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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — A slip of the tongue gave away Atlanta coach Mike Smith's focus.

Smith was just starting his review Monday of the Falcons' 30-28 division-round win over the Seahawks when it became clear his thoughts were on Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the 49ers.

"We knew the San Francisco Forty … excuse me, the Seattle Seahawks, were a very good football team, and they showed a lot of resiliency," Smith said, then smiled at his verbal miscue.

The win over Seattle was the first for Smith and QB Matt Ryan in four postseason games with Atlanta. There was much talk that the long-awaited first playoff win was the most important for the Falcons, allowing Ryan and other players to relax.

Smith shot down both theories.

"I don't think we'll be able to play looser," he said. "I think we've got to get back into our preparation mode. I know many people have talked about the outcome and what does it mean to the Atlanta Falcons."

The Falcons are the top seed in the NFC playoffs for the second time in three seasons. Atlanta lost at home to Green Bay as the top seed following the 2010 regular season.

Smith said Sunday was "fun" for the team and Atlanta, but that the Falcons have hit their goals.

"Our goals and our expectations are a lot higher than just winning one playoff game," he said.

READY TO GORE: San Francisco RB Frank Gore arrived for work ready to push through another tough week of game preparation and do everything he can to keep his team playing right into February.

The 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. "We're going to continue our work ethic and humility."

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

Not that anyone in the family — or on the 49ers, for that matter — is thinking too far ahead to a possible brotherly Super Bowl matchup.

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

RATINGS GAME: About 87 percent of the televisions turned on in the Seattle area at the time, and more than half of the households with TVs, watched the end of Sunday's Seahawks loss to the Falcons. Overall, the game on Fox earned a 79 percent Nielsen share (percentage of TVs on at the time) and 45.6 percent rating (percentage of all TVs) in the Seattle TV market, the Seattle Times reported.

NFC title game

49ers at Falcons, 3 Sunday, Georgia Dome, Atlanta Line: 49ers by 3½ TV: Ch. 13

Falcons not content yet 01/14/13 [Last modified: Monday, January 14, 2013 10:16pm]
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