The San Francisco 49ers two-game, ten-day road trip ends with a 28-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Sunday's contest was a costly one for the 49ers who had a three players— Mike McGlinchey, Charvarius Ward and Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles—ruled out of the game with injuries. Up next, the team returns to Levi's® Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs.
"I thought we had opportunities all day," quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. "I thought we had a lot of opportunities. We just didn't take advantage of them. It was self-inflicted wounds really. It was guys making mistakes, and it wasn't just one guy in one position. It starts with myself and one after another kept making mistakes. When you do that, it adds up to a game like this."
Here six takeaways from Sunday's 49ers vs. Falcons game:
Brandon Aiyuk records his first-career multi-touchdown game
The third-year wideout hit a career milestone against Atlanta, hauling in two first-half touchdowns for San Francisco. The 49ers offense got a rhythm going in their third offensive series, leaning more heavily on the passing attack, and Aiyuk was a big part of that. The 49ers capped off an eight-play scoring drive with a 12-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Aiyuk in the second quarter. No. 11 would also score on the ensuing drive on another short toss from Garoppolo for a 14-yard score. He finished the day with eight catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns.
With defensive end Nick Bosa sidelined, both Jackson and Omenihu saw an increased workload against the Falcons. On Sunday, Omenihu started on the edge instead of his more typical position on the interior of the defensive line. His sack of Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota in the second quarter resulted in a loss of eight yards. Jackson also recorded his sack in the first half, helping San Francisco's defense force their first three-and-out of the game.
McGlinchey and Ward both suffered second quarter injuries and made early exits from Sunday's contest. The offensive lineman suffered a calf injury on the 49ers second scoring drive and actually returned for a few snaps in the first half. However, after further evaluation, he was ruled out early in the third quarter. Ward sat out of the Falcons final series of the first half after sustaining a groin injury. He was listed as questionable to return before also being ruled out early in the second half.
"It was his calf," head coach Kyle Shanahan said when asked about the severity of McGlinchey's injury. "We have to do some testing on it, but he went out, and I think he came back in at the end of the second quarter to try to tough it out. By the time he came in at halftime and stopped moving a little bit, he realized he couldn't go."
Ray-Ray McCloud III records his best punt return of 2022
The 49ers punt returner made a notable special teams play in the second quarter, returning a Falcons punt for 35 yards to set San Francisco up on a short field on their next offensive series. McCloud III's 35-yard punt return was his longest of the season thus far, and the 49ers went on to score their second touchdown of the game on the ensuing possession, driving 32 yards in four plays.
"Ray-Ray had a good kick return, and a good punt return," Shanahan said. "We scored on both of those."
Turnover troubles against Atlanta
The 49ers had three turnovers against Atlanta and were unable to produce takeaways against the Falcons, making much of Sunday's game an uphill battle for San Francisco. In each of the team's victories this year, winning the turnover battle has been one of the keys to success. The Falcons defense was able to capitalize off of just one of those three turnovers, returning a fumble for a short touchdown in the second quarter.
Help may be on the way
Following Sunday's game, Shanahan shared that Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams and defensive end Nick Bosa have a chance to return to the field in time for Week 7 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Williams and Bosa would add some much needed depth for their guys in the trenches that have been dealing with their fair share of injuries.