It came as no surprise that the San Francisco 49ers last win at Candlestick Park in the regular season came with drama in the final minutes of the fourth quarter and this time it starred linebacker Navarro Bowman who made up for not being able to recover an onside kick moments earlier.
With the Atlanta Falcons trailing by three and getting a chance at excellent field position thanks to a roughing the passer call enforced on the kickoff Mike Smith decision an onside kick. Running back Jason Snelling made sure it succeeded keeping both fee in-bounds after the ball went under Bowman. It gave Matt Ryan excellent time to go for the win or at least run off time to kick the field goal to send the game to overtime. After completing a pass to Harry Douglas for 11 yards and Tony Gonzalez for nine yards Atlanta needed just 10 yards to take the lead.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio rarely calls for blitzes, yet did on this occasion. Rookie Eric Reid provided the pressure on Ryan, Bowman who engaged with the center went back into coverage circled around as Tramaine Brock knocked the ball away from Douglas right to Bowman for the interception returned 89 yards for the touchdown putting the 49ers up 34-24.
Interestingly enough the 49ers offense struggled in the first half scoring only three points. Colin Kaepernick after halftime came out throwing the football well though he did get aided by Osi Umenyiora lining up in the neutral zone. Michael Crabtree then came up with a 47 yard reception and three plays later found Anquan Boldin scored from 10 yards out to tie the game up at 10. After picking up a first down the Falcons drive stalled and got forced to punt.
A questionable pass interference call on Paul Worrilow led to a 30-yard field goal by Phil Dawson.Kaepernick then seemed to have put the game away with a four yard touchdown run as Atlanta struggled to get anything going offensively in the third quarter. That changed in the fourth as Ryan found Roddy White on a beautiful throw for 39 yards cutting the 49ers lead to 20-17. Still that score didn’t faze the offense of San Francisco as Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter ran down the throat of the Falcons defense with Gore capping the drive off with a one yard touchdown.
That didn’t stop Ryan from looking to White on fourth down early in the drive and he came up with the reception for the first down and then a 22 yard reception. It then became Douglas and Gonzalez making plays including the touchdown that got the Falcons within three and it also brought two flags a hold and the roughing the passer which got accepted.
This is when the drama started and seemed like the last home game might become a loss. Snelling with his incredible recovery, Bowman allowing for the ball to go through and Ryan throwing the ball accurately for the entire game. Just three plays later Bowman made sure that wasn’t going to happen.
For San Francisco:
Kaepernick finished the game completing 13 of 21 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown and ran for 51 yards on six carries and a touchdown.
Gore had 21 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown
Crabtree had his first 100 yard game since coming back from injury as he had five receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown.
Boldin registered six receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown
Patrick Willis recorded 18 tackles including 15 solo including three tackles for loss and one pass defended
Bowman recorded 11 tackles including nine solo with one tackle for loss, defended a pass and the interception returned for a touchdown
Justin Smith picked up five tackles two for loss including one sack
Ryan completed 37 of 48 passes for 348 yards, threw two touchdowns and two interceptions
Steven Jackson carried the ball 16 times for 53 yards and a touchdown
White caught 12 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown
Gonzalez caught eight passes for 63 yards and a touchdown
Stephen Nicholas recorded 11 tackles including 10 solo with two tackles for loss, one sack and defended a pass
Joplo Bartu registered 11 tackles with 10 solo and one tackle for loss
Notes for the last game at Candlestick:
Brock recorded the last interception in the regular season
Bowman will have the last touchdown scored for the 49ers
Gore will have the last touchdown scored by an offensive player
Gonzalez will have the last touchdown scored by an opponent
Ryan will have recorded the last opposing quarterback to throw a touchdown and interception