San Francisco 49ers: The Good and The Bad From Win vs. Falcons

Dec 23, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers cornerback Tramaine Brock (26) prevents the pass intended for Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas (83) during the fourth quarter of the final regular season game at Candlestick Park. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

What a game. Last night, the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Atlanta Falcons in an exciting game. Everyone loves an exciting game, right? Most of the time the answer is yes. But when you’re supposed to be a top five team in the NFL and you’re on the verge of losing to a bottom 10 team, then it’s not so fun. The 49ers struggled a bit this game, but the important thing is that they won the final game at Candlestick and clinched a playoff spot for the third straight year.

THE GOOD

After struggling to get anything going on offense in the first half, the second-half offense played great. I’m not sure what adjustments they made at halftime, but they came out of the half with a bang. After only scoring three points in the entire first half, the offense scored every single time they touched the ball in the second half. They made it look easy after halftime. On their final touchdown drive, they did not pass the pall once. They ran the entire length of the field and put seven points on the board. Hopefully they can continue their efficiency in the postseason.

It appears that the spark between Colin Kaepernick and Michael Crabtree is back. Crabtree earned his first 100-yard game after coming back early in December. Ever since his return, the offense has been much more efficient and deadly. Kaepernick has gained back his confidence he seemed to have lost early in the season now that his favorite receiver is back on the field. Now, Kaepernick doesn’t look as rattled as he used to when he drops back to pass. He is passing and running with confidence. He recorded his first rushing touchdown since week eight against the Jaguars. The entire offense seems to finally be clicking.

THE BAD

Under Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers have shown that two tight end sets are important in the offense. Because of their importance, when the tight ends struggle, the offense struggles. Both Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald had tough games last night. Davis dropped once pass and stepped out of bounds on a pass he would usually catch. Reports say that he was poked in the eye, so that might have been a big part of why he struggled. Nonetheless, he looked bad out there. But luckily for Davis, he wasn’t alone in struggling. Vance McDonald had trouble in the passing game again, just like he has all season. Whether it was tripping over himself on a wide open corner route or just straight up dropping passes, McDonald wasn’t looking so hot. The 49ers drafted McDonald in the second round to replace Delanie Walker who left for the Tennessee Titans in the off-season, and McDonald hasn’t lived up to his draft pick. McDonald has potential and he’s a rookie so he gets a pass, but the 49ers are hoping for better play out of him in the future.

It seemed early in the game that the 49ers expected the Falcons to just lie down for them and let them win. That wasn’t the case at all. The Falcons played a great game and took the 49ers all the way to the brink of losing. Both sides of the ball struggled at different times. The offense struggled in the first half, and the defense struggled in the 4th quarter. The offense finally got it together in the second half, but the defense didn’t seem to get the memo. The 49ers’ defense let the Falcons offense move the ball against them through the air at will. The usual stout pass defense was shredded by Roddy White and Matt Ryan. They came through at the end of the game, but they need to play better if they want to go far into the playoffs.

HONORABLE MENTION

I didn’t know where to put him, so I’ll put him in both. NaVorro Bowman went from goat to hero in less than a minute. After letting the ball roll past him Bill Buckner-style, a lot of people lost hope. The Falcons had the ball deep in 49ers’ territory and had two minutes and three timeouts to score the go-ahead touchdown. But Bowman and the defense didn’t give up. On an all-out blitz, the 49ers forced a quick pass that was bobbled by Tramaine Brock and Harry Douglas and then eventually landed in Bowman’s lap. Bowman then proceeded to be escorted by the rest of the defense for the game-winning touchdown.

The 49ers have a five-game winning streak and are hoping to ride the momentum from this game into the playoffs and continue that streak all the way to the Super Bowl and beyond. They travel to Arizona this week to hopefully play for a first round bye in the playoffs.

Topics: San Francisco 49ers

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  • Isbonifacio

    Kaepernick started out cold and stiff again and had trouble with his accuracy in the first half. I’m not sure what his problem is whether it’s physical or mental but even the few passes he completed required acrobatic adjustments from his receivers. Then he came out more relaxed in the 2nd half, looked much more accurate and made key completions.