SANTA CLARA — Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio credited "great quarterbacks, great receivers" for opponents' ability to rack up yards against the 49ers in the playoffs.

If Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens' receivers can do the same against the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, they'll surely be considered great, too.

Fangio has been a fan of Flacco since serving as a Ravens assistant during Flacco's first two seasons.

"I remember his first (offseason training) sessions as a rookie, I said to (coach) John Harbaugh: 'You have your horse to ride for 10 years, at least.' I felt he could be a great quarterback in the league and I still feel that way.

"He's got a big arm, throws the ball effortlessly. The game isn't too big for him. He's calm, confident."

The 49ers allowed Matt Ryan to pass for 396 yards and three touchdowns before linebackers Ahmad Brooks and NaVorro Bowman came through with clutch pass deflections to thwart a late Falcons drive.

"We played some tight coverage, rushed four guys and executed well," Fangio said of that finishing effort. "It was a big batted pass by Ahmad on third down. Brooks also had a big play on second down when he hit the quarterback."

Ryan sustained an injured left (non-throwing) shoulder when hit by Brooks on that second-down pass attempt. Creating more pressure on the quarterback will be key against Flacco on Feb. 3 in New Orleans.