It was a nail-biter at the end, but the Atlanta Falcons ultimately came away with a 29-22 over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 15 of the 2019 NFL season.
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It was fitting that the game was decided by the Falcons' star offensive player. While his hands weren't as secure as they always are, Julio Jones made the big plays that ultimately saw the Falcons pull off an unlikely victory. His game-winning touchdown grab was crucial, but his sideline work earlier in the game truly showcased his elite talent.
After a solid return in Week 14, Chris Lindstrom faced a stiffer test this week against a fearsome defensive front. It was an up-and-down display, as he struggled to deal with the power of the 49ers' rushers, but there were plenty of encouraging signs, especially in the run game.
Grady Jarrett was a problem for the interior of San Francisco's offensive line throughout the contest, recording a number of decisive wins as a pass-rusher while adding several stops in the run game.
Atlanta's secondary has been a problem all season long, but they got solid performances from Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Isaiah Oliver today. Wreh-Wilson, in particular, came up with some big plays and forced multiple incompletions.
San Francisco got an underwhelming Jimmy Garoppolo this week, as the 49ers quarterback continued his roller coaster of a season. Accuracy was an issue throughout the game, and although he avoided an interception on the stat sheet, he put the ball in harm's way on multiple occasions. The positive plays weren't there to offset the bad, and the inability to consistently move the ball through the air contributed significantly to San Francisco's failures on offense.
As has been the case at several points this season, George Kittle carried the san Francisco offense, catching 12-of-16 targets for 124 yards and seven first downs. However, one of those catches that didn't convert came in a crucial situation on San Francisco's final drive, as Kittle fumbled the ball to prevent what would've been a likely conversion to help seal the game. Kittle's unforced error and Kyle Shanahan's decision to kick a field goal on the subsequent fourth down hurt the 49ers at the worst possible time.
It was a busy day of action for the 49ers' defensive front, with Arik Armstead being the stand out performer. He was able to use his power to collapse the pocket on numerous occasions, making life difficult for Matt Ryan.
Sometimes a player's stock can rise throughout an absence, and that was the case for Richard Sherman today. Without him, the defensive backfield couldn't quite make the plays on a consistent enough basis when it mattered most, with Ahkello Witherspoon having a particularly bad day.