Shutdown Corner

Falcons see 49ers’ tight end score a touchdown, get their own tight end in the end zone

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

Vernon Davis finally re-emerged for the 49ers in the second quarter of the NFC Championship Game. Tony Gonzalez wasn't going to be upstaged, however.

Davis, who strangely disappeared from the 49ers offense once Colin Kaepernick was made the starting quarterback, helped get San Francisco back into the game.

Kaepernick and the 49ers offense had a tough first quarter, not picking up one first down. But with San Francisco down 17-0 and the Georgia Dome rocking, the 49ers' coaching staff smartly got Kaepernick in a rhythm with short, high percentage throws. Many of those went to Davis, the team's incredibly athletic but recently ignored weapon.

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Davis caught all four of his second-quarter targets to get 75 yards. His 4-yard touchdown cut Atlanta's lead to 17-14 late in the second quarter. Last week, Seattle's Zach Miller was open the entire game over the middle of the Falcons' defense, so it's not a huge surprise the 49ers had a plan to get Davis involved. It's amazing watching Davis' second quarter that he had fallen so far off the grid for San Francisco late in the season.

The 49ers had a ton of momentum after Davis' touchdown, but Matt Ryan is a master at the two-minute drill, and Gonzalez is still one of the best tight ends in the game, even less than two months before he turns 37.

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Ryan slickly got the Falcons deep in 49ers territory, and then hit Gonzalez on a 10-yard touchdown right before halftime to give the Falcons a huge confidence boost going into intermission.

Ryan finished the first half with 271 yards and the Falcons put up 24 points against a tough 49ers defense. Gonzalez's touchdown was part of the reason he was just 30 minutes from his first Super Bowl.

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