White, Bryant combine for late heroics in Falcons’ 16-14 win over 49ersBy George Henry, AP
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Bryant’s FG gives Falcons 16-14 win over 49ers
ATLANTA — Matt Bryant came through again with a game-winning field goal.
Bryant kicked a 42-yarder with 2 seconds to go in lifting the fortunate Atlanta Falcons to a 16-14 victory over the winless San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
Last week, Bryant kicked a 46-yard field goal in overtime to beat the New Orleans Saints.
Against the 49ers, the Falcons (3-1) got a big break to set up the winning points when receiver Roddy White forced the 49ers’ Nate Clements to fumble away an interception and keep Atlanta’s drive alive.
San Francisco (0-4) blew a 14-0 first-quarter lead due in part to a pair of interceptions by Alex Smith.
White caught seven passes for 104 yards — including four for 60 yards on the winning drive — but his biggest play was chasing Clements down the left sideline and knocking the ball out as he tackled the cornerback from behind at the Atlanta 7.
Falcons guard Harvey Dahl recovered the ball to preserve the 12-play winning drive. Clements intercepted a pass over the middle that was intended for tight end Tony Gonzalez.
Bryant cut the 49ers lead to 14-13 with a 31-yard field goal at the 5:53 mark of the third quarter.
San Francisco went up 7-0 in the first quarter on Vernon Davis’ 11-yard touchdown catch. The 10-play drive was aided by cornerback Dunta Robinson’s 34-yard pass interference penalty against tight end Delanie Walker.
Four plays later, Falcons punter Michael Koenen was lined up to receive a snap in the end zone. Dominique Zeigler ran past long snapper Joe Zelenka and dived forward to block the punt.
Taylor Mays, seeing the ball arching down in his direction, turned toward the back of the end zone and kept both feet inbounds as he caught the loose ball for an unconventional touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
The 49ers failed to hold the one-point lead despite running 13 plays and using nearly seven minutes of the fourth quarter, but the drive ended with Smith getting sacked on William Moore’s unblocked safety blitz.
Though the game ended with another loss, the Niners’ early drive gave hope that coach Mike Singletary made the right choice in firing Jimmy Raye as offensive coordinator earlier this week and replacing him with Mike Johnson.
Frank Gore finished with 137 total yards, 77 rushing on 21 carries and 60 yards receiving on seven catches. Smith completed 21 of 32 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown.
Falcons running back Michael Turner ran 16 times for 50 yards, and Jason Snelling finished with 31 yards on seven carries.
Atlanta was 2 for 11 on third down plays before Ryan threw from his end zone to connect with Brian Finneran for a 17-yard gain down the left side.
White made four tough catches on the drive. His 19-yard catch against safety Dashon Goldson came in tight coverage on the left side, but two plays later, it appeared that Ryan didn’t see Clements on Gonzalez’s right-to-left crossing route.
Clements ran the ball 39 yards down the sideline, but White knocked the ball out on a tackle near the left sideline. The officiating crew needed a minute before seeing Dahl had recovered the ball at the bottom of a big pile of players.
Early in the second quarter, Harry Douglas caught Ryan’s 8-yard pass in the right flats and dove for the front pylon to cut the lead to 14-7.
Douglas’ 34-yard catch late in the second quarter help set up a 37-yard field goal by Bryant that made it 14-10 at halftime.
(This version CORRECTS Falcons 16, 49ers 14. Corrects to Taylor Mays and Dominique Zeigler.)
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