Bucs' Koetter, Smith have history vs. 49ers, Kaepernick
The Bucs have only faced 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick once, back in 2013, but head coach Dirk Koetter and defensive coordinator Mike Smith know him well -- in 2012, they were coaching in Atlanta when the Falcons got within 10 yards of a trip to the Super Bowl, only to see the 49ers go instead.
The Falcons went 13-3 in 2012, Koetter's first year as Smith's offensive coordinator in Atlanta, and they had 17-0 lead on the 49ers in the Georgia Dome in the NFC title game, only to see Kaepernick lead an impressive comeback. The Falcons still led 24-14 in the third quarter, but the 49ers took the lead with 8:23 to go on a Frank Gore touchdown. Atlanta's offense, trailing 28-24, would get painfully close to a winning touchdown -- Matt Ryan drove the Falcons to a first down at the 49ers' 16 with 2:23 left, and after a Jacquizz Rodgers run and a short pass, Atlanta was at the 10-yard line. But Ryan would miss twice on throws to Roddy White, and San Francisco went on to play in the Super Bowl, losing to the Ravens.
One more chapter in their history -- the next season, the Falcons are struggling at 4-10 and play at Candlestick Park, two days before Christmas. They're down 27-17 late, but get a touchdown with 2:09 to play to pull within a field goal, then are able to recover the onsides kick. Again, they get to the 10-yard line, well in range for a field goal to send the game to overtime, but on second down, Ryan throws a pass that was intercepted by 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman and returned 89 yards for a touchdown, giving the 49ers a 34-24 win and keeping the Falcons from getting a small revenge.