The San Francisco 49ers have the best record in the NFC and the Falcons are potentially in-line for a top-5 draft pick. That said, Atlanta has had moments of brilliance this season, so it is possible they pull off the big upset. Did they do it? Let’s see how things played out.
Starting on their own 25, the Falcons offense starts the game with an ineffective run up the middle by Devonta Freeman. A quick screen to Kenjon Barner sets up 3rd and 5. On third down, Ryan looks for Julio who slips and falls. The 49ers are called for holding, giving Atlanta the first down. After another ineffective run by Devonta, he manages to pick up 6 to setup 3rd and 4. Matt Ryan can’t connect with Austin Hooper and Atlanta has to punt.
Starting from their 20, the 49ers start a run by Tevin Coleman for 2 yards. On 2nd and 8, Vic Beasley busts through for his 7th sack of the year, setting up 3rd and 15. Jimmy Garoppolo misses the quick out to Coleman and the 49ers are forced to punt.
To start their second drive, Matt Ryan connects with Russell Gage for 11 yards and the first down. After a holding call on Austin Hooper sets up 1st and 20, Matt Ryan scrambles for 7 yards. On 2nd and 14, Ryan targets Julio Jones, but the ball bounces out of his hands. On 3rd down, Ryan can’t connect with Julio and Atlanta has to punt.
After a toss to Raheem Mostert goes for 4 yards, Emmanuel Sanders catches a short pass to setup 3rd and 1. After Mostert easily picks up the first down, he runs again to setup 2nd and 2. Matt Breida keeps the running game going, picking up 5 and the first down. Deebo Samuel gets a run on the end around and sets up 2nd and 2. After the fullback Kyle Juszczyk picks up the first down, and the first down pass doesn’t connect, on 2nd and 10 the 49ers finally connect with George Kittle to setup 3rd and 3. Mostert can’t quite pick up the first down, so on 4th and 1, Garoppolo connects with Kittle for the easy conversion. After an ineffective run and a penalty, the 49ers end up in 2nd and 19. Blidi Wreh-Wilson nearly intercepts Jimmy G to setup 3rd and 19. The Falcons appear to get the sack, but are called for roughing the passer - gifting them the first down. The 49ers go into the second quarter having setup 3rd and 1 after another reception by Kittle.
Falcons 0, 49ers 0
Jimmy G converts the first down to start the second quarter. An incomplete pass to Kittle on 1st down is offset by a good run by Mostert to setup 3rd and 4. George Kittle converts the 3rd down yet again to setup 1st and goal from the 2. The drive finally ends as Mostert punches it in.
Falcons 0, 49ers 7
A nice return by Kenjon Barner sets up the offense on their 30. They start with a 6 yard run by Russell Gage. It’s set back by a false start on Jake Matthews on the next play. After a Devonta Freeman run sets up 3rd and 4, Ryan finds Julio Jones for a fantastic catch down the sideline for 28 yards, which is upheld after the challenge by Kyle Shanahan. After a penalty on the 49ers, Ryan connects with Julio for 9 yards to setup 2nd and 1. After a run for a one yard loss by Freeman, Ryan finds Austin Hooper for 5 yards and the first down. A tight end screen to Hooper picks up 6 yards and after a run for 1 yard by Freeman, Ryan finds Julio on 3rd and 3 to keep the drive alive and setup 1st and goal from the 5. Like clockwork, Ryan connects with Julio again, this time for the touchdown.
Falcons 7, 49ers 7
Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers respond with a pitch to Breida for 5 yards. A terrible pass by Jimmy G sets up 3rd and 5, and the Falcons defense amazingly gets the stop to force another punt.
The Falcons drive starts with a nice gain by Luke Stocker for 8 yards. Brian Hill follows that up with a nice run for nearly 20 yards to pick up the first down. After Ryan picks up 4 on the ground, he decides to find Julio again for 6 yards and the first. After a holding call on Christian Blake sets up 1st and 18, Freeman gets a nice run for an 11 yard gain. On 2nd and 7, Ryan targets Julio but is clearly held. Dan Quinn challenges it but loses. On 3rd and 7, Ryan is pressured into a throw that doesn’t get there. The Falcons attempt the 43 yard field goal and punch it in.
Falcons 10, 49ers 7
After a false start sets up 1st and 15 and Jimmy G sails his first pass, Tevin Coleman explodes for a 37 yard gain and he puts San Francisco in Atlanta territory. After the two minute warning, Jimmy G comes back and connects with George Kittle for a big gain of 20 yards. Kittle gets it again for another 14 yards to setup 1st and goal. After plays for almost no gain by Kittle and Coleman, on 3rd and goal Blidi Wreh-Wilson breaks up the pass in the end zone to force the fourth down. San Francisco opts for the 22 yard field goal, which they easily make. That effectively takes us to the half.
Falcons 10, 49ers 10
The Falcons start with an onside kick to start the second half, but it is called back for an illegal formation penalty on the Falcons. Atlanta decides to kick it off for real, and the 49ers return it to the 32. George Kittle starts the drive by destroying the Falcons again for 11 yards and the first down. After a Jimmy G scramble and a Coleman run sets up 3rd and 5, Blidi Wreh-Wilson shows up again with another pass breakup to force the fourth down and punt.
The Falcons start on their own 8 with a nice run by Freeman for 8 yards. After he picks up the first on the subsequent run, the Falcons are called for delay of game after the play clock is not reset. Ryan is then sacked to setup 2nd and 22. A quick pass to Freeman and a missed pass to Gage sets up the punt on 4th and 19.
The 49ers drive starts with Grady Jarrett getting the sack, but being flagged for roughing the passer - a terrible call by the way. Mostert follows up the garbage flag two runs to setup another first down. Grady Jarrett retaliates by tackling Mostert for a 6 yard loss. After George Kittle picks up 10 and the 49ers are called for a false start, on 3rd and 11 the Falcons defense gets another big stop when Kittle is tackled short of the sticks. San Francisco punches in the 46 yard field goal to take the lead.
Falcons 10, 49ers 13
The Falcons offense starts with a 5 yard gain on a screen to Julio. After an illegal block in the back penalty and a sack of Matt Ryan by Nick Bosa, on 3rd and 17 Ryan scrambles up the middle for not. They are forced to punt.
The 49ers start with a big 21 yard gain to George Kittle. After Matt Breida is tackled for a 2 yard loss, Garoppolo finds Kittle for another first down. On the next play, Matt Breida fumbles the ball and the De’Vondre Campbell recovers it. Atlanta’s offense takes over.
After Ryan can’t connect with Julio on first down, he immediately finds him for a 14 yard gain and the first down. That play takes us to the fourth quarter.
Falcons 10, 49ers 13
After another holding penalty sets up 1st and 18, Julio can’t catch an easy pass over the middle. After Devonta is tackled for no gain on 2nd and 18, on 3rd and 18 Ryan should have been picked off by Fred Warner. Falcons punt.
After a Mostert run for 4 yards and a drop by Deebo Samuel on 2nd down, on 3rd and 6 Jimmy G connects with Kendrick Bourne for the first down. A short pass to Mostert and a run by him sets up 3rd and 3. The Falcons defense pressures Garoppolo and forces the punt. Kenjon Barner fumbles on the return, though, and the 49ers recover on the 2 yard line. Kyle Juszycyk gets the touchdown pass to put the 49ers ahead. San Francisco misses the extra point.
Falcons 10, 49ers 19
A tight end screen to Austin Hooper goes for 9 yards to setup 2nd and 1. After a WR screen to Gage loses 3 yards on 3rd and 4, Ryan finds Julio Jones for 4 yards and the first down. After an encroachment penalty sets up 1st and 5, Julio is tackled for no gain on the bubble screen. After Ryan can’t connect with Julio on 2nd and 5, he finds him on 3rd down for 8 yards and the first down. After Freeman gains 3 on the ground, Russell Gage takes a quick reception for 8 yards and the first. Ryan looks for Julio again in the end zone, and he finally gets a PI call. Qadree Ollison takes the handoff for the 1 yard touchdown to finish the drive.
Falcons 17, 49ers 19
After a short pass to setup 2nd and 6, Mostert carries it for 8 yards and the first down. After an overthrow to Emmanuel Sanders on first down, Garoppolo connects with Sanders for the quick pass and the big 20 yard gain for the first down. A short run and a short pass sets up 3rd and 4 at the two minute warning. After Kittle can’t convert, the 49ers punch in the 43 yard field goal to extend their league.
Falcons 17, 49ers 22
A Kenjon Barner return sets the Falcons offense up on their own 30. After an incomplete pass on first down, Ryan connects with Freeman for 12 yards and the first down. Ryan then finds Russell Gage for 8 yards. Ryan then finds Julio for a big gain that takes the Falcons inside the 49ers 25 yard line. After Ryan scrambles for 9, on 2nd and 1 Ryan can’t connect with Hooper in the end zone. On 3rd and 1, Ryan finds Julio at the 5 yard line to set up 1st and goal. After a throw away on first down with 8 seconds left, Matt Ryan finds Austin Hooper for what looks like a touchdown, but it is overturned on review. On 3rd and goal with 4 seconds left, Ryan connects with Julio and it is not ruled a touchdown initially. but on review the call is corrected and the Falcons win!
Olamide Zaccheaus adds on an inexplicable touchdown at the end to run up the score.
Final: Falcons 29, 49ers 19