The Atlanta Falcons could’ve just rolled over and given the San Francisco 49ers an easy victory in the last regular season game in Candlestick Park.
Instead, the Falcons put up a valiant fight – something that had been lacking for the majority of the season – in the 34-24 loss.
With 1:10 remaining in the game, NaVorro Bowman returned an interception 89 yards for a touchdown to secure the win for the 49ers.
Harry Douglas bobbled the pass from Matt Ryan, and Bowman plucked it out of the air to take it the distance.
After Ryan connected with Tony Gonzalez for a two-yard touchdown with 2:09 left, the Falcons (4-11) recovered the ensuing onside kick at San Francisco’s 30-yard line.
Two plays and 20 yards later, the Falcons’ attempt at a go-ahead score was squandered.
Atlanta held San Francisco (11-4) to just 113 yards in the first half. However, as has been the case for seasons now, the Falcons fell into a lull and allowed the 49ers to pile up 169 yards in the third quarter alone.
The Falcons failed to score in the third, but Colin Kaepernick hooked up with Anquan Boldin for a 10-yard touchdown pass. Phil Dawson added three more points with a 30-yard field goal that was aided with a phantom pass interference call on Falcons linebacker Paul Worrilow.
Kaepernick finished the game with 197 yards through the air on 13 of 21 passing. He passed for one touchdown and didn’t have any turnovers. He also added 51 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown.
Frank Gore had an effective night on the ground, carrying the ball 21 times for 97 yards and a one-yard touchdown to give the 49ers a 27-17 lead with 5:04 remaining in the game.
On the other side of the ball, Ryan completed 37 of 48 passes for 348 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions – the aforementioned pick six, and a Hail Mary attempt at the end of the game.
Roddy White showed he’s back to form with a 12-reception, 141-yard performance, including a 39-yard touchdown catch.
Steven Jackson rushed the ball 16 times for 53 yards and a touchdown.
In his last road game on the road, Gonzalez caught eight passes for 63 yards and a touchdown. The tight end continues to play at a high level as he heads into the final game of his illustrious career.
On Sunday, the Falcons return home to host the Carolina Panthers in the final game of the season.