Quick Links

49ers are 1 win from reaching Super Bowl at last

201301122029737816527-p2.jpeg

49ers are 1 win from reaching Super Bowl at last

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Running back Frank Gore arrived for work Monday ready to push through another tough week of game preparation and do everything he can to keep his team playing right into February.

The San Francisco 49ers are one win from the place they've planned to be all along: the Super Bowl.

``Mainly, we're going to plow ahead,'' coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday. ``We're going to continue our work ethic and humility.''

The NFC West champion and No. 2-seeded Niners (12-4-1) will hit the road Friday for Atlanta to face the top-seeded Falcons (14-3) in the NFC title game Sunday.

Any topics that strayed from the job at hand, Harbaugh wanted no part of such chatter - whether talk of his big brother John's Baltimore Ravens' success or former 49ers coach and current Falcons defensive coordinator, Mike Nolan.

The Niners have been to New Orleans once already back in November and won in the Superdome, and they're eager to schedule another trip to the Big Easy for the biggest game yet on Feb. 3.

``We all know it's hard to get back to this point, but we did it,'' Gore said. ``We also know how that feeling was when we didn't get the job done last year. We'll try our best to not get that feeling again.''

This group has been working for the opportunity to reach another championship Sunday since the moment San Francisco's season ended last January with a mistake-filled 20-17 overtime loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

Now, it's strong-armed, playmaking Colin Kaepernick under center with a chance to send his team to the franchise's first Super Bowl since after the 1994 season.

Kaepernick dazzled for the sellout home crowd at Candlestick Park in a record-setting playoff debut as San Francisco eliminated the Green Bay Packers with a 45-31 victory Saturday night. The tattooed, second-year pro rushed for a quarterback playoff record 181 yards with a pair of touchdowns - one a 56-yarder - and threw two TD passes to Michael Crabtree.

Kaepernick, whose celebratory flexing of the biceps has become a Twitter sensation, was unfazed after an early pick six that put Green Bay ahead four plays into the game.

``The one thing, I've said this from day one about Colin, since he started playing, he's always been confident,'' center Jonathan Goodwin said. ``When you see a guy that's playing quarterback in this league that young and he's that confident, hats off to him.''

If the 49ers can win in yet another hostile road environment this weekend, they will keep alive the chance of a Harbowl - San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh against his brother, whose Ravens stunned the top-seeded Broncos at Denver and will play at New England for a Super Bowl berth.

``Haaa, haaa! Once again, huh?'' Gore said with a grin when the possibility was mentioned.

Not that anyone in the family - or on the 49ers, for that matter - is thinking too far ahead.

``Proud of them both and excited for them,'' father Jack Harbaugh said Monday. ``Understand how hard they've worked and the preparation that's gone into it.''

His simple message to both coaches: ``Get ahead, stay ahead.'' John beat Jim in their lone head-to-head at Baltimore on Thanksgiving night 2011.

A strong start will be a key for the 49ers, forced to play catch up after Sam Shields ran back the early interception by Kaepernick 52 yards for the game's first points in the divisional playoff matchup.

Atlanta suddenly has some serious momentum at home - and the 49ers know bouncing back from tough breaks is no given at this stage of the postseason with the stakes so high. The Falcons won in thrilling fashion on their home field Sunday, beating the Seattle Seahawks 30-28 on Sunday behind quarterback Matt Ryan and kicker Matt Bryant's game-winning 49-yard field goal with 8 seconds left.

``It's a big task,'' Harbaugh said. ``They had a great season, top seed. They're coming off of a game that gives them a lot of momentum. They're solid in every regard.''

The 49ers don't want to put themselves in such a position where the game is close late and Atlanta has a chance to win at the end again.

``I'd like to see us start faster and continue to do what we do,'' linebacker Patrick Willis said.

If the strong-armed, fleet-footed Kaepernick can keep this up, San Francisco should feel great about its chances of chasing a sixth championship. Fans at sold-out Candlestick Park got into that goal Saturday by waving red rally flags reading ``Quest for Six.''

Still, the 49ers have a five-game road playoff losing streak dating to a 28-3 NFC championship win at Chicago in January 1989 on the way to the organization's third Lombardi Trophy. Harbaugh was a backup quarterback with the Bears at the time.

``I remember Jerry Rice catching a ball down the Niners sideline,'' he said. ``Cold as heck, we got whipped.''

San Francisco also is seeking its first three-game winning streak of the season.

``We're always confident,'' Gore said. ``We'll try to go down there and do it.''

Notes: Harbaugh said David Akers remains the team's kicker, while backup Billy Cundiff will stay on the roster. ... All-Pro DL Justin Smith, who returned Saturday night after missing two games with a partially torn left triceps, got through the game without any problems. ``Played well. Came out of the game as clean as possible,'' Harbaugh said. ``It looked good in practice and the feedback that we were getting from him was positive.'' ... Harbaugh had no update on LT Joe Staley's bruised right arm. X-rays Saturday were negative.

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

WR Kamar Aiken, CB Jimmy Smith among actives

WR Kamar Aiken, CB Jimmy Smith among actives

BALTIMORE – As expected, both cornerback Jimmy Smith (back) and wide receiver Kamar Aiken (thigh) were active for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins. It would be Smith’s first action since missing the previous two games, but Smith practiced all week and was expected to play. Aiken had been listed as questionable but would also be in the lineup.

For the Dolphins, wide receiver DeVante Parker (back) was also active after testing his back during warmups. Even if Parker is not 100 percent, having Parker and No. 1 wide receiver Jarvis Landry on the field should give the Dolphins’ offense more versatility.

Inactive for the Ravens were cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris, running backs Buck Allen and Lorenzo Taliaferro, offensive lineman Ryan Jensen, linebacker Kamalei Correa, guard Alex Lewis, and tight end Crockett Gillmore. 

Without Allen (non-injury issue) and Taliaferro (thigh), Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon would handle the ball-carrying duties for the Ravens. Dixon had a season-high 13 carries against the Bengals in Week 12.

Inactive for the Dolphins were cornerbacks Jordan Lucas and Xavien Howard; center Mike Pouncey, linebacker Jelani Jenkins, offensive tackle Bryce Harris, tight end Thomas Duarte, and wide receiver Rashawn Scott.

Quick Links

Ravens vs. Dolphins Live Updates: Score, stats, highlights, video, analysis

Ravens vs. Dolphins Live Updates: Score, stats, highlights, video, analysis

The Baltimore Ravens host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday in a Week 13 matchup both teams need a win in order to tighten their grip on an AFC playoff spot.

The Ravens (6-5) are 3-1 since their bye week and are looking to keep pace ahead of the Steelers in Bengals in the race for the AFC North title. The AFC North is unlikely to get two temas into the NFL Playoffs, and with the Ravens holding the tiebreaker over the Steelers, a win over the Dolphins will distance themselves from the rest of the pack

But the Dolphins (7-4) have quietly won six straight games and not only hold good positioning in the AFC Wild Card picture, but are not far behind the AFC East-leading Patriots.

RELATED: NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS ENTERING WEEK 13

Jay Ajayi has cooled off in recent weeks following consecutive weeks with at least 200 yards rushing. But quarterback Ryan Tannehill has stepped up his game at a pivotal time. The key to victory for the Ravens will undoubtedly be how much their stellar defense can stymie Ajayi, Tannehill and the Dolphins offense, coupled with Joe Flacco controlling the game, limiting turnovers.

Expect this to be yet another close game. Eight of the Ravens' 11 games have been decided by seven points or less, which means we cna expect to see Justin Tucker called upon in the clutch. The fifth-year kicker has yet to miss a field goal attempt this season and set an NFL record in Week 12, making three field goals of at least 50 yards in the same quarter.

Trying to predict Ravens vs. Dolphins is not easy. The Ravens are three-point favorites heading into the game, but the matchup feels closer to a "pick 'em." CSN Insider Clifton brown made his prediction, and breaks down the five factors needed to do so.

Ravens vs. Dolphins kicks off at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium on CBS. But the action begins at Noon with Chris Miller and Brad Jackson on Ravens Kickoff on CSN. (Channel Finder)

CSN Mid-Atlantic is here with the latest live updates, scores, stats, highlights, videos, and analysis from Week 13 Ravens vs. Dolphins. Be sure to give us your thoughts on the game in the comment section below.

RELATED: RAVENS VS. DOLPHINS HAS PLAYOFF FEEL TO IT

Ravens vs. Dolphins Live Updates

SECOND QUARTER:

2:05 PM: This is the story of the game so far.

2:03 PM: FLACCO TO PITTA, PART DEAUX! Good guys lead 21-0

2:00 PM: Ravens convert on a key fourth down to keep the drive moving. The Dolphins have not been able to get Joe Flacco and company off the field.

1:58 PM: Ravens announce CB Tavon Young is questionable for return with a shoulder injury.

1:50 PM: This has been a textbook Ravens' first half. Controling the tempo, not bending on defense. The big question is when when they deviate from the gameplan and hang on for dear life?

1:46 PM: The Dolphins have been able to mvoe the ball, but aren't making big plays, which is resulting in their drives stalling out. Four possessions have ended in two punts, an INT and a missed FG. 

1:40 PM: A beautiful interception by Webb is confirmed but basically taken away, because on the very next play, Joe Flacco throws an INT, giving the ball back to the Dolphins.

1:38 PM: Tannehill looks to the corner of the end zone with a deep pass and it looks like Lardarius Webb comes up with a beautiful interception. Wild play. Webb looks banged up, but WOW that was pretty.

FIRST QUARTER: Ravens 14, Dolphins 0

1:35 PM: That does it for the first quarter. The Ravens pitched a first-quarter shutout for the fifth straight game. 

1:30 PM: Our first bit of in-game injury news. Kiko Alonso, the team's leading tackler, is out with a hand injury. 

1:28 PM: Dolphins player slips up on the kickoff return. That's the second time it's happened today. No bueno. 

1:24 PM: There goes that man again. Flacco to Pitta for the touchdown. That was a good drive and a great start for the Ravens. Joe Flacco is now 11-for-14 for 136 yards and two touchdown passes. That was Pitta's first touchdown of the year and the first time all season the Ravens have opened a game with back-to-back TDs.

1:22 PM: Joe Flacco continues to pick apart the Dolphins. A heavy dose of Joe Flacco. 

1:20 PM: Joe Flacco finds Dennis Pitta over the middle, and the Ravens tight end uses his legs to stretch it out for a huge game. Hold the phone. This one is coming back because of a holding penalty on Vladimir Ducasse. Fiddlesticks. 

1:18 PM: The Dolphins' first drive stalls and they settle for a field goal attempt. AND THEY MISS IT! The Ravens will take over after Franks' 48-yard miss. 

1:15 PM: Dolphins come out with a heavy dose of Jay Ajayi. The brusing back plows ahead on a series of runs, then blows up Jerraud Powers' tackle attempt for a 19-yard run. He good.

1:12 PM: Now THIS is a stat. Now, granted, it shouldn't come as a huge surprise if you've watched every Ravens game this season. They typically start fast and have to hold on tight down the stretch. It's wildly entertaining, it's just not the greatest tactic for self-preservation.

1:09 PM: Perfect start for the Ravens. Eight plays, 79 yards. Steve Smith makes a big catch, and the Flacco carved up the Dolphins' defense, compelting passes to six different receivers. Ravens finish it off with a 3-yard pass to Terrance West. 7-0, good guys. 

1:03 PM: The Dolphins won the toss and deferred. Devin Hester fields the punt and gets it out to the 23-yard line.

PREGAME:

12:55 PM: It's almost go-time. Which, means it's time to predict the final score of Ravens vs. Dolphins.

Clifton Brown: Ravens 20, Dolphins 17

Troy Machir: Dolphins 20, Ravens 19

12:40 PM: The current temperature outside M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore is a balmy 46 degrees. It's blusterly and cool, with 5-10mph winds. It's perfect football weather.

12:35 PM: Hope you are tuning in to Ravens Kickoff on CSN. If you aren't, you're missing Chris Miller and Brad Jackson wearing Christmas sweaters because it's that time of the year.

12:00 PM: Jimmy Smith and Kamar Aiken are both suiting up today. You can find the full list of inactive players right here. 

11:45 AM: Also joining me on this wonderful voyage of Ravens football is CSN's Clifton BrownBo Smolka and Brent Harris, who are anchoring our coverage at M&T Bank Stadium today. 

11:30 AM: Welcome to CSN Mid-Atlantic's live blog for Week 13 Ravens vs. Dolphins. I am your esteemed host Troy Machir. You'll want to follow me on Twitter, so you can criticize me for my #bias analysis and bad sports takes.