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49ers overcome Falcons for Super Bowl return

10:50 AM, Jan 22, 2013   |    comments
Frank Gore (21), Vernon Davis (85) and Colin Kaepernick had a hand in three of the 49ers' four TDs Sunday.(Photo: Matthew Emmons, USA TODAY Sports)
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ATLANTA - Jim Harbaugh threw one of the all-time great temper tantrums ever recorded on television.

Within a matter of minutes, he was giving his San Francisco 49ers assistant coaches big back-slapping hugs because he and his team were on the way to the Super Bowl.

The 49ers overcame a questionable call on a catch by the Atlanta Falcons' Harry Douglas (not to mention a missed call of offensive pass interference on Douglas) to make a stand deep in their own territory and hang on for a 28-24 comeback victory in Sunday's thrilling NFC Championship Game.

The 49ers, who posted their first road playoff win since 1989, will appear in their first Super Bowl in 18 years. They will face the Baltimore Ravens two weeks from Sunday in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.

A matchup with the Ravens would pit Jim Harbaugh against his brother, John Harbaugh, Baltimore's head coach.

Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick, promoted to first string mid-season, will make his 10th NFL start in the Super Bowl. After running for a quarterback-record 181 yards in a divisional playoff victory over the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick rushed just twice for 21 yards Sunday as the 49ers changed their game plan.

"I'm just enjoying this," Kaepernick said in a rowdy locker room. "I couldn't ask to be anywhere else."

The Niners almost didn't make it, and if they didn't, there would've been plenty of discussion about whether the ball hit the ground on Douglas' 22-yard diving catch to convert a third-and-2 and whether he should've been flagged for dragging cornerback Carlos Rogers to the ground to get open. Harbaugh's gyrating body after the Niners' failed challenge certainly showed what he thought of the calls on the field and in the replay booth.

Mike Garafolo, USA TODAY Sports

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