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  • Paul Kitagaki Jr. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

    The 49ers' Aldon Smith celebrates after one of his 5 1/2 sacks in a 32-7 victory over the Chicago Bears on Nov. 19 in Week 11.

  • Paul Kitagaki Jr. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

    Running back Frank Gore rushed for 131 yards in the 49ers' 13-6 victory over Seattle on Oct. 18 in Week 7. It was Gore's third consecutive 100-yard performance.

  • Brant Sanderlin / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

NFC Championship: How they got here

Published: Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2X
Last Modified: Friday, Jun. 28, 2013 - 12:37 pm

49ERS

WEEK 1

49ERS 30, PACKERS 22

Sept. 9 at Green Bay: The 49ers knew it was their day when David Akers kicked an NFL-record-tying, 63-yard field goal – which bounced off and over the cross bar – at the end of the half. Alex Smith passed for 211 yards and two touchdowns, and Frank Gore had 112 rushing yards and a score. Said 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh: "We were just tremendously on it today."

WEEK 2

49ERS 27, LIONS 19

Sept. 16 vs. Detroit: Smith passed for 226 yards and hit Vernon Davis for two touchdowns in extending a club record to 216 consecutive passes without an interception, dating back to the 2011 season. Said Harbaugh of Smith: "He's as tough as a $2 steak. I grew up eating a lot of them. I know what I'm talking about."

WEEK 3

VIKINGS 24, 49ERS 13

Sept. 23 at Minnesota: Christian Ponder accounted for three touchdowns to surprise the 49ers as Gore managed just 63 rushing yards. Smith had his interception-free streak end at 249.

WEEK 4

49ERS 34, JETS 0

Sept. 30 at New York: The 49ers emphatically bounced back from the loss in Minnesota by rushing for 245 yards. They also had a 51-yard Carlos Rogers fumble recovery for a score, a punt block and a Colin Kaepernick scoring run.

WEEK 5

49ERS 45, BILLS 3

Oct. 7 vs. Buffalo: The 49ers became the first team in NFL history to pass for 300 yards and rush for 300 in the same game while totaling a franchise-record 621 yards. Smith passed for 303 yards and three touchdowns, while Gore ran for 106 and a score. Said Harbaugh: "Quarterback was nearly perfect."

WEEK 6

GIANTS 26, 49ERS 3

Oct. 14 vs. New York: In a rematch of last season's NFC Championship Game, the 49ers again failed to solve the Giants, who intercepted Smith three times. San Francisco came in rolling, having outscored its previous two opponents 79-3.

WEEK 7

49ERS 13, SEAHAWKS 6

Oct. 18 vs. Seattle: In an NFC West Division opener, Smith hit Delanie Walker late in the third quarter with a deciding touchdown pass. Gore rushed for 131 yards, his third 100-yard outing of the season. Harbaugh improved to 3-0 against his rival Pete Carroll in NFL meetings.

WEEK 8

49ERS 24, CARDINALS 3

Oct. 29 at Arizona: In his finest showing of his career on "Monday Night Football," Smith completed 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns, two to Michael Crabtree. Said Harbaugh: "Eighteen of 19, I have never seen that. I don't know how you play much better. It was a fantastic game by him." It also would be Smith's last complete game.

WEEK 9

Bye

WEEK 10

49ERS 24, RAMS 24 (OT)

Nov. 11 vs. St. Louis: After the 49ers' bye week, missed field-goal attempts by each team resulted in the first NFL tie in four seasons. During the first half, Smith suffered a concussion, ushering in the Kaepernick era. Smith had started 28 consecutive games.

WEEK 11

49ERS 32, BEARS 7

Nov. 19 vs. Chicago: With his first start coming on "Monday Night Football," Kaepernick passed for 243 yards and two touchdowns against a solid Bears defense that was caught off-guard. Said Kaepernick: "It's amazing." 49ers defensive end Aldon Smith had 5 1/2 sacks, the most ever for an "MNF" game.

WEEK 12

49ERS 31, NEW ORLEANS 21

Nov. 25 at New Orleans: Kaepernick's second start was solid, but this was a day for the defense as Ahmad Brooks and Donte Whitner each returned interceptions for touchdowns. Kaepernick passed for 231 yards and one touchdown while also running for one score.

WEEK 13

RAMS 16, 49ERS 13 (OT)

Dec. 2 at St. Louis: Three weeks after an unsavory tie to the Rams, St. Louis did one better – scoring twice in the final 3:04 of regulation and winning on a 54-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein with 26 seconds remaining in overtime. Akers missed inches right from 51 yards with 4:11 left in overtime, dropping to seven of 15 from 40 yards and beyond.

WEEK 14

49ERS 27, DOLPHINS 13

Dec. 9 vs. Miami: Gore eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the sixth time in his career and matched late Hall of Famer Joe Perry for the team record in rushing touchdowns with 50. Aldon Smith, the NFL sack leader, had two for 19 1/2 on the season, passing Fred Dean's team record of 17 1/2 from 1983.

WEEK 15

49ERS 41, PATRIOTS 34

Dec. 16 at New England: In icy New England rain, Kaepernick threw four touchdown passes and the defense forced four turnovers and then held on as Tom Brady passed for 443 yards.

WEEK 16

SEAHAWKS 42, 49ERS 13

Dec. 23 at Seattle: The 49ers were buried amid the rain and Seattle crowd noise – and by Russell Wilson. The rookie tossed a career-best four touchdown passes. Richard Sherman returned a blocked field goal for another score in the 49ers' worst outing of the season.

WEEK 17

49ERS 27, CARDINALS 13

Dec. 30 vs. Arizona: Crabtree had 172 receiving yards to become the team's first 1,000-yard receiver since Terrell Owens in 2003. He had two touchdown receptions as Kaepernick passed for a career-best 276 yards in earning the 49ers a first-round bye.

DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

49ERS 45, PACKERS 31

Jan. 12 vs. Green Bay: Kaepernick had a record day as the 49ers marched back to their 14th NFC title game. He passed for 263 yards and two touchdowns to Crabtree and set a playoff record for a quarterback by rushing for 181 yards and two touchdowns. San Francisco rushed for a team playoff-record 323 yards.

THE FALCONS

WEEK 1

FALCONS 40, CHIEFS 24

Sept. 9 at Kansas City: Matt Ryan passed for 299 yards and three touchdowns and ran for a score in an opener on the road. Ryan connected with Tony Gonzalez, a Chiefs fan favorite for 12 seasons, with a touchdown pass.

WEEK 2

FALCONS 27, BRONCOS 21

Sept. 17 vs. Denver: The Falcons intercepted Peyton Manning three times in the first quarter, and Ryan tossed his 100th career touchdown pass and powered Atlanta to a 20-0 lead on Monday Night Football.

WEEK 3

FALCONS 27, CHARGERS 3

Sept. 23 at San Diego: Ryan found three different receivers for touchdown passes in moving to 13-0 in games in which he's thrown for three scores. The defense held the Chargers without a touchdown for the first time since Nov. 24, 2002.

WEEK 4

FALCONS 30, PANTHERS 28

Sept. 30 vs. Carolina: Despite suffering a career-worst seven sacks, Ryan threw a 59-yard pass to Roddy White with under a minute to play to help set up Matt Bryant's 40-yard field goal with five seconds left.

WEEK 5

FALCONS 24, REDSKINS 17

Oct. 7 at Washington: Ryan passed for 345 yards in completing 34 of 52 passes, and Michael Turner scored the winning touchdown on a 13-yard burst with 2:46 to play. It was Ryan's 18th game-winning drive, the most in the NFL since 2008 and the most for any quarterback in his first five seasons since 1966.

WEEK 6

FALCONS 23, RAIDERS 20

Oct. 14 vs. Oakland: Ryan overcame a sloppy outing, Asante Samuel returned an interception 79 yards for a touchdown and Bryant drilled a 55-yard field goal with one second to play to extend the best start in franchise history to 6-0.

WEEK 7

Bye

WEEK 8

FALCONS, 30 EAGLES 17

Oct. 28 at Philadelphia: Ryan threw touchdown passes on his team's first three drives to beat his hometown team for the first time in three attempts.

WEEK 9

FALCONS 19, COWBOYS 13

Nov. 4 vs. Dallas: Turner had a fourth-quarter touchdown run and Bryant kicked four field goals as the Falcons remained the only unbeaten team in the NFL.

WEEK 10

SAINTS 31, FALCONS 27 Nov. 11 at New Orleans: Despite a career-high 411 yards passing and three touchdowns from Ryan, the Falcons lost for the first time. Gonzalez caught two touchdown passes to become the eighth player in NFL history to have 100.

WEEK 11

FALCONS 23, CARDINALS 19

Nov. 18 vs. Arizona: Turner scored the game-winner with a one-yard run and the Falcons bounced back from their first defeat.

WEEK 12

FALCONS 24, BUCS 23

Nov. 25 at Tampa Bay: The Falcons won their seventh game by seven or fewer points, tying an NFL mark for teams that started 10-1 or 11-0. They join the 2006 Colts, who won the Super Bowl that season.

WEEK 13

FALCONS 23, SAINTS 13

Nov. 29 vs. New Orleans: The Falcons bolted to a 17-0 lead and intercepted Drew Brees five times in ending his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass at 54.

WEEK 14

PANTHERS 30, FALCONS 20

Dec. 9 at Carolina: Cam Newton scorched the Falcons with a 72-yard touchdown run and passed for 287 yards in a surprising victory by the Panthers.

WEEK 15

FALCONS 34, GIANTS 0

Dec. 16 vs. New York: Ryan passed for 270 yards and threw three touchdown passes (two to Julio Jones) to break his own franchise record for completions and passing yards in a season.

WEEK 16

FALCONS 31, LIONS 18

Dec. 22 at Detroit: Ryan tied his career high with four touchdown passes and the Falcons locked up home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs.

WEEK 17

BUCS 22, FALCONS 17

Dec. 30 vs. Tampa Bay: The Falcons had little to play for, except staying healthy, since they already had locked up home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

FALCONS 30, SEAHAWKS 28

Jan. 13 vs. Atlanta: The Falcons advanced to the NFC Championship despite blowing a 20-0 first-half lead. Bryant won it with a field goal, and Ryan buried any past visions of three previous playoff exits with three touchdown passes. Said coach Mike Smith: "They call him Matty Ice, but I feel like we've got two Matty Ices. There's Matty Ice Ryan and Matty Ice Bryant."

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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