Falcons must stop Kaepernick
The Atlanta Falcons survived a phenomenal quarterback performance last week. Can they do it again and return to the Super Bowl after a 14-year absence?
They'll have to try, even if San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is just half as good in Sunday's NFC Championship Game in Atlanta as he was last weekend.
Kaepernick burst onto the national scene when he led the Niners past the Green Bay Packers, 45-31. The second-year pro was good with his arm (263 yards, two TDs, one INT) and amazing with his feet (an all-time QB record 181 yards, 2 TDs) in a playoff performance for the ages.
At least the Falcons have experience against the new wave of dual-threat quarterbacks.
They faced Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers twice this season, then earned the first postseason win of the Matt Ryan era by overcoming Seattle Seahawks passer Russell Wilson's big day (385 passing yards, 60 rushing yards, three total TDs, one INT) for a 30-28 victory.
The Niners must account for Ryan, Kaepernick's counterpart. The Falcons' Pro Bowl quarterback was 24 for 35 for 250 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions against Seattle to win his first playoff victory in four tries. It was a solid showing, but Ryan had just two games in the regular season in which he threw more than one interception.
High-scoring affairs have been commonplace this postseason, and these two offenses should keep the trend going as Kaepernick and the 49ers advance.