The 49ers' road to the Super Bowl still runs through Atlanta and the Georgia Dome. The top-seeded Falcons held off the Seattle Seahawks 30-28 in the NFC's other divisional playoff game and will host the 49ers on Sunday at noon in the NFC Championship Game.
It will be the first time the 49ers, who beat the Green Bay Packers 45-31 in the divisional round Saturday night, have faced the Falcons under head coach Jim Harbaugh. The teams' last meeting came on Oct. 3, 2010, a 16-14 Falcons win at the Georgia Dome.
Actually, the 49ers might want to just ignore recent history altogether this week. The 49ers have lost their last five road playoff games, with their last postseason road victory coming in the 1988 season's NFC title game against the Chicago Bears. Their last road playoff game overall was a 31-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Jan. 12, 2003.
The Falcons led Seattle 20-0 at halftime before needing a last-minute field goal to win today -- and prevent an all-NFC West conference championship pitting Harbaugh against his arch-nemesis, Pete Carroll.
Instead, the task of figuring out how to defend Colin Kaepernick -- who threw for 263 yards and ran for an NFL quarterback single-game record 181 yards in the win over the Packers -- this week goesto Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who went 18-37 over four seasons as the 49ers' head coach from 2005-08.
-- Matt Kawahara