Bad, good news for 49ers
Despite stunning loss, they secure 1st trip to playoffs since 2013
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Matt Ryan teamed up with Julio Jones on a 5-yard pass that was ruled a touchdown after a replay reversal with 2 seconds left, sending the Falcons past the playoff-bound 49ers 29-22 on Sunday.
Jones was called short of the goal line with the Falcons trailing 22-17. But a replay showed the ball breaking the plane with the Jones in the air while being tackled by Jimmie Ward.
When things couldn’t get crazier, they did: On the final kickoff, the Falcons scored another touchdown when Olamide Zaccheaus came up with the ball as the 49ers were tossing it around in desperation.
The 49ers still clinched their first playoff berth since a 2013 run to the NFC championship game with the Rams’ loss the Cowboys.
In an afternoon when Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense hardly shined, the 49ers’ other units did their best to hold off Ryan until the quarterback exhibited the poise of a former MVP in a dramatic final minute — or, make that 12 seconds.
Kyle Juszczyk recovered a fumble on the punt return team early in the fourth quarter then caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo two plays later as the 49ers (11-3) briefly gave themselves some room before failing to close it out.
Fill-in safety Marcell Harris broke up a pass in the end zone intended for Austin Hooper in the waning moments.
Then with 8 seconds remaining, Hooper couldn’t keep hold of the ball in the end zone though the Falcons were already celebrating an upset when the play went to a review and the catch overturned because the ball hit the ground.
They got one more chance, and made it count.
Then the Falcons celebrated for real, leaving the 49ers players stunned.
The Falcons (5-9) got within 19-17 on Qadree Ollison's 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth.
Falcons WR Julio Jones (11) and his teammates celebrate a disputed late TD against the 49ers on Sunday.