Bad, good news for 49ers

De­spite stun­ning loss, they se­cure 1st trip to play­offs since 2013

Orlando Sentinel - - NFL - By Janie McCauley

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.

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