Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Keys to victory: 49ers 34, Falcons 24
By ESPN Stats & Information
What were the keys to the San Francisco 49ers’ playoff-clinching win over the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night?
Kaepernick comes alive in second half
Colin Kaepernick threw for a touchdown and ran for a touchdown in the second half, and totaled more than twice as many yards as he had in the first.
This was the second game of the season in which Kaepernick threw and ran for a touchdown (Week 8 against the Jacksonville Jaguars).
Kaepernick completed all four of his passes when targeting Michael Crabtree in the second half after only completing 1 of 2 passes for 3 yards in the first half when targeting him.
Kaepernick has eight touchdowns and only one interception during the 49ers' five-game winning streak.
Play of the Game: All-out blitz comes through
The 49ers entered the day having blitzed on only 19 percent of opposing quarterback dropbacks, the third-lowest rate in the league.
They continued to sit back throughout much of this game, sending five pass-rushers at Matt Ryan only four times in his first 41 dropbacks.
But desperate times called for desperate measures, as the 49ers sent a seven-man rush at Ryan with the Falcons driving for a go-ahead score in the final two minutes. It worked, with NaVorro Bowman returning Ryan’s intercepted pass 89 yards for a touchdown that clinched the game.
It was the longest interception return for a touchdown for the 49ers since a Zack Bronson 97-yarder in 2001.
Stat of the Night: 49ers like Mondays a lot
The 49ers have won six consecutive “Monday Night Football” games, the second-longest active streak in the NFL. The only team with a longer streak is the Seattle Seahawks, who have won eight straight.