Touchdown – NFL Conference Finals – By Tim Magnus

San Francisco and Baltimore are the confirmed participants in this years Super Bowl as they both won on the road to win their conference championship.

With the Ravens being led by John Harbaugh and the 49’ers led by his brother Jim, it will be a Super Bowl which pits brother against brother in a truly sensational season for the Harbaugh siblings.

The AFC Championship game produced a huge shock as the Baltimore Ravens out battled the New England Patriots to fly into the Super Bowl with a 28-13 win at the Gillette Stadium.

Despite being behind at half time, the Ravens produced the best second half performance of their season to become the first side to beat Tom Brady when he has been in a winning position after the second quarter. It will be a deserved Super Bowl appearance for NFL legend Ray Lewis, who is in his final year, as he made 14 tackles in the game to add to his previous 30 in this seasons post season, the most in the NFL.

The first quarter was tentative from both sides with the Patriots the only scorers thanks to a field goal from Stephen Gostkowski. The second quarter provided much more entertainment as both sides scored a touchdown to get the game well and truly going.

First Ray Rice ran in for the Raven’s first points of the game but were soon trailing, courtesy of a Wes Walker reception. A further Patriots field goal gave them a six point advantage but they failed to score a single point in the second half as the Ravens defence stood strong against Brady and his offensive side.

Joe Flacco threw three second half touchdowns to mark a legendary second half performance as catches from Anquan Boldin (2) and Dennis Pitta all went for seven points. The team spirit of this Baltimore Ravens side is there for all to see and their reward for an astonishing post season is a place in the Super Bowl XLVII.

The NFC Championship game saw the San Francisco 49’ers reign supreme to book a place in Super Bowl XLVII, by defeating the impressive Atlanta Falcons 28-24 at the Georgia Dome.

Despite an immaculate start from the Atlanta offence, which saw them race into a 17-0 lead with two touchdown passes from the outstanding Matt Ryan, the San Francisco second half fight back was truly astonishing, restricting the Falcons to no points throughout the half.

Not only did the 49’ers defence finish with the upper hand over Matt Ryan’s offence but their offence, lead by second year quarterback Colin Kaepernick, also outplayed the Atlanta defence, scoring four touchdowns in the game.

The first quarter was dominated by the Falcons however. They rushed into a 17-0 lead thanks to two touchdown passes from Matt Ryan, both to Julio Jones, and also a field goal from last weeks match winner Matt Bryant.

The 49’ers had only ever come back from a seventeen score deficit once before but didn’t let their heads drop and managed to bring the game back to 17-14, with touchdowns from a LaMichael James run and a Vernon Davis reception.

Just before the half time interval the Falcons extended their lead by a further seven thanks to a Tony Gonzalez touchdown to give him and his side hope of a Super Bowl appearance in his final year.

The second half was an expert performance both tactically and defensively as the 49’ers held the Falcons to a scoreless half whilst winning the game with two Frank Gore touchdown runs to silence the Georgia Dome and send the 49’ers to their sixth Super Bowl appearance.  

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