49ers Defense Has a Day in 31-13 Win Over Falcons

The San Francisco 49ers took care of business and secured the victory in the 31-13 rout over the Atlanta Falcons. While offensively there were a number of noteworthy performances that aided San Francisco's success, the 49ers defense was the highlight of the game from their first drive of the day through the final quarter.

San Francisco now improves its record to 8-6 on the season. Here are a few takeaways from the game:

Defense Has a Day

The Falcons got inside of the 49ers 10 yard line three times on Sunday, however, left with just a field goal to show for it.

It wasn't an ideal start for San Francisco's special teams unit, opening up the game with a fumble, their second in three games. Taking the ball out from the 1 yard line, JaMycal Hasty took a hit from Qadree Ollison that forced the ball out of the running back's arm and gave the Falcons possession at the 49ers 14 yard line.

However, it was San Francisco's defense with an early noteworthy series. The unit managed to stop Matt Ryan and Co., including four-consecutive stops from the 49ers 1 yard line to force a turnover on downs. Fred Warner, Arik Armstead and Jaquiski Tartt, who made the tackle on fourth down, all were key in the scoreless drive.

The 49ers defense allowed 2.4 yards per play on Atlanta's first three drives.

The unit came up big again twice in the fourth quarter. While looking for the first score of the half and inside of the 49ers 10 yard line, Jimmie Ward held up Cordarrelle Patterson a yard short of the first down marker to force another turnover on downs.

In their final opportunity in the fourth quarter to put points on the board, Jaquiski Tartt and Marcell Harris put a sturdy hit on Ryan on a scramble while making his way into the end zone from San Francisco's 2 yard line. The stop set up a fourth down play where Ryan overthrew Falcons wide receiver Christian Blake in the end zone to give the 49ers the ball.

Atlanta managed to score one touchdown on five red zone trips on Sunday.

Samson Ebukam opened the Falcons second half with a sack for a loss of 8 yards. He now has 2.5 on the season. Two plays later, Nick Bosa got his hands on Ryan for a strip sack that was recovered by Fred Warner.

Bosa's sack marked his 15th of his season. He is tied for third in the league behind Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (15.0) and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (17.5).

Arden Key also had a dominant outing, notching a sack and multiple quarterback hits, including one that forced an incomplete pass and led the Falcons to settle for a field goal.

San Francisco held the unit, who had won five of their previous games on the road, to 5-of-13 on third down, 275 total net yards, 4.7 yards per play and 62 yards rushing.

Ryan finished his day completing 19-of-32 passes, for 236 yards and one touchdown. The quarterback made some big-time plays, including two 49-yard completions to tight end Kyle Pitts and wideout Olamide Zaccheaus.

Offensive Standouts

Four different members of the 49ers found the end zone on Sunday and the unit as a whole racked up almost 400 yards of total offense. The 49ers opened up the game averaging 8.0 yards per play heading into the half and finished the game averaging 7.1.

The offense managed to capitalize off of Atlanta's turnovers. Following Ryan's fumble, Jimmy Garoppolo made consecutive throws to George Kittle and Deebo Samuel for 13 and 21 yards, respectively to set up a Jeff Wilson Jr. 5-yard touchdown.

San Francisco posted 163 yards rushing, led by Wilson Jr. The running back posted his third-career 100-yard game and first of the season.

"He's improved a ton," Kyle Shanahan said of the running back postgame. "We all know exactly what Jeff is. It's not that he was ever just not good or anything, but it's hard when you get hurt in OTAs and then return to practice in Week (9). So it's taken awhile to fully get his legs back. He's been looking so much better these last few weeks and each week he's gotten stronger and stronger."

Kittle strung together another impressive performance and was perfect on the day. The tight end caught all six of his targets for 93 yards. Four of his six catches went for 13 yards or more.

Samuel was second on the team in receiving yards on Sunday, notching 60 through the air to add to 29 on the ground to go along with a rushing score. Samuel almost had a passing touchdown on an attempt to Aiyuk that was well covered by Atlanta.

Garoppolo was highly efficient against Atlanta, connecting on 18-of-23 throws (78.2 percent) for 235 yards and a touchdown for a passer rating of 123.7, his second-highest QBR behind his primetime victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

Through the fourth quarter, Garoppolo was perfect on third down, completing all five of his passes for 37 yards, three first downs and a touchdown.

Injury Updates

Rookie safety Talanoa Hufanga left the game with a knee injury and did not return.

Bosa was evaluated for a head injury but cleared the league protocol and returned to the game.

Tartt sustained an ankle injury in the fourth quarter, however later returned to the field.

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