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Sunday, October 3, 2010
Wrap-up: Falcons 16, 49ers 14

By Mike Sando

Wrapping up San Francisco's 16-14 loss to Atlanta:

What it means: The San Francisco 49ers cannot catch a break or finish a game when they're in position to win. They've played New Orleans and now Atlanta tough, only to falter in the end. But they also would emerge from Week 4 only two games out of the NFC West lead if the Arizona Cardinals lose at San Diego later Sunday. The 49ers do need to win a game at some point, obviously, but this defeat sure beat the lackluster effort at Kansas City in Week 3.

What I liked: The 49ers shook off a difficult week and immediately made good on their promises to spread the ball around to their best players on offense. Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis were involved early. Davis' touchdown reception, his first of the season, ended an 88-yard touchdown drive to open the game. The 49ers continued to fight even when their offense struggled.

What I didn't like: 49ers cornerback Nate Clements played a terrific game at times, but his fumble during an interception return needlessly gave the Falcons another chance. This was another example of the 49ers being unable to finish -- whether it's a game or an interception return.

Rookie watch: Rookie safety Taylor Mays made one of the better special-teams plays I can recall when he caught a blocked punt in the back of the end zone and got both feet down inbounds.

What's next: The 49ers return home to face the Philadelphia Eagles.