Candlestick Park has had its share of crazy finishes, and it’s only fitting the final game had its own wacky ending.
Following a Tony Gonzalez touchdown with 2:14 remaining that made the score 27-24 San Francisco, Jason Snelling recovered an onside kick at the 49ers 30-yard line. The ball went right past NaVorro Bowman and Atlanta was all of a sudden in a prime position to tie or take the lead.
Three plays later though, Bowman would get his revenge. On a 2nd down and 1 from the San Francisco 10-yard line, the 49ers sent an all out blitz. Bowman was one of the players blitzing and after he was blocked the the center, he bailed out and ran towards Harry Douglas where he caught a tipped Matt Ryan pass and ran it back 89 yards for a touchdown.
Bowman’s pick-six sealed a 34-24 win, and clinched a playoff spot for the 49ers. San Francisco still has a chance at the number 1 seed in the NFC.
The 49ers got off to an inauspicious start in this game and trailed 10-3 at halftime. Those struggles continued into the 3rd quarter, but a Osi Umenyiora offsides penalty changed everything and kept the 49ers first drive of the quarter alive.
Michael Crabtree then came to life with a 47 yard, and 19-yard catches that set up the 49ers in prime scoring territory. The drive was capped off by an Anquan Boldin 10-yard reception that tied the game at 10.
San Francisco extended its lead to 20-10, and it appeared the Falcons would not be able to get back in the game. That’s when Roddy White turned back the clock to 2011 catching 3 passes for 62 yards including a 39-yard beauty from Matt Ryan to cut the deficit to 3.
A 45-yard run by Kendall Hunter on the ensuing drive, capped off by a Frank Gore 1-yard run brought San Francisco’s lead back up to 10 before craziness took over.
Colin Kaepernick played like he has all season. He completed 13 of 21 passes for 197 yards with a touchdown, and didn’t turn the ball over. The rushing attack once again carried the offense. A combination of Gore, Kaepernick, and Kendall Hunter combined for 199 yards on the ground against the NFL’s worst rush defense.
Michael Crabtree had his best game of the season catching 5 passes for 102 yards. Vernon Davis was held without a catch for the first time all season.
Matt Ryan did his best to carry the Falcons throwing for 348 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also threw 2 interceptions, something Atlanta couldn’t overcome since the team only ran for a combined 61 yards.
Roddy White had his most productive game since 2011 with 12 receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown.
The 49ers can clinch the division with a win on Sunday over the Cardinals, and a Seahawks loss to the Rams.
With the loss, the Falcons drop to 4-11. Atlanta will close out its season against the Panthers with a chance to spoil another teams hopes for a division title.