These two teams haven’t met in the playoffs since a 20-18 win by the Falcons in Atlanta in 1999. The Falcons won the last regular season game between these two teams by two points as well, 16-14. That was a come-from-behind win finished-off by a game-winning field with a few seconds left by Matt Bryant.
Sound familiar? It happened last week in the Falcons win over the Seahawks and several other times during the regular season.
Atlanta won four games this year by three points or less, and eight by seven points or less. The Falcons know and excel in close games.
Would you favor the Falcons to win a close game that comes down to a field goal? Maybe you should. I would.
San Francisco has been highly inconsistent at the kicker spot with David Akers (13 misses.) San Francisco is 0-1-1 in games decided by three points or less.
Meanwhile, Atlanta this season is 4-0 in games decided by three points or less, and has one of the most clutch place-kickers in the NFL in Matt Bryant (33 of 38 this season.) Atlanta’s history winning close games versus the Niners helps make that case a little more too.
To help us preview the game, Jesse Smithey and I spoke with the terrific play-by-play voice of the Atlanta Falcons, Wes Durham, on the “News Sentinel Sports Page” radio show. Some quotes from Wes are below.
To hear our entire interview with Wes Durham, click the video to the left.
Wes Durham on all the Falcons’ close games & late game drama this season:
“It’s kind of become old hat. They’ve made it almost like their calling card.”
What stands out about the 49’ers:
“You mean outside of a 6’4, 220-pound quarterback that runs like a gazelle, who cork-screwed a linebacker into the ground last week?”
On San Fran’s 6’2, 330-pound DT, Isaac Sopoaga:
“Sopoaga’s like a couch, and you got to get him moved on every play.”
On Colin Kaepernick’s future in the league as a running quarterback:
“If he doesn’t learn to duck, he’ll get the fool beat out of him.”
On future NFL Hall Of Fame TE Tony Gonzalez of the Falcons:
“He’s a remarkable athlete. He’s a remarkable person. Every major college football player in the country ought to be required to watch Tony Gonzalez practice.”
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