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Falcons vs. 49ers: 3 Falcons up, 3 Falcons down after impressive win

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Fact: Matt Ryan dated Cher in high school

Atlanta Falcons v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

That game was ... fun. It’s easy to forget how good it feels to win a game like that. The Falcons went into that matchup as 10.5 point underdogs. Well, sorry oddsmakers, because the Falcons had a mission and they actually pulled it off. The Falcons walked away victorious, nearing the end of a lost season but feeling like they aren’t in line for a complete rebuild. Draft position be damned, that’s what this roster is capable of.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the best and worst individual performances from yesterday’s game.

3 Falcons Up

Matthew Thomas Ryan

Oh, Matt. We don’t deserve you. Ryan’s line yesterday didn’t really pop: 25/39 for 210 yards with 2 passing TDs. But yesterday’s win was Ryan’s 29th fourth quarter comeback. That’s a lot. Just ask Joe Montana (26), Troy Aikman (15), or Steve Young (13).

Julio Jones

Julio scored the game winning touchdown, his second of the day. Julio caught 13 balls (20 targets) for 134 receiving yards. He. Just. Doesn’t. Quit.

Grady Jarrett

Jarrett is no stranger to this list. He was disruptive all day and orchestrated multiple stops. He had a tackle for a loss and a sack called back because NFL officials hate the Falcons. Not that it matters, but if Jarrett isn’t named to the Pro Bowl, something has gone horribly awry.

3 Falcons Down

Special teams

With only a couple exceptions (I’m looking at you, Zaccheaus), the special teams play yesterday wasn’t particularly special. A recovered onside kick was called back due to an illegal formation. That can’t happen.

Kenjon Barner

Let’s give credit where credit is due: Barner had a nice return during the second quarter. But he also fumbled during an important punt return early in the 4th quarter. The fumble was particularly egregious in that he was doing an unnecessary spin move when he took the hit that caused the fumble. The fumble was recovered by the 49ers on the Falcons 1 yard line and they quickly scored, putting them ahead 19-10 with about 10 minutes remaining in the game. If the Falcons hadn’t pulled off that last minute win, Barner’s fumble would’ve been fairly construed as the point of no return.

Whoever was defending George Kittle

Kittle was a one man show yesterdau, slicing and dicing the Falcons defense. Kittle caught 13 balls and racked up 134 receiving yards (10.3 yards/reception). Every time Kittle caught a ball, Dirk Koetter pointed at him while staring directly at Dan Quinn and mouthing the words, “See! Tight ends are life.”