ATLANTA (AP) — Frank Gore scores on a 9-yard run in the fourth quarter to complete a comeback and send San Francisco to the Super Bowl with a 28-24 win over Atlanta. Gore had a pair of touchdown runs to help the 49ers overcome an early 17-0 deficit.
Atlanta raced out to that lead early in the second quarter on the strength of two of Matt Ryan's three touchdown passes and led 24-14 at the half.
The 49ers pulled off the biggest comeback victory in an NFC championship game, according to STATS. The previous NFC record was 13 points — Atlanta's victory over Minnesota in the 1999 title game, which sent the Falcons to what remains the only Super Bowl in franchise history.
But it's the 49ers that are Super Bowl bound this time. It'll be the sixth appearance in the NFL's big game for the franchise. The Niners have won the previous five.
San Francisco will meet the winner of the ongoing AFC title game between the Ravens and Patriots in New Orleans on Feb. 3.
New England held a 13-7 lead to start the third quarter on the strength of a Tom Brady touchdown pass to Wes Welker and a pair of Stephen Gostkowski field goals. Baltimore's got a 2-yard touchdown run from Ray Rice that capped a 13-play, 90-yard drive.
Sabres continue success in openers
UNDATED (AP) — Thomas Vanek scored twice and added three assists in the Buffalo Sabres' 5-2 season-opening win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
Defenseman Tyler Myers scored the go-ahead goal with 5:03 left in the game after the Sabres overcame a 2-1 second-period deficit.
The Sabres are 6-1-1 in their last eight openers.
Tonight, the New York Rangers are home against Pittsburgh in a back-to-back game for both teams. The Rangers lost their opener 3-1 to Boston. The rest of the schedule has Calgary hosting San Jose, Dallas at Minnesota, Vancouver hosting Edmonton and Chicago visiting Phoenix.
Hockey fans tuning back in...Leafs extend Lupul
UNDATED (AP) — NHL fans have tuned in to hockey's return to television.
NBC's broadcast Saturday earned the highest preliminary rating for a non-Winter Classic regular-season game since 2002. The network says its regional coverage of Blackhawks-Kings and Penguins-Flyers averaged a 2.0 overnight rating. That's up 67 percent from the average for regular-season games on NBC last year.
The abbreviated NHL season opened Saturday after a lockout wiped out the first three months.
In other hockey news:
__ Forward Joffrey Lupul (LOO'-pul) has signed a five-year contract extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Lupul is now signed through to the 2017-18 season. Sunday's deal comes a day after Lupul was picked as one of the Leafs' alternate captains. The 29-year-old played 66 games last season and ranked second with 25 goals last season.
— New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano is out of the hospital following Saturday night's surgery to treat kidney stones. But it's not known when he will make his season debut behind the bench.
Hoosiers take care of business
UNDATED (AP) — Cody Zeller scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and No. 2 Indiana beat Northwestern 67-59. In the wake of top-ranked Louisville's loss to Syracuse on Saturday, the Hoosiers would appear poised to take over the top spot when the new AP rankings come out on Monday.
Jordan Hulls added 15 points. Christian Watford scored 14, and the 16-2 Hoosiers hung on after things got tense down the stretch. They led by as much as 17 in the first half but Northwestern twice cut the lead to five points but could get no closer.
Zeller, the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year, hit 9 of 10 free throws and dominated inside as Indiana pounded the Wildcats 36-24 on the glass.
Richard Howell scored the go-ahead basket with 1:56 left to help No. 14 North Carolina State hold off Clemson 66-62. Howell finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds for the 15-3 Wolfpack (15-3, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who never trailed yet still found itself in a tight game against a league opponent that wouldn't go away. N.C. State scored the game's first 10 points and led by nine early in the second half.
Ultimately, the Wolfpack held on, with Howell's three-point play breaking a tie. Freshman T.J. Warren scored 21 points in the win.
Devin Booker scored a career-high 27 points for the Tigers who fall to 10-7.
Lakers drop fifth straight road game
UNDATED (AP) — The L.A. Lakers are going nowhere fast. The Lakers dropped their fifth straight on the road, 108-103 to Toronto. That left their record to a very-un-Laker-like 17-23.
Landry Fields had a season-high 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors.
Kobe Bryant scored 26 points and Pau Gasol (pow gah-SOHL') had 25 for the Lakers, whose road skid is their longest in six years.
Suns pick Hunter as interim coach
PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Suns picked player development director Lindsey Hunter as interim coach, two days after the team parted ways with Alvin Gentry. This is the first head coaching job for the 40-year-old Hunter.
The 17-year NBA veteran joined the Suns in the scouting department last year and this season took over the team's new player development department.
Ducks hire Helfrich to succeed Kelly
UNDATED (AP) — Oregon has hired Mark Helfrich as its football coach, promoting him from offensive coordinator as the successor to Chip Kelly. Kelly left the Ducks to coach the Philadelphia Eagles. Helfrich's promotion does not come as a surprise. Before Kelly left for the NFL, the offensive coordinator was considered the front-runner for the position.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Action continues at the Australian Open.
Tonight (Eastern time), women's top seed Victoria Azarenka and third-seed Serena Williams are in action. Williams plays 14th-seed Maria Kirlenko of Russia.
On the men's side, two seeded players meet when seventh-seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (SAHNG'-guh) of France plays ninth-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet (ree-SHARD' gas-KAY').
Gay wins 3-way playoff
LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) — Brian Gay birdied the second extra hole to win a three-way playoff at the Humana Challenge. Gay came from six shots back in the final round by shooting a 9-under 63. That got him to 25 under tied with Charles Howell III and Swedish rookie David Lingmerth. Howell closed with a 64 while Lingmerth fired a 62.
Lingmerth hit into the water on the first playoff hole and was eliminated when Gay and Howell birdied. Howell hit into the bunker on the second playoff hole and missed his par putt before Gay ended it for his fourth Tour victory.
David Lingmerth and Brian Gay have the clubhouse lead late in the final round of the Humana Challenge. Lingmerth shot a final round 10-under-62 to finish 25 under par, while Gay shot a 9-under-63.
Frost on top
KAUPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii (AP) — David Frost starts the day with a two-stroke lead over John Cook entering the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship on the Champions Tour.
Te'o to be interview by Couric
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o (MAN'-ty TAY'-oh) will be interviewed by Katie Couric, the first on-camera interview given by the All-American since news broke about the dead girlfriend hoax.
Te'o and his parents will appear on Couric's syndicated daytime talk show Thursday. ABC News announced the interview Sunday, but gave no details as to when it will take place and where.
Te'o gave an off-camera interview with ESPN on Friday night. He insists he was the victim of the hoax, not a participant. The Heisman Trophy runner-up said he had an online romance with a woman he never met and in September was informed that the woman died from leukemia.
Famed Miami baseball coach dies
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Ron Fraser, the coach who was called "the wizard of college baseball" and turned Miami into one of the game's powerhouse programs, has died.
Fraser's family spokesman, Tony Segreto, says he died Sunday morning. Fraser had been battling Alzheimer's disease for many years.
Fraser led Miami to the 1982 and 1985 national titles and took the Hurricanes to the College World Series 12 times. He spent 30 years at the school, retiring in 1992 with 1,271 wins.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.
Copyright © 2012 JacksonsNewsTalk.com. All Rights Reserved.