ATLANTA -- The 49ers finally found Vernon Davis on Sunday. Turns out he was all by himself in the Atlanta Falcons secondary at the Georgia Dome, and quarterback Colin Kaepernick took advantage to reintroduce Davis to the 49ers' passing game.
"We always tell Vernon, 'Sooner or later, my friend, it's coming,' " offensive coordinator Greg Roman said after a 28-24 victory by the 49ers in the NFC Championship game. "It came today."
Davis finished with five catches for 106 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown pass from Kaepernick. He did most of his damage in the second quarter after the 49ers had fallen behind 17-0.
It was Davis' biggest game since Week 5, when he had the same number of receptions and receiving
"You have a game plan in place and you put resources in one area, and one of our main goals was to stop the quarterback running the football," Atlanta coach Mike Smith said. "We did not cover the tight end as well as we needed to."
Statistically, Davis, in his seventh NFL season out Maryland, took a step back in 2012, catching 41 passes for 548 yards and five touchdowns after averaging 67 catches for 890 yards and nine TDs over the previous three seasons.
"As far as not getting as many catches as I wanted, or what you guys expected me to have, it has been frustrating," Davis
Davis came up big when the 49ers needed it the most. The Falcons rolled to a 17-0 lead when the 49ers finally mounted their first drive of the game before facing third-and-7 at the Atlanta 42-yard line.
Kaepernick found Davis on a short pass to his left. Davis broke free and gained 27 yards to the Atlanta 15. LaMichael James scored on a 15-yard run a short time later.
On San Francisco's next drive, Kaepernick found Davis for a 19-yard gain on second-and-16 from the 49ers 12-yard line and again later for 25 yards to the Atlanta 4-yard line. On the next play, Kaepernick hit Davis for a touchdown.
Davis' second-quarter tally -- four receptions for 75 yards -- accounted for more receiving yards than he had in 14 of 16 regular-season games.
"Each and every week it has been a priority to get me involved in the offense," Davis said. "It's just that the defense plays us a certain way, and it doesn't happen. We're winning. I can't complain about that. All I can do is pump my fist and say, 'Thank you.' "
Almost as exciting as getting a chance to play in a Super Bowl was watching game film of Atlanta's 30-28 playoff win over Seattle. In that game, Seahawks tight end Zach Miller caught eight passes for 148 yards and a touchdown.
"I actually watched that game three times in two days because I was so excited about what that tight end did," Davis said. "You never know. You just have to be prepared."
After Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan's final pass was caught by Julio Jones for 24 yards to the 49ers 35-yard line as time expired, Davis got caught up in the emotion -- but only for a moment.
"Tears started to fall, but just zipped them right back up," Davis said. "I'll save the tears for the Super Bowl."