ers 35 as the game ended.
 
The Falcons (14-4) were denied their second Super Bowl appearance.
 
Ryan completed 30 of 42 passes for 396 yards and three touchdowns, but was hurt by two turnovers -- an interception and a lost fumble on a shotgun snap.
 
Ryan's pass for Roddy White was intercepted by cornerback Chris Culliver early in the third quarter. The 49ers couldn't take advantage of the game's first turnover when David Akers' try for a 38-yard field goal hit the left upright.
 
Later in the third quarter, Ryan fumbled a shotgun snap. Again, the 49ers were denied when receiver Michael Crabtree fumbled at the goal line when stripped by Dunta Robinson. William Moore helped on the hit and Stephen Nicholas was credited with the recovery.
 
Julio Jones was Ryan's top target, catching 11 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns.

Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner limped off the field of Sunday's NFC title game against San Francisco in the third quarter with a sprained ankle.

He did not return to the game.

Turner had eight rushes for 30 yards when he was hurt. It appeared he aggravated the ankle on a 3-yard run with Atlanta leading 24-21.

Jacquizz Rodgers replaced Turner as the primary running back, but Jason Snelling was taking handoffs, too.

Before quarterback Matt Ryan threw an interception to Chris Culliver midway through the third, the Falcons were giving the 49ers' pass defense fits as Ryan had 20 completed of 27 passes for 299 yards, three touchdowns and the pick.

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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press modified. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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