Need I say more? Probably not, but I will.
The game was won. You made the play. Tuck the ball with two hands and go get your team a victory. Style points mean nothing in the last minute of the game.
This just reminds me that the 49ers always play up to the great teams, yet their defense always, always, always blows it at the end of the game. Minnesota. Indianapolis. New Orleans. And now Atlanta.
But this one was their own fault. Specifically a defensive back that was having a great game, made the game changing play... and threw it all away. You HAVE to know they are going to try to strip the ball at that point in the game. Your priority is to cover the ball and get to the damn ground. Sure, get some yards, but cover the ball like it is your baby.
But even after that play, there is no excuse for the defense blowing it. But what else should we expect? Just another case of history repeating. All the talk of a great (let alone good) defense means nothing if they can't finish the game. This kind of thing happens too much to this team. I've come to expect the defense to blow it, just like I expected it today.
I don't know if they'll ever learn how to finish. It isn't looking good. I'll have a few other notes behind the jump.
Mike Johnson as OC is definitely the right move. He got the ball to the play makers and they made plays. The diversity was clearly there, and he adjusted well to what the Falcons do defensively (which Raye never did). Keep this in mind: Jimmy Raye opening drive TD's: 0 for 19. Mike Johnson: 1 for 1. Johnson did a great job of giving the players opportunities to succeed, and I liked seeing some shots downfield (the one to Morgan was better pass protection away from being a game breaking touchdown) but that brings me to...
Alex Smith. While overall he played a very good game, he made two absolutely devastating mistakes to end promising drives (lucky they only cost the team 6 points, though you could call it a 12 point swing due to 49ers in FG range). It seems to have become the theme. Play well, drive, drive, drive... whoops! Sorry. I gave the ball away again. Mike Johnson did a great job keeping Smith within what he does well, but Smith is running out of time. You can only hide his flaws for so long.. and they always seem to show themselves at the worst time. I've always rooted for the guy, but it's starting to become more clear than ever that the "it" factor just isn't something he will be able to be taught. I hope some home cooking over the next 2 weeks gives him big success, but I can't help but expect him to blow it at the end of long drives. It's like he's great for 9 out of 10 plays, but then is horrible on that 1 other play.
Everyone else seemed to play pretty well, but Clements' blunder and the defense coughing up the FG drive were what cost us this victory. I've been concerned about this defense all year, and despite 59 minutes of a great performance, they blew it like they always do. Whatever happened to that mantra? Finish.