Two seasons ago, the Falcons came into Levi’s Stadium and played spoiler, beating the 49ers at the goal-line with time expiring. Kyle Shanahan remembered that bad taste in his mouth and ensured no chance of that happening on Sunday.
Outside of some errant special teams’ mistakes and a few defensive penalties, the 49ers played their most complete game of the season, undressing the Falcons en route to a 31-13 victory.
San Francisco’s had big leads in other games (Detroit, Minnesota, Cincinnati) and struggled to close their opponent's door, but that wasn’t the case on Sunday.
The 49ers’ offense came out and tallied 397 yards on 56 offensive plays (7.1 yards per play). Despite running two fewer offensive plays, they out-gained the Falcons’ offense by over 100 yards.
While head coach Kyle Shanahan struggled to find his play-calling rhythm early in the season, that was not an issue during Sunday’s contest.
San Francisco was 6-of-11 on third down, 4-of-5 in the red zone, and every button that Shanahan was pushing seemed to be working.
I’ve been critical of Jimmy Garoppolo at various parts of the season, but he played some of his best football on Sunday. Garoppolo was making throws down the field, hitting his receivers in stride, and looked pretty comfortable within the pocket.
Garoppolo finished 18-of-23, 235 yards with one touchdown and a passer rating of 123.7. After the opening drive punt, the 49ers put up points on the ensuing five drives — including four touchdowns in the red zone.
This was the best-case scenario on offense for the 49ers. Running back Jeff Wilson Jr. rushed the ball for 110 yards on 21 attempts, and Garoppolo spread the ball to all of his pass-catchers.
Tight end George Kittle caught six passes for 93 yards, Deebo Samuel added 60 yards through the air, and Brandon Aiyuk caught one impactful pass that went for 36. Even Jauan Jennings found a way to contribute, adding a receiving touchdown on the goal-line.
Over his last six games, Garoppolo has a 70.2 completion percentage, averaging 8.81 yards per attempt, and has ten touchdowns to only three interceptions. He’s been a great point guard for the 49ers, distributing the ball to his playmakers and largely avoiding disastrous turnovers.
In their last ten offensive drives, the 49ers have put up 38 points (3.8 points per drive). Over the full season, the NFL leader in points per drive is the Rams at 2.83. San Francisco has been uber-efficient over their last five quarters, and they will look to extend it.
DeMeco Ryans’ defense has really come on as of late, finding creative ways to disrupt opposing offenses, but if the 49ers are going to make some noise in the playoffs, Kyle Shanahan’s offense will have to be as efficient as they were on Sunday.