Ryan, Falcons take early 17-0 lead over 49ers

(AP) Ryan, Falcons take early 17-0 lead over 49ers
By CHARLES ODUM
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA
Matt Ryan threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones on the first play of the second quarter to extend the Atlanta Falcons' lead to 17-0 over the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday's NFC championship game.

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.

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