This was a game where the Falcons got outplayed, but because the 49ers were unable to finish, they wound up losing and the Falcons escaped with a close win. As I suspected, this was a trap game, but despite a disappointing performance, a win is a win.
Not a great offensive performance for the Falcons. The running game was so-so, and they had to settle for field goals on 2 of their 4 redzone trips, and turned the ball over in another.
Ryan didn’t grade well in this game. He started out well, but started to fade in the second half until the final drive. He played better than his earnings indicate, but a lot of poor throws in the third and fourth quarter really brought down his earnings. He didn’t make his first poor throw until a minute left in the first half. But he managed to have 7 over the course of the second half. The two interceptions and the sack he took in the third quarter also didn’t help.
On the ground, Turner and Snelling had nice games. Turner busted the big 27-yarder, and Snelling was good at converting first downs, with 4 on the day. Nice to see Ovie Mughelli get rewarded with some carries after a very good blocking performance vs. New Orleans. He was not nearly as impactful blocking vs. the 49ers.
Speaking of the blocking, while Harvey Dahl did not have a good day earning because of 3 missed blocks, I do think all three cases were instances where he was asked to pull. I think he still outplayed Justin Blalock who’s only real notable contribution was on Turner’s 27-yard run. Sam Baker turned in another mediocre day. I’ve seen it several times over the past two years, but he and Blalock don’t seem to be on the same page like Dahl and Clabo are. It seems like a regular thing when they are beat by stunts when one of them fails to switch to the free defender. Ryan was hit a lot early on, with my count of 5 hits on him in the first quarter alone. They protected him better as the game wore on as he was hit only 5 times the rest of the game, but the punishment he took early on could have contributed to his declining performance as the game wore on. I should also note that one of Dahl’s missed blocks came as the Falcons were setting up the game-winning field goal, and the same goes for Blalock, which don’t seem as grievous as they would at other times.
Roddy White came up big. All of his catches seem to be critical ones, even if they didn’t earn big money. Gonzo also made some key catches. Douglas didn’t have a great performance, but made at least three nice plays: the touchdown catch, the 34-yard gain, and the big 17-yard gain on 3rd down on the game-winning drive.
You’ll note that I credited White and Dahl with defensive money on the strip and fumble recovery. Defensively, the Falcons were pretty solid although I don’t think they performed at a level that mirrored their production on paper (7 points allowed, 262 total yards allowed). Tackling wasn’t great, although I should give the fact that most of those misses came on Vernon Davis and Frank Gore, who aren’t exactly slackers. Jonathan Babineaux had a pressure and tackle for loss wiped out because of penalties, the pressure being negated by Robinson’s pass interference. And a false start on the 49ers wiped out his tackle for loss. Stephen Nicholas had two good stuffs on Frank Gore that didn’t get him points because they weren’t behind the line of scrimmage. Jamaal Anderson, Chauncey Davis, and John Abraham each made nice stops to hold Gore to 1-yard gains from the left end position, likely indicating that the weakness of the 49ers line is at the right tackle position (Anthony Davis).
Brent Grimes got beat on a screen that was Vernon Davis’ touchdown. It was almost the exact same play that beat him vs. the Saints that set up what should have been the game-winning field goal (once again, thanks Hartley). He also got beat deep by Josh Morgan on what should have been a game-winning touchdown, but got bailed out by a pressure from Babs that messed up Smith’s timing. He did have however two nice pass breakups on third downs, so it wasn’t all bad. Dunta Robinson and Chris Owens didn’t fare much better in coverage, as both guys got beat by Michael Crabtree at least a couple of times.
William Moore had a nice game, although he missed some stops on Vernon Davis. But his hit on Alex Smith stalled a likely scoring drive for the 49ers late in the game, and his INT also was a big play for the team.
Bryant came up with another big kick at the end. I think I would credit Kroy Biermann for missing the block that caused the blocked punt. Jason Snelling also had a shot at the guy who blocked it, but at least Snelling picked up someone else that could have blocked it, while Biermann was just standing there twiddling his thumbs.
Eric Weems had a few nice returns: a kickoff for 27 yards, and a punt for 19 yards. Neither earned him dough, but as is usually the case when Weems has a good return, the Falcons either get picked (as they did with the punt return), or score (as they did with the kickoff).
I should note once again, Game Rewind managed to cut off a series from the replay. It was the series that Turner started off with the 27-yard run. I was able to get credit for that play and the sack that ultimately ended the series because of the other videos on NFL.com. But there were two runs (one each by Turner and Snelling) where they were credited with no gain, and I don’t know whether it was the result of missed blocks.
Advanced Stats from Week 4:
Poor Throws (8): Ryan
Drops (2): Douglas, Turner
Key Blocks (8): Clabo (2.5), Blalock (1), McClure (1), Finneran (1), Mughelli (1), Snelling (1), Dahl (0.5)
Sacks Allowed (2): Clabo, Turner
Missed Blocks (7): Dahl (3), Baker (2), Blalock (1), Clabo (1)
QB Pressures Allowed (2): Blalock, Dahl
Tackles for Loss (3): DeCoud, Robinson, Peterson
QB Sacks (1): Lofton
QB Pressures (5): Biermann (1.5), Babineaux (1), Walker (1), Abraham (0.5), Jerry (0.5), Peters (0.5)
Passes Defended (3): Grimes (2), Anderson (1)
Blown Coverages (3): Grimes, Robinson, Owens
Missed Tackles (4): Lofton, Peterson, Robinson, DeCoud
Key Blocked (7): Babineaux (2), Grimes, Nicholas, Peterson, Walker, Robinson