Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers 12/23/13 NFL Score, Recap, News and Notes
Final Score: San Francisco 49ers 34, Atlanta Falcons 24
December 23, 2013
In the year’s final installment of “Monday Night Football,” we were treated to an NFC matchup that looked a lot more intriguing at the beginning of the year. The Falcons traveled to San Francisco to take on the 49ers, who were the only team involved that had anything left to play for (besides pride). They could wrap up a postseason berth with a victory, and still had an outside shot at moving up in the playoff standings. San Francisco accomplished their part this week; We’ll have to see about the rest.
Let’s take a closer look at the numbers and key players from the game so we can see exactly why things turned out the way they did. Afterward we’ll look forward to Week 17 to see what’s in store for both teams in the final round of games.
What Happened: In the final regular-season game at the legendary Candlestick Park, the 49ers gave their stadium a proper send-off. Things were pretty competitive from the very beginning, and we fans ended up with a good game.
San Francisco got the scoring started with a 49-yard Phil Dawson field goal, the lone points of the first quarter. The Falcons defense held strong through the second as well, and their offense responded with 10 unanswered points--a 2-yard Steven Jackson run and a 35-yard Matt Bryant field goal--to take a 10-7 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, San Francisco got things going. They found the end zone on a 10-yard pass from Colin Kaepernick to Anquan Boldin, then added another field goal to take a 13-10 edge into the fourth.
The Niners kept it going in the final period, with Kaepernick scoring on a 4-yard run that started a TD-trading quarter on both sides. Atlanta responded with a 39-yard score from Matt Ryan to Roddy White, then Frank Gore scored on a 1-yarder for San Francisco. Atlanta showed some life with a 2-yard TD pass to Tony Gonzalez, but the game effectively ended on NaVarro Bowman’s electric 89-yard interception return TD that would give the Niners a 34-24 victory and give the stadium a fitting farewell.
The 49ers move to 11-4 with the victory, clinch a playoff berth and still have an outside shot at capturing the division and the No. 1 seed in the NFC. The Falcons fall to 4-11 as their disappointing season nears its end.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
The Stars: Bowman’s pick-6 will be played on highlight films in the Bay Area for decades to come, so we’ll give him top honors here. He also had 11 tackles in the game.
The Niners were great on the ground as well, logging 199 yards on 30 carries as a team. Frank Gore alone posted 97 yards and a TD on 21 totes.
On the other side, Roddy White deserves mention with his 12 receptions, 141 yards and a TD. Steven Jackson continued his late-season resurgence with another touchdown, but could only log 53 yards.
The Goats: Including Jackson’s yardage total, the Falcons could muster just 61 yards on the ground--it’s been that way pretty much all year.
Conversely, they couldn’t stop the run, either, which is also nothing new. San Francisco racked up 11 first downs on the ground, compared to Atlanta’s two.
Injuries: Each team has a new injury concern heading into the last week of the regular season. For the Falcons, DT Corey Peters suffered an Achilles injury in the second quarter. The Niners lost Jacquizz Rodgers to a suspected concussion.
Outlook: Looking ahead to Week 17, the 49ers will finish off the regular season with a road matchup against the Cardinals (Sunday, December 29, 4:25 PM ET on FOX).
Meanwhile, the Falcons will host the Panthers in their final game of the year (Sunday, December 29, 1:00 PM ET on FOX).
For the latest article updates, follow Andrew on Twitter @SCPAndrew.