FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — For the second week in a row, the Atlanta Falcons’ defense will line up against one of the more explosive quarterbacks in the league. Colin Kaepernick is coming off of a game where he passed for 263 yards and ran for another 181. Kaepernick had a field day on Green Bay’s defense which leaves the Falcons’ defense with the task of stopping the young phenom.
“Explosive, he’s a young guy with a lot of talent, [he’s] comfortable,” said cornerback Asante Samuel. “We have to bring our A game and try to take his confidence away.”
With talented players on the offensive side of the ball such as Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis and Randy Moss, Atlanta is going to have their hands full trying to stop the 49ers’ offensive attack.
“They’re pretty versatile,” Samuel said on Thursday. “I’m not going to compare [to Seattle] but like I said, they have really fast tight ends and really good, explosive receivers and an explosive quarterback. So, it’ll be a good challenge for us.”
The Falcons find themselves in the NFC championship for the first time since 2004. The team is fully aware of the task and tasks at hand; stopping Kaepernick, both his passing and his mobility, getting the running game going again, finding the hot receiver or receivers and exploiting the secondary, mastering those in-game tasks could get the Falcons to the Super Bowl.
Samuel has taken on the task from Day 1 as team motivator, and he’s got the playoff experience to back up his postseason intensity.
“It’s the playoffs, it’s another level,” said Samuel. “Everybody’s got to know, preseason, regular season and playoffs. Playoff time, you take your game to another level, that’s just the way it’s going to be with the fans, the other team and the energy of the other stadium. So, you just have to step your A game up. Spend the extra time in the film room and on the field to get the job done.”
The intensity is obviously heightened for a big game such as Sunday’s. There is no doubt that Samuel, and his playoff experience, has been an added benefit for the Falcons. His leadership and outlook has had a resounding affect on this Falcons defense.
When asked what the defense’s mentality was going into Sunday’s game would be, Samuel responded “Hit them in the mouth and hit them hard, baby.”