ATLANTA -- Make way Joe Montana and Steve Young. Colin Kaepernick is leading a brash new group of 49ers to the Super Bowl. See More Photos
Frank Gore scored a pair of second-half touchdowns and San Francisco, after falling behind 17-0 by the first play of the second quarter, pulled off a record rally for a 28-24 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC championship game Sunday.
Kaepernick didn't put up the same dazzling numbers he did in the divisional playoff against Green Bay. But he was solid enough to justify coach Jim Harbaugh's decision to bench Alex Smith and go with the youngster. The 49ers' defense did its part, shutting out Atlanta in the second half and making a big stop with just over a minute to go.
San Francisco (13-4-1) moves on to face either New England or Baltimore at New Orleans in two weeks and will try to join Pittsburgh as the only franchises with six Super Bowl titles. It could be a brother-vs.-brother matchup, too, since John Harbaugh coaches the Ravens.
"This is what we play for. We play for this moment," said 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, who hauled in a touchdown pass from Kaepernick. "We put in all the hard work and get the opportunity to play on the big stage."
Montana led the 49ers to four Super Bowl wins and Young took them to No. 5. It's up to Kaepernick
This also was sweet redemption after a bitter loss at home in last year's NFC title game, when a fumbled return set up the New York Giants' winning field goal in overtime.
"We've come full circle," said Denise DeBartolo York, part of the family that has owned the 49ers since their championship days, "and the dynasty will prevail."
The second-year quarterback who runs like a track star guided San Francisco on a pair of second-half scoring drives that wiped out Atlanta's 24-14 lead at the break. Gore scored on a 5-yard run early in the third quarter, then sprinted in from 9 yards out for the winning score with 8:23 remaining after each team made crucial mistakes to ruin potential scoring drives.