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A 2010 Falcons Retrospective: Edging The 49ers

The Atlanta Falcons beat the New Orleans Saints at home in one of the most thrilling games you could possibly imagine. Perhaps it was only fitting that after leaving everything on the field the week before, the Falcons could scrape together only what they needed to pull off a narrow win.

If you're wondering, this is when the "Geez, the Falcons only win close games!" meme officially started. Unfortunately, for this one game, it was a reputation well-earned, even if it did result in the Falcons moving to 3-1.

Find my trademark laconic rundown after the jump.

This was the game where Mike Mularkey's uber-conservative playcalling really stood out. He basically asked Matt Ryan to be timid and continued to run Michael Turner even after it became clear that he had less than nothing in his legs, 27 yard run excepted.

The 49ers clamped down hard on defense and decided to roll out their trademark slow but steady offense, a move that would reward them when they scored...well, 14 points. It was almost enough to win, and you can thank the Falcons' stellar front seven for preventing them from doing more. Stopping Frank Gore ain't no joke.

So what was the result? The narrowest of wins, sealed by Matt Bryant. Here was my reaction to that kick at the time:

I'm amazed Matt Bryant could kick that winning field goal, given the size of his balls. The man should get a cart to lug those things around.

Of course, the enduring image from this game will always be a sprinting Roddy White catching up to Nate Clements and stripping an interception. They'll play that clip at his Ring of Honor induction someday.

So the Falcons rolled out of San Fran with a 3-1 record and the division lead, but no sense that they had humbled a clearly inferior team. That sense would have to wait...but not very long.

Remember this nail-biter, if you would.