Bowman interception return for TD seals 49ers win in Candlestick farewell

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The San Francisco 49ers gave Candlestick Park a victorious regular season farewell and kept hope alive for a possible return encounter in the postseason.

And NaVorro Bowman quickly went from goat to hero in order to seal the win.

Bowman intercepted Matt Ryan and returned it for an 89-yard touchdown to seal a 34-24 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night. The play came three plays after the Falcons recovered an onside kick that dipped under Bowman’s hands and was recovered by Jason Snelling to keep hope alive for a miracle rally for Atlanta.

Ryan connected with Harry Douglas for 11 and Tony Gonzalez for nine more to move to the 49ers 10-yard line before Bowman sealed the deal.

After a slow first half offensive for the 49ers, San Francisco scored on all four of their possessions in the second half to rally from a 10-3 halftime deficit. The win keeps alive hopes of winning the NFC West for the 49ers and the potential for at least one more game at Candlestick.

The 49ers need to win next week against the Arizona Cardinals and hope for a second straight home loss by the Seattle Seahawks against the St. Louis Rams to win the division.

Colin Kaepernick threw for 197 yards and a touchdown and ran for another.

Kaepernick scored on a 4-yard touchdown run to give the 49ers a 20-10 lead early in the fourth quarter. San Francisco had completely dominated the half up to that point. They had scored 17 unanswered points in the half to take the lead and the 49ers’ defense had held Atlanta to just seven offensive plays on their first two possessions of the half.

But the Falcons weren’t ready to roll over just yet. Matt Ryan led Atlanta on a seven-play, 69-yard scoring drive to keep within reach of San Francisco. Ryan connected with Roddy White for a pair of third down conversions before hitting White for a 39-yard touchdown behind the 49ers’ defense.

White caught 12 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown for the Falcons on the night.

The touchdown cut the 49ers lead to 20-17. The Falcons defense couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain. Kendall Hunter broke free for 45 yards down to the Atlanta 2-yard line. Frank Gore scored from a yard out two plays later to extend the lead to 27-17.

But Atlanta wouldn’t quit. Ryan led the Falcons 61 yards on nine plays and hit Tony Gonzalez for a 2-yard touchdown pass to once again close the deficit to just three with 2:14 left to play. A roughing the passer penalty by Ahmad Brooks against Ryan moved the kickoff to midfield and gave the green light for Atlanta to attempt an onside kick.

The onside try by Matt Bosher dipped under Bowman’s hands and was one-handed by Snelling along the sideline to give the ball back to the Falcons.

56 responses to “Bowman interception return for TD seals 49ers win in Candlestick farewell

  1. Thanks Atlanta for making this a good game to watch. Congrats to SF for winning; you were the better team. Next week should be fun.

  2. The 49ers weren’t all that impressive tonight and if you’re a 49er fan, you’re probably feeling fortunate to have won that game with the way it was going.

    As a Seahawks fan though, I don’t see us losing again at home against the Rams. Not saying it’s going to be easy but I think the Seahawks will beat the Rams.

    Enjoy the wildcard berth 49ers. We’ll be seeing you again in the playoffs at some point. Can’t wait!

  3. Ryan completely shredded up the niners def! Can’t wait for a healthy falcons team next year. People don’t understand that Jackson, Julio, roddy and gonzo have not played one game together this year. Roddy is just now getting healthy and it shows!

  4. I swear to god if there is another game at candlestick and everybody jizzes their pants the whole game about how special it is AFTER they already did that this week…

  5. Not only does SF get the win, they’ll also get the last laugh in the Playoffs.

    People in Seattle in Arizona just smacked their own foreheads!

  6. I said earlier I didn’t expect ATL to go down easy. Thanks for one helluva finale. I could do without the blood pressure spikes and anxiety but it was only fitting.

  7. What an incredible moment being there… it was just as fun as the alex smith playoff game against the saints.. and yes seahawk fans, we know the game didn’t mean too much playoff wise, but it was a great way to send off our stadium.. cue the seahawk trolls….

  8. jim harbaugh in post game interview …

    reporter- what you think of bowmans int.

    harbaugh – its the best christmas present ever. 2nd is being born.

    lol harbaugh is awesome, and bowman is a beast. defensive player of the year.

  9. As a hawks fan I was cheering on ATL, but I’m happy to see candlestick go out with such a great game/win. Congrats niners. Well deserved. We’ll see you in the playoffs.

  10. Scripted game to keep the 40whiners in the playoffs…Cardinals/ Seahawks game was a sympathy win for Arizona…Keeps it interesting, but the Seahawks will go to the Super Bowl…

  11. I don’t care who or what the quality of the opponent was — the magnitude of the win on the emotional night it fell on made that one of the most memorable football games in the long, storied, decorated history of 49ers lore.

    That final interception highlight will outlive us all.

  12. The referees that officiated this game should be relieved that the 49ers did not lose this game. Because there were a LOT of calls that went in Atlanta’s favor that changed the flow of the game.

  13. What a bitter evening for SF fans.. Sure, you won – but it was the final professional football game played in San Francisco. After an illustrious history, the San Francisco 49’ers are no more. It’s a sad day for all NFL fans.

    Oh well, I hope Santa Clara enjoys their new NFL franchise. Will they be keeping the 49’ers name and logo or will they find something more suitable for their new team?

  14. that bowman pik6 was a 14 point swing. the falcons about to score a td were going to be up by 4 nstead go down by 10! WOW!!!

  15. That play will go down as one of, if not the the most, memorable plays in Candlestick history, along with the final interception of the game!

    Thank you Candlestick for making our experiences as 49ers fans truly memorable and for bringing a smile to our face every time we think of you…..

    Now on to Santa Clara stadium where we can make all new memories and enjoy the next series of unforgettable NFL experiences for the next 50 years with our Niners.

    Thank you and good night…..forever. We bid you adieu.

  16. As a 49ers fan, that play was simply amazing and also won me my fantasy league. What a way to say farewell to candlestick! Very fitting!!! GO NINERS!!!!

  17. Cardinals fans, just think, you would be in playoffs if the refs didn’t give game to saints vs Niners.

  18. Off to Santa Clara the Niners will go. Nice to see that San Jose will now have two professional teams, the Sharks, and the Niners.


  19. Phew! That was close there at the end. Bowman went from the goat to the G.O.A.T. Now we can remember “The Catch” and the “Pick and the Stick”!!

    I am glad the 49ers won, but that was a bit shaky of a performance. Next week against the Cardinals is going to be tough.

  20. I knew this game would not be a gimmie … Atlanta was not just gonna come out and let us roll right over them, this was there super bowl and they were gonna do everything in their power to spoil our playoff hopes so I’m glad we found a way to pull it out at the end … And there’s no doubt Matt Ryan is still a great qb who has not regressed, just the team around him … But anyways bring on the tards! Go 9ers!

  21. ain’t that just the kind of season the birds of prey have had… or is that birds of pray? Just brutal.

  22. As a neutral fan I gotta say that was heartbreaking. Mainly because I wanted a winner-take-all next weekend between SF and Arizona.

    Oh well.

  23. The team looks good beside Kaep. He blows and will got more exposed than he already is in the playoffs.

  24. At the most crucial moment of the game, a middle linebacker intercepted Matt Ryan and ran it back 89 yards to seal a playoff spot for the 49ers. I don’t think there could have been a better way to say farewell to Candlestick Park.

  25. Did anyone else notice Harbaugh on the field as this game altering play developed? The side judge had to run around him to follow the play down the field. That play affected the whole playoff structure for the entire NFC and not a word was said about it. The NFL has no credibility left.

  26. Anyone that didn’t expect a fight out of ATL is nuts. Football is all about matchups not just records. Not to mention this was their revenge game they have been waiting for all year and they had nothing to lose. They played a helluva game. Why Fangio kept playing off coverage baffles me though. Good game just as I anticipated. I wouldn’t put too much stock in that defensive performance though. Its the exception not the rule.

  27. Give it a rest with the “breaks” Falcons first TD was set up by a bogus double flag on Whitner and their onside kick from the 50 was set up by a phantom roughing the passer flag. It was a great game that was poorly officiated like many games have been this year. The outcome was still the right one

  28. Thanks Atlanta.
    You singlehandedly ruined Christmas for Cardinal fans.
    You should have put on red and white coats, a white beard and bellowed out “Ho, Ho, Ho!” to the relieved throng at Candlestick Park.

  29. sorry to say but that wasn’t an INT, it was pass interference and it should have been 1st and goal on the one for the Falcs..

    this league is a joke anymore, all of that contact by the whiners would have been pass interference for the hawks, and that last play? oh yea they would have nailed any team they didn’t want to win with PI..

    why I am done, most likely for good, I have supported this team for over 30 years and been cheated every step of the way..

    I am retiring y9ou guys can have this farce, it seems this league is just like our government, the dumber the fans get the more they take advantage of them, so bad these days it isn’t even fun to watch much less attend…

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