When the Atlanta Falcons (4-10) face the San Francisco 49ers (10-4) for the first time since their epic 2012 NFC Championship Game that nearly paralyzed the Falcons into a “shock” mode, Matt Ryan and his Dirty Birds will have to wait until next time to avenge that humiliating loss.
Last time these two teams met, the Falcons were primed to break out in a big way, while the up-and-coming 49ers had finally broke its silence of mediocrity and reminded the NFL the glory days of when the 49ers used to be a powerhouse. For the second round, however, while both teams seem to be vulnerable, the Falcons have hit rock bottom in almost every way. Even though the 49ers have struggled, especially with their passing game due to the inexperienced Colin Kaepernick, they are still playoff bound and getting stronger down the stretch.
While the 49ers continue to be one of the most feared and imposing defenses in the league, the Falcons are the complete opposite, as they struggle with the fundamentals in terms of coverage and tackling. The 49ers are also gaining full strength after losing key players throughout the year, but for the Falcons, they have had tough luck fighting without some of their best players that includes their star receiver in Julio Jones.
After the 49ers stopped the Falcons 10 yards shy of going to their second ever Super Bowl in franchise history, Ryan and other players were hit hard and rejected in a loss that is still with them today. Unfortunately, Ryan and the Falcons are in no shape to match the brutality that the 49ers bring in terms of pressuring the quarterback or the physical play they bring to each game.
The Falcons’ offensive line will have a tough time slowing down Pro Bowler Aldon Smith and one of the best linebacker units in the league.
While the Falcons have played better offensively, they will be in a rude awakening and Ryan may have another long, painful day going up against one of the best defenses in the NFL. If playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league is worrisome, Ryan will also have to run for his life at times and may become a running back instead of a quarterback at the end of the day.
Instead of a second round of an epic game, the 49ers and Falcons game will be a lopsided game. With all the hard punches and knock out throws the 49ers blanket their opponents with, it will be interesting to see just how long the Falcons can endure and whether they can stand at the end of the game.
The Falcons will come out with a lot of emotion, but the team’s desire to avenge their loss will most certainly have to wait until next time.