The San Francisco 49ers won a very close, very stressful and way-too-damn crazy prime time matchup against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football. San Francisco won the game, 34-24, and in doing so secured their spot in the playoffs.
Atlanta was trailing by 10 points in the second half, and the 49ers defense absolutely folded. Roddy White caught way too many passes, and Tony Gonzalez ended up catching a very easy touchdown, putting the Falcons within three points. San Francisco totally forgot how to cover anybody, giving White 10 yards of cushion on every single play.
Of course, when the Falcons went to kickoff, the 49ers had NaVorro Bowman as their hands guy, and of course, the Falcons recovered the onside kick with two minutes to go and all three timeouts. The Falcons drove into the red zone, and looked to be scoring a touchdown. But Tramaine Brock tipped a Matt Ryan pass, and Bowman made up for his blunder on special teams by intercepting the ball and taking it over 80 yards for a touchdown to seal the win.
The 49ers had a poor first half, from Colin Kaepernick struggling to find his men downfield to poor play-calling, but the offense really hit its stride in the second half. Well, it hit its stride aside from Vance McDonald and Vernon Davis, who did their best to avoid catching any passes on the day. They out-played the defense by a wide margin, and the game was incredibly close for it.
But whatever. They won. If they win again in Week 17 and Seattle loses, the 49ers will have a first round bye. But for now, they're in the playoffs and that's what matters. Go 49ers.
Here's some notes I took during the game, so I can better get ya'll a recap thread right away. It's unsorted and probably negative, but that's how it is. Do what you do, dear reader.
- So let's talk about that hit Donte Whitner made. Let's talk about how he's now been flagged for helmet-to-helmet calls three times this season, and how there is absolutely no way any of them were even debatable. These calls need to be reviewable. The game is too fast for these referees. This is unacceptable.
-Vance McDonald is bad. He probably won't always be bad, but he's been bad all season. He doesn't have a good presence of mind on the field, he doesn't catch the passes thrown his way, his run blocking and pass blocking have not been great in All-22 Personnel and, to top it all off, I see him giving up on plays more and more. He's not ready for this level.
-Of course, after I type that, he springs Anquan Boldin for a touchdown. WELL FINE, MCDONALD. FINE.
- Why is it that any quarterback throwing to Michael Crabtree seems to think he's 7'0''? I wonder if Crabtree tells his quarterbacks to throw high because he feels confident in his ability to go up and get the football. I don't know.
- Kaepernick struggled to find his targets downfield early, but he didn't have much time to throw. That first drive was really bad from a protection standpoint, but I also feel Kaepernick did not do a good job keeping his eyes downfield through much of the first half.
- Did you guys see Patrick Willis miss a tackle in the first quarter? Me neither. Let's pretend it didn't happen.
- Congrats to Anquan Boldin for getting 1,000 yards on the season. I think none of us expected that kind of production from him when the 49ers made the trade. I said Boldin would be better than most thought, and even that he'd step up with Michael Crabtree injured, but he's been much better than expected, either way.
- Kassim Osgood caught a pass. What ... what's up with that?
- That 59-yard reception to Drew Davis was a bad, bad play for the 49ers. But it was a really, really good play by Matt Ryan. That was a great throw, threading the needle. But poor tackling from most.
- How bad was that play-calling on that long drive in the third quarter? The 49ers get all the way down there, then run the ball three times, including one to Kendall Hunter. 49ers were clearly playing for the field goal at that point. WE WANT TOUCHDOWNS AUUUUUUUGH
- That touchdown to Roddy White over the back of Eric Reid really hurt. Reid looked like a rookie this game, but that was the first time I saw him really get beat deep by a guy getting behind him though. I think that was the first time that happened this season.
- Do the 49ers know what press coverage is?