San Francisco 49ers

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The 49ers Allowed Themselves to Become the Prey of the Lowly Atlanta Falcons

ESPN Radio
December 17, 2019 - 10:00 am
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By Charlie O. Mallonee @Charlieo1320

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This story was supposed to read that on Sunday the San Francisco 49ers ran over the disintegrating Atlanta Falcons who continued to implode while they are searching for their next head coach. In the meantime, the 49ers clinched a berth in the playoffs and hold the premiere position over the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West. That is how the story was supposed to read.

Instead the story reads – the Atlanta Falcons pulled off a major upset beating the San Francisco 49ers on a last-second touchdown that required “a further review” from NFL headquarters” in New York. The review confirmed what we all knew – Julio Jones indeed broke the plane of the goal line with just two seconds remaining in the game to give Atlanta a 23-22 lead and ultimately the 29-22 victory.

Find us a better reaction to the touchdown. We’ll wait --

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Where was the intensity?

This 49ers team has been known for its intensity – especially on defense. It was apparent from the beginning of the contest that the Niners were not really “hyped up” about the Falcons.

The 49ers defense allowed the Falcons to rack up 290 yards of total offense and score three TD’s on offense. The San Francisco special teams fell apart on the final kick off return by fumbling and allowing Atlanta to score one more time.

Are they tired? Remember – their bye week was way back on Week 4 (September 30th) – the first week of the byes. The Niners are coming off three weeks of intense games versus the Packers, Ravens and Saints which would make the Falcons look like a walkover game to any team. Whatever the cause, the Niners were not themselves on Sunday against Atlanta.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan did not think there was a letdown by his team: “No, there wasn’t today. I think that team played better than us today. I didn’t see our guys not playing hard. I think our guys played hard but they played better and coached better.”

The 49ers did clinch a playoff spot

San Francisco did clinch a spot in the NFL Playoffs because the Los Angeles Rams lost to the Dallas Cowboys. The Niners have now secured a Wild Card slot, but the Seattle Seahawks have the upper hand because they have the projected first seed over the 49ers. It may well come down to the outcome of the final game of the season when the Niners face the Seahawks in Seattle on December 29. If the Seahawks win, the win the division. If the 49ers win, they could be the division winners. It is NFL drama at its highest.

In the most hated words fans hear at this time of year – if the season ended today, the 49ers would have to travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys in the Wild Card Game.

Kyle Shanahan says that getting into the playoffs is not enough: “No. We’re not looking for encouragement to tell you the truth. We’ve got a pretty good record and we feel good about where we’re at and that is cool we’re in the playoffs because that was our goal to get in that tournament. Now that we’re in it, now we want the best situation possible in that tournament and all we can do for that is win these next two games, So, I think when you get to this point of the year and where we’re at and what we’ve done, we’re encouraged by one thing right now and that’s winning. That’s what it’s going to be the rest of this year.”

George Kittle on the loss

George Kittle said they aren’t looking for encouragement after the loss on Sunday:” No. We’re not looking for encouragement to tell you the truth. We’ve got a pretty good record and we feel good about where we’re at and that is cool we’re in the playoffs because that was our goal to get in that tournament. Now that we’re in it, now we want the best situation possible in that tournament and all we can do for that is win these next two games, So, I think when you get to this point of the year and where we’re at and what we’ve done, we’re encouraged by one thing right now and that’s winning. That’s what it’s going to be the rest of this year.”

Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn on the game

“That was awesome. At the end, game on the line, those are the moments as a coach that you totally live for. It makes you feel most alive, it was awesome. We knew we would have to have a good road mentality to come out here. The last couple times on the road, we had one in New Orleans, at Carolina and here. You’ve got to really be connected and make sure you’re ready for a fight. We knew this was a very good team, talented spots in a number of spaces. We knew it was going to be a game where it was going to come down to it. I was really proud of the guys, down 19-10 in the fourth quarter, to make sure it was going to take every second of this game to go finish it out. There were all sorts of plays made back and forth. When you saw [Atlanta Falcons WR> Julio [Jones> and the game that he had and their tight end [San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle> was a difficult guy to deal with as well. Both those guys, it was a blood and guts kind of day for all sides and it was a hell of a fight. But, to have a comeback win on the road I thought it showed a lot of toughness about the men in the locker room, what they stand for, the group ,,,”

Up next

The 49ers have a short week as they will host the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday night at Levi’s Stadium. You can listen to the game right here on ESPN 1320 beginning with the pregame show at 4:15 PM.

The Falcons will host the Jaguars on Sunday in Atlanta.

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