With only three games left in the regular season, the Falcons came into this game off the royal beatdown they gave the Rams in week 14. With Tampa Bay riding a hot streak, they needed to win to keep a lead in the NFC South. Luckily for them, they faced a poor 49ers team who had a 12 game losing streak. If the Falcons were going to win they would need to do it without key players as both Julio Jones and cornerback Jalen Collins were out.
From start to finish, the Falcons dominated the 49ers, putting up 550 yards of total offense in a game that really was never in doubt. Matt Ryan had a solid game with 286 yards and three touchdowns on 17-23 through the air. The game truly was dominated on the ground from the Falcons. Devonta Freeman was the star with 139 yards and two touchdowns on 20 rushing attempts, even though he fumbled on the goal line. While there were many positives for the Falcons, here are three main talking points from the 41-13 win.
Devonta Freeman Dominates
Devonta Freeman was coming off a bad game against the Rams, which he could only muster 6 yards on six rushing attempts. In the game against the 49ers, Freeman came out with a different sense of purpose. He dominated the 49ers defense with 139 yards on twenty rushing attempts with three touchdowns. Freeman’s most impressive run was his second touchdown, which saw him break through multiple tackles as well as a facemask. The run had even more meaning as it came after Freeman fumbled on the 1-yard line, giving the 49ers one of the few chances they had all game.
Falcons Get First Winning Season Since 2012
The Falcons have had a lot of change since their last winning season. They fired their winningest coach, Mike Smith after a 6-9 season in 2014. They have brought in Dan Quinn who has injected a swagger into the Dirty Birds. They’ve gotten tougher, quicker, and smarter while injecting youth into the Falcons lineup on both sides of the ball. While they had a solid first year under Quinn, their second half slump last year ruined their playoff chances. With pressure on the team not to do the same this season, they have transformed into one of the best teams in the NFL. There is no doubt that Quinn’s influence has been felt on the Falcons.
The last time the 49ers played in Atlanta, they won the NFC Championship 28-24. Ever since that moment, they have been in constant freefall. They sit at 1-13 and may be the worst team in the NFL. Their season has been shrouded in controversy with the uproar surrounding Colin Kaepernicks national anthem protests. Things haven’t gotten better on a team plagued with injuries on both sides of the ball. The real question going forward for 49ers is how long Chip Kelley will keep his job.
The Falcons head to Charlotte to play the Panthers with the Division title on the line.