The 49ers have everything to play for and the Falcons have nothing to play for. But you wouldn’t know it from watching the start of this game.
Atlanta jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the second quarter on a Steven Jackson touchdown run, showing that the Falcons aren’t going down without a fight. The drive was set up by a huge play on third-and-long, when Matt Ryan felt the pocket collapse, stepped up and fired a pass to receiver Drew Davis, who raced down the field all the way to the 5-yard line for a 59-yard gain.
The touchdown was preceded by San Francisco safety Donte Whitner getting flagged for a hit on a defenseless receiver (Jackson), even though Whitner appeared to turn and lead with his shoulder. Whitner then got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for arguing the call.
The 49ers had one solid drive offensively, resulting in a Phil Dawson 49-yard field goal, but for the most part the Falcons’ defense has held San Francisco’s offense in check. You wouldn’t know from watching this game that the 49ers have one of the best records in the NFL, and the Falcons have one of the worst.