The 49ers defense needed time to warm up, then shut out the Falcons in the second half and allow San Francisco to stage a record rally in the NFC championship game. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman knocked away a fourth-down pass intended for Roddy White with 1:13 left helped preserve a 28-24 victory.
There are a lot of things that will be needed to slow down the Atlanta Falcons offense in the NFC Championship Game. The 49er secondary will have their hands full chasing Roddy White and Julio Jones around, but the key match-up is going to be NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis vs. Tony Gonzalez. There is no doubt that Gonzalez is the greatest ever at the tight end position, but this is a match up that San Francisco can win.
San Francisco had the most players selected, nine, including six from its second-ranked defense.
NaVorro Bowman was never viewed as a dominant player, but after waiting for his chance he has made a name for himself. The young linebacker has quickly become one of the best to play the position, and can one day be as good as the man he plays next to, Pro Bowler Patrick Willis. Either way, the two form a duo that is second to none and has led to the 49ers dominance against opposing teams’ running backs.
San Francisco ranks fourth overall in defense and third against the run. The Niners have not allowed an opposing runner to gain more than 100 yards in 25 straight games.