ATLANTA (AP) — LaMichael James capped an 80-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown run as the San Francisco 49ers broke through with their first points but still trailed the Atlanta Falcons 17-7 in the second quarter of Sunday's NFC championship game.
Matt Ryan threw touchdown passes of 20 and 46 yards to Julio Jones as the Falcons scored the first 17 points.
The 49ers finally answered with a long drive that consumed almost 7 minutes. The drive began with four straight runs by Frank Gore.
On third-and-7 from the Falcons 42, Colin Kaepernick completed a 27-yard pass to tight end Vernon Davis to the 15. Following an incomplete pass on first down, James ran right behind a block by Davis for the touchdown run.
Ryan opened the game with three straight scoring drives, including two touchdown passes to Jones. Ryan capped the Falcons' opening drive with a 46-yard touchdown pass to Jones.
Matt Bryant's 35-yard field goal capped the Falcons' second drive.
Ryan moved the Falcons 80 yards on seven plays on Atlanta's opening drive. Ryan completed passes of 13 yards to Jones and 16 yards to Roddy White on the drive.
On second-and-9 from the 49ers 46, Ryan faked a handoff to Jacquizz Rodgers. San Francisco safety Dashon Goldson bit on the fake, allowing Jones to run past Goldson. Jones was open for the deep pass as safety Donte Whitner trailed on the play.
Ryan completed a 27-yard pass to Jones to set up Bryant's field goal to end the Falcons' second drive. Jones beat Goldson on the catch.
On the first play of the second quarter, Ryan threw to Jones in the left corner of the end zone. Jones was closely covered by 49ers cornerback Tarell Brown. Jones made the catch over Brown and then looked down as he made sure he touched the end zone with both feet.
Jones' second foot was close to the back of the end zone, but the officials' review confirmed the touchdown.
Following the three possessions, Jones already had six catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns.
The Falcons had a strong start for the second straight week of the postseason. They led Seattle 20-0 at halftime in last week's divisional playoff game and lost the lead before winning 30-28.