Atlanta Falcons: Top 20 games in franchise history

8 of 21

14) – Falcons 34, 49ers 17: September 18, 1988

Nov 30, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; A general view of the stadium during the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Arizona Cardinals during the first quarter at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Never give up

In 1988 when Atlanta was in the western part of the United States, the Falcons took on the defending Super Bowl champions in the San Francisco 49ers. The Joe Montana-led 49ers were heavy favorites, and it appeared as if they would steamroll the lowly Falcons.

The old adage of “bend but don’t break” was evident in this game, as the 49ers outgained Atlanta in total yardage. But they failed to cash in on the opportunities of being in the plus territory, as Broadway Joe Montana struggled to make those pivotal, hall of fame type throws that accompanied his illustrious career.

But for the Falcons, this was a day where the schoolyard bully met his match, and it was a defining victory from a team that had been pushed around for years by the 49ers. And it paid off to have the best running back in Falcons’ history carrying the weight of the team on their shoulders, as Gerald Riggs continued to bowl over would be tacklers the entire game.

This game was not merely a sign that the Falcons had been picked on enough, but it was a pivotal game in this rivalry that still underlies the matchups today.

Next: No. 13