After a loose goalpost delay, the Atlanta Falcons got off to a quick start against the San Francisco 49ers and lead at halftime.
Don’t let the score fool you, the Atlanta Falcons are well in control.
Wearing uniforms that (partially) throwback to 1966, the Dirty Birds wasted little time drawing first blood. After the 49ers went 3-and-out on the game’s opening drive, Eric Weems returned a punt 42-yards to put Atlanta’s scoring in motion. The Falcons needed all of 6 plays to get Devonta Freeman into the end zone; taking the early lead.
The Falcons capitalized on the turnover as Matt Ryan connected with Taylor Gabriel in the back of the end zone.
Freeman ripped off 6-8 yards per carry as the Falcons completely dominated the 49ers’ defensive front. Things only got worse for the San Francisco as Carlos Hyde fumbled away the ball on their second possession. The Falcons capitalized on the turnover as Matt Ryan connected with Taylor Gabriel in the back of the end zone.
Another 3-and-out for San Francisco led to the Falcons’ 3rd consecutive scoring drive in which Austin Hooper made a highlight catch on 3rd and 9. The Falcons closed the 1st quarter up 21-0.
11 of Atlanta’s 20 plays were gains of 8 yards or more.
Matt Ryan has picked up where the Falcons’ passing game left off in Week 14. Atlanta’s receivers are making big plays by exploiting big holes in the San Francisco zone coverage. Perhaps the biggest play of the half was Aldrick Robinson’s 59-yard catch and go.
San Francisco captured their first, 1st down as the 1st quarter came to a close. They did manage to exploit the Atlanta secondary a bit in the 2nd quarter, getting on the board with a touchdown pass to Garret Celek. Devonta Freeman fumbled the ball inside the 1-yard line on Atlanta’s ensuing drive.
The momentum gained by San Francisco was lost when Vic Beasley sacked Colin Kaepernick on a 3rd-and-long play.
The 49ers have managed to stay alive, scoring a late-touchdown toward the half. Atlanta’s offense is moving the ball at will, but the defense is keeping San Francisco in the game. It will be interesting to see how Dan Quinn adjusts to what Chip Kelly is trying to do along the hashes. Kaepernick’s mobility has resulted in some big plays over the middle of the field.
As expected, Kaepernick took the field to a chorus of “boos” from the Georgia Dome crowd. The 49ers were forced to move Vinnie Sunseri from safety to linebacker after Nick Bellore left the game. San Francisco also lost receiver Quinton Patton and tight end Blake Bell to injuries.