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2010 49ers Game-by-Game Review: Week Four AT Atlanta Falcons

The first three weeks of the 49ers 2010 season was pure torture. The 49ers were outscored 62-16 in two of the games, and lost in heart breaking fashion in the other game. However, really no need to rehash those games, it is time to move forward.

San Francisco went into their week four matchup against the Falcons in Atlanta reeling from a mind numbing defeat against Kansas City, but this game would prove to be, at the very least, more interesting. It was one of those games that could come to define the season, and Mike Singltary's tenure, one way or another. Traditionally, teams that start 0-3 do not make the playoffs, but an 0-4 start pretty much means sitting at home in January. So, this was a huge games for multiple reasons.

If one game came to define the 49ers 2010 season, this would be it. Our 49ers were in desperate need of a win against a team that had claubered us 45-10 at home less than a calender year earlier. How would the 49ers respond to the firing if Jimmy Raye? Would they come to play unlike the previous week against Kansas City? Or, would it be much of the same? The answer, a little bit of all three.

Atlanta's opening drive started out real good. Matt Ryan would hit Michael Turner and Tony Gonzalez on consecutive plays, both resulting in a nice gain, and a 1st down. However, Taylor Mays, getting extended playing time early in the season, would make nice of the opportunity, tackling Michael Turner for short gains on two consecutive plays. On 3rd down Dashon Goldson would break up a pass intended for Harry Douglass forcing an Atlanta punt

Frank Gore would start the 49ers initial drive with a short rush of one yard, then Alex Smith would hit Moran Norris for 8 yards setting up a 3rd and short. San Francisco blew a time out rather than getting a delay of game penalty, but immediately following the stoppage of play, Alex Smith would hit Michael Crabtree for 14 yards and a 1st down, to the 35. After Frank Gore gained a total of 9 yards on two rushed, the 49ers were once again in a 3rd and short position. Mike Johnson, the new 49ers Offensive Coordinator, decided to open up the play book and it worked to San Francisco's benefit. Alex Smith would find Delanie Walker open to the left, but a PI call against Dunta Robinson would prevent a large gain, but also give the 49ers 34 yards. Looking back at the play, Robinson saved a TD. A couple plays later on 4th and 1, Alex Smith would run a sneak and gain a 49er 1st down. San Francisco was now driving, and on the very next play Smith would hit Vernon Davis for a 13 yard gain inside the one. San Francisco would challenge that Davis crossed the goal line. After a short review, the referee agreed and the 49ers were awarded a TD. (7-0 SF)

It could not start out any greater for the 49ers as they forced a three and out. The ensuing Falcon punt was blocked by Dominique Zeigler and recovered by Taylor Mays for a TD. Watch an amazing balance act by Mays to recover the TD here..... (14-0 SF)

Parys Haralson would sack Matty Ice on the initial place of the Falcons next drive, but 49er defensive mistakes would discount that Haralson play. Ryan would hit Michael Turner short to the right side, but after a multitude of missed tackles by 49er defenders Taylor Mays would push the Falcon RB out after a gain of 13. On the very next play, a 3rd and short, Jason Snelling would take a handoff on a sweep left Mays would miss the open field tackle behind the line, allowing Atlanta a 1st down and changing the momentum of the game. Two plays later Ryan would hit Roddy White for 20 yards on a deep right post. A couple plays later the period would end on a 4 yard pass from Matt Ryan to Tony Gonzalez, a play that should have been picked by Patrick Willis. (14-0 SF) End of 1st

After a couple plays and on 3rd down, Matt Ryan once again connected with Harry Douglass, this time for the 1st Falcon score of the game (14-7 SF)

The 49ers had an amazing drive in which their initial play was for 10 yards to Josh Morgan. False Start by Nate Byham and sack by Curtis Lofton brought up 2nd and 22. Well, Smith hit Gore on a delayed screen, forcing a punt

Taylor Mays, Shawntae Spencer, and Patrick Willis decided to take over the next drive. And, really where has this defense been? Alanta gained 30 yars on 7 plays before Spencer stepped in front of a Ryan pass to Tony Gonzalez. End rusult? Interception.

Frank Gore decides to put the ball on the ground, William Moore recovered etc... Ever see "He Hate Me" XFL style, 49ers have tha ball. Alex Smith hits Michael Crabtree for 15 (that was a nice pass), the drive ends because we are 0-4. Any other reason?

I really don't want to get into the rest of the first half, so i will say that it ends (14-10 SF)

San Francisco started the 2nd half with a nice little drive, converting on three concecutive 3rd downs, however, it was not to be. On 2nd and 9 from Atlanta's 41, William Moore would intercept Alex Smith ending the drive.

On the very next play Michael Turner would gain 27 yards to put Altnata in scoring position. Could the 49ers defense hold? Well they did, holding Atlanta to a 31 yard GB by Matt Bryant. (14-13 SF)

Both teams would go three and out to end the 3rd quarter. Not much action here (14-14 SF end of 3rd quarter)

Atlanta's next possession would being on an offsides penalty on Manny Lawson and a 1st down gain by Jason Snelling before Matt Ryan would connect with Roddy White for 15 yards, in a play that Dashon Goldson, once again, looked lost. However, Nate Clements would step up big time, tackling Michael Turner 6 yards behind the line of scrimmage on one play and Jason Snelling for a short gain on 3rd down. Atlanta would be forced to punt

In what would be a continuing theme throughout the game, the 49ers next drive was long, but didn't result in points. The 49ers decided to into a little spread offense and Alex Smith hit his groove. However, on 3rd dwon, Smith would be called for intentional grounding pretty much ending the drive a midfield.

Now this is where it gets interesting. Atlanta would take over with 1:22 on the clock. After passes from Matt Ryan of 21 and 19, Nate Clements would step in front of a Ryan pass and pick it off. The game was over if Clements would just go to the ground, but he didn't. Instead Claments decided to play the jerk of the game and try for a score. Roddy White forced a fumble and gave Atlanta a second chance. The Falcons would drive down the field and score on a game winning 43 yard FG by Matt Bryant (16-14 ATL)

Post Game Quotes from Niners Community

"You know what? I ‘m going to tell Nate when I see him this morning, just like I told him last night, you know, we're on the plane and he's sitting back there and I got back there, look at him and he puts his head down. I said, ‘Hey, I thought you did a great job. (10/4/10) Mike Singeltary on Nate Claments


Well the 49ers gave up a two TD lead and farted it away in the end with a stupid play by Nate Claments. By stupid, I mean one of the worse plays I have seen in recently history. No reason to go much further than that. I am still angry after watching the game a 2nd time

The Good: Not much good here. But, I will look at a few different segments of the game. First, the 49ers would sack Matt Ryan 3 times, and put a lot of pressure on him all game long, the front seven played darn well. And, although 5 receptions for 58 yards isn't great, Michael Crabtree took full opportunity of the six passes thrown his way.

The Negatives: Where to start? It was absolutely horrible to see Nate Clements go down the field and fumble when taking a knee would have won it. But, there were other issues. Alex Smith was out of his game the entire day and on more than one occasion ended drives with bad passes. Dashon Goldson proved he couldn't cover once again, and the LB play was pretty darn poor. The 49ers were up 14-0 and let the lead slip away

Game Changing Play: Nate Clements fumble. Not really going to go into detail more on that one. The agony was enough the first two times


Alex Smith: 21/32-188 Yards- 1 TD- 2 INT- 1 Sack (65.6 Rating)

Frank Gore: 21 Rushes- 77 Yards- 3.7 AVG- 7 Receptions- 60 Yards

Michael Crabtree: 5 Receptions- 58 Yards

Vernon Davis: 4 Receptions- 36 Yards- TD

Matt Ryan: 26/43-273 Yards- 1 TD- 2 INT- 3 Sacks (67.3 Rating)

Michael Turner : 16 Rushes- 50 Yards

Roddy White: 7 Receptions- 104 Yards


1st Downs 17 23
Passing 1st downs
10 12
Rushing 1st downs
5 9
1st downs from Penalties
2 2
3rd down efficiency
6-12 5-14
4th down efficiency
1-1 1-1
Total Plays 56 75
Total Yards 262 357
Passing 181 259
21-32 26-43
Yards per pass
5.7 6.0
Rushing 81 98
Rushing Attempts
23 29
Yards per rush
3.5 3.4
Red Zone (Made-Att) 1-1 1-4
Penalties 6-41 4-60
Turnovers 3 2
Fumbles lost
1 0
Interceptions thrown
2 2
Defensive / Special Teams TDs 1 0
Possession 30:41 29:19