There were a lot of weird things happening in the NFL on Monday. A lot of backlash to teams like the Bears and Ravens, who both had crucial chances to clinch a playoff birth but blew it, as well as news that Tony Romo and Von Miller could be out for their respective teams in coming weeks. But what may have put all of that on pause for a bit was the 10-3 lead that the Atlanta Falcons had over the 49ers at halftime on Monday Night Football.
The Falcons came into the game at 4-10 with an overly disappointing season. The 49ers were playing for a playoff spot in the last regular season game to ever be played at Candlestick Park. But Steven Jackson didn’t care about any of that when he crushed his way for a 2-yard run into the end zone just a few minutes into the second quarter. Matt Bryant would also hit a 35-yard field goal to make it 10-3.
But while some of sports world started to say that we could be looking at an upset of epic proportions, which was the tale of many other games this weekend, the 49ers would come out in the second half and score 10 points of their own on a touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick to Anquan Boldin and a 30-yard field goal from Phil Dawson. Kaepernick would come out in the fourth and run in another touchdown, before Roddy White caught a pass from Matt Ryan to make things interesting again at 20-17 for San Francisco. Frank Gore then had a rushing touchdown, which was again matched by a Ryan to Tony Gonzalez touchdown pass.
At 27-24, the Falcons were pushing down the field and getting into field goal range to potentially send this one into overtime. That is, until NaVorro Bowman intercepted a Matt Ryan pass and took it 89-yards to the house for the touchdown with just over a minute left on the clock. The final score would be 34-24 and the 49ers would clinch their spot in the NFL Playoffs.
Though they had their chances, the Falcons loss shows just how short they came up in many games this year. As for the 49ers, they certainly didn’t want to lose this one as they get ready to play Arizona next weekend. The Cardinals already beat the Seahawks this weekend and a win over San Fran could’ve meant the 9ers missing the playoffs.
Although we still have plenty of insane possibilities that could happen next week to shape up the picture for the NFL Playoffs, the 49ers did exactly what everyone expect. And their reward will be a playoff spot and the chance to make a return trip to the Super Bowl for a second year in a row.\