Falcons vs. 49ers: Live Grades and Analysis for San Francisco

Phil GCorrespondent IDecember 23, 2013

Dec 23, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Stephen Nicholas (54) extends for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) during the second quarter of the final regular season game at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers (11-4) defeated the Atlanta Falcons (4-11), 34-24.

In a game that was closer than many expected, the 49ers, on the strength of a spectacular fourth-quarter pick-six by NaVorro Bowman, were able secure a victory in the last regular-season game played at Candlestick Park.

With this victory, the 49ers have also punched their ticket to the postseason. This marks the third consecutive season the 49ers have made the playoffs.

The 49ers will close out the regular season against the Arizona Cardinals (10-5) at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Check below for final grades and analysis. 



Atlanta Falcons - 24

San Francisco 49ers - 34

San Francisco 49ers Grades
Position UnitFirst-Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseCB
Run OffenseCB-
Pass DefenseCB-
Run DefenseB+B+
Special TeamsBB
vs. Falcons Week 16

Game Analysis for the San Francisco 49ers

Pass Offense: Colin Kaepernick and this 49ers pass attack started off with a bang in the second half. Michael Crabtree secured his first 100-yard receiving game, and second touchdown pass since coming back from an Achilles injury.

Run Offense: Against this 29th-ranked Falcons run defense, the 49ers did just enough to eke out a victory. The offensive line for the 49ers improved in the second half, but overall, this was a poor game for the unit.

Pass Defense: Matt Ryan looked sharp tonight, though it was not enough to keep up with this 49ers offense in the second half. Falcons receiver Roddy White abused the 49ers corners, as he racked up 141 receiving yards on 12 catches.

Run Defense: The 49ers haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher all season, and tonight was no different. Steven Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers combined for 63 rushing yards on 19 attempts.

Special Teams: Can Phil Dawson get any better? The veteran kicker has been automatic since Week 5, completing 27 of his 30 attempts this season.

Coaching: The pass-run ratio was excellent once again (21-30). This is the second consecutive game that Gore has received at least 20 carries. The 49ers are 6-0 when Gore carries the ball at least 20 times.

Dec 1, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker Patrick Willis (52) and inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman (53) react after Willis recorded a sack against the St. Louis Rams in the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park. The 49ers def
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

First-half Analysis for the San Francisco 49ers

Pass Offense: Despite a sharp start to this game, the 49ers offense couldn’t get into the end zone in the first half. Colin Kaepernick was solid, but the offensive line for the 49ers was clearly outplayed by the Atlanta Falcons' front seven.

Run Offense: The pass-run ratio (11-10) was relatively even, but there’s still this feeling that the 49ers didn’t take advantage of the Falcons' 29th-ranked run defense. The 49ers' struggles on offense could be attributed to the poor play along the offensive line.

Pass Defense: With a leaky offensive line and deep-threat receiver Julio Jones out, the Falcons have become a dink-and-dunk offense. Outside of an excellent 59-yard catch-and-run by Drew Davis, Ryan hasn’t really threatened this 49ers secondary.

Run Defense: As expected, the 49ers have done a solid job of slowing down this Falcons rushing attack. The Falcons' run game ranked dead last in the league in rushing yards per game (79.3). Steven Jackson and co. combined for 43 rushing yards on 13 carries in the first half.

Special Teams: 49ers kicker Phil Dawson made his only attempt in the first half. Dawson has made 24 consecutive field goals since Week 5.

Coaching: Play-calling was mostly a non-issue in the first half, though at times, the 49ers got away from their run-first identity. Interesting decision by Jim Harbaugh in starting FB Will Tukuafu over Anthony Dixon.