Wow. If there was ever a way to send Candlestick Park out with a bang, that was it. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Atlanta Falcons by a last minute interception for a touchdown by NaVorro Bowman. That was a finish that lived up to the stadium that it was played in. With this win, the 49ers clinch a playoff spot and stay alive for a chance to win the division and even earn the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
After a very slow first half, the 49ers offense came out of halftime running. After only kicking a field goal in the first half, the 49ers offense scored every time they touched the football in the second half. Colin Kaepernick found his groove after halftime and finished the game with 197 yards and one touchdown through the air and 51 yards and one touchdown on the ground. Kaepernick has almost instantly regained his relationship from a year ago with receiver Michael Crabtree. Crabtree finished the game with 102 yards, his first 100-yard game since coming back from an Achilles injury. Frank Gore was reliable as always, finishing the game just less than 100 yards, with 97 yards and one touchdown. Kendall Hunter got in on the action also as he busted off a big run late in the fourth quarter that led to a touchdown.
If you say you weren’t just a little nervous at the end of this game, you’d be lying. All hope seemed to be lost, but the 49ers didn’t give up. With just more than two minutes left to play the Falcons scored a touchdown to bring the score to 27-24. On the ensuing kickoff, the Falcons recovered the onside kick after the ball rolled just under NaBorro Bowman’s hands. With just more than a minute left and with the Falcons just outside the end zone, Bowman redeemed himself after he picked off a tipped pass a returned it for a touchdown. The defense struggled a little bit with Roddy White and the rest of the Falcons’ passing game, since they allowed 348 yards through the air and two touchdowns. But you can’t be too mad at them as they sealed the win at the end of the game.
The 49ers created yet another amazing memory inside of Candlestick Park. The play will live on forever with many others just like it. With this win, 49ers clinched a playoff spot for the third consecutive season and they are hoping that they can also win the division for the third straight year. They will be the world’s biggest Rams’ fans this week and will be hoping for the Rams to knock off the Seahawks at home just like the Cardinals did Sunday. But first, they have to go into Arizona and beat the red-hot Cardinals themselves before they can even think about any of that. And that’s what they’re focused on.