49ers Dominate Falcons


December football is about who can run the ball and dominate on defense on a consistent basis. While the season is winding down, teams need to be winding up in preparation for the playoffs. That is exactly what the San Francisco 49ers are doing. They have been hit with the injury bug. They are without two starting corners, a starting defensive end and two starting linebackers. Despite that, they find a way to win. On Sunday, they found a way to dominate.

The Niners started the game poorly. JaMycal Hasty fumbled away the kickoff return on the Niners own 12 yard line. The Falcons should have popped in a go ahead score. They didn’t. The 49er defense shut down the Falcons offense, even on a fourth and goal to go. The stellar play of the Niners defense in the opening minutes of the first quarter was a harbinger of things to come for the hapless Falcons offense.

The 49ers pass rush was withering. Matt Ryan was harassed the whole game. Nick Bosa was among three Niners that brought him down. At the beginning of the third quarter, Bosa collected his 15th sack of the season while forcing a fumble which was quickly converted to a touchdown by Jeff Wilson three plays later. Arden Key would have had two sacks had the referees decided to not over officiate with soft roughing the passer calls. Key sacked Ryan on a key 3rd and 8 play that would have stopped the Falcon drive. He fell off his lineman and lunged at Ryan. There was no other way to complete the play unless he just let Ryan do his thing. The hit was not malicious or with an abundance of violence. Still, the ref’s called roughing the passer, and the Falcons scored a few plays later bringing them even with the Niners at 10-10 in the 2nd quarter. When Ryan wasn’t running for his life, he was rushing his throws. Still, the former MVP managed to hit six receivers for 213 yards and a touchdown.

The 49ers defensive play was one of the major keys to their success. They had three defensive stands inside their own ten-yard line, two which were goal line stands wherein the defense stopped the Falcons on 4th and goal. The Niners forced them to punt twice and recovered a forced fumble. They only allowed a touchdown and two field goals the whole game. Importantly, they only allowed one field goal in the 2nd half.

The other major key to the Niners success was consistent execution on offense. The Niners rushed the ball well in Elijah Mitchell’s absence. Jeff Wilson returned to 2020 form rushing 21 times for 110 yards and a touchdown, while Deebo spiced up the run game for 29 yards and a touchdown on six carries.


Jimmy Garoppolo was very efficient. He did not put the ball in jeopardy. He did not force throws. He took what was available which included hitting George Kittle six times for 93 yards. The 49ers drafted George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and Juan Jennings. All four were key components in the pass game on Sunday. Jennings caught Jimmy G’s loan touchdown pass of the day and his remaining two catches were for first downs. The offense was run heavy but 18 connections out of 24 pass plays is quite efficient. Jimmy G is throwing the ball well as a compliment to the 49ers dynamic run game. Thankfully he has playmakers to throw the ball to. All four receivers bring attitude and physicality to their game. Deebo knocked A.J. Terrell’s mouth-piece out late in the third as he caught a pass and rumbled into the Falcons red-zone. Kittle will battle multiple defenders at a time. All four receivers complement each other. They block for each other when one catches the ball and they are not afraid to block for the run game either. The Niners parameter skill position players are finally set with Deebo, Aiyuk, Jennings and most importantly Kittle.

The Niners are hitting their stride at the right time in the season. They are playing crisp efficient football. They are finding a way to navigate thru difficult injuries. The 49ers are a team that no one wants to meet in the playoffs. They have five touchdown drives of 90 yards or more this season. That is the most in the NFL. Just because they are backed up against their own endzone doesn’t mean they are scared. They believe in their coach. They believe in themselves. That belief will likely carry them all the way to the playoffs and beyond.

The Niners are 8-6. They have a short week as they head to Nashville to battle the beleaguered Titans on Thursday Night Football.

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