49ers
Falcons
16 - 20 Final
  for this game

Dunn has best game of season to lead Falcons

Nov 4, 2007 - 11:04 PM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- In a battle between two struggling clubs, the Atlanta Falcons prevailed.

Warrick Dunn found the end zone and the Atlanta defense stymied the San Francisco 49ers on a key drive in the fourth quarter to lead the Falcons to a 20-16 win on Sunday.

Atlanta (2-6) entered this one with the second-worst record in the NFC, winning just one of its first seven games. Meanwhile, San Francisco (2-6) has also struggled through the 2007 campaign, dropping five straight after opening the season with a pair of victories.

The Atlanta defense made sure that the Niners' woes continued.

"Our defense is the best," fullback Ovie Mughelli said. "We don't have to worry about them. We couldn't have won this game without them."

With Atlanta leading 14-13, three-time Pro Bowl right end John Abraham, forced a fumble after sacking 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. Nose tackle Montavious Stanley recovered the miscue at the Falcons 36.

Morten Andersen connected on a 33-yard field goal to give Atlanta a 17-13 lead with 14:12 remaining in the fourth quarter.

San Francisco marched 77 yards on the ensuing possession, but was stymied at the 1-yard line when Lawyer Malloy tackled running back Michael Robinson on a 3rd-and-goal for a three-yard loss, forcing a 22-yard field goal from Joe Nedney to cut the deficit to 17-16.

"(Defensive coordinator Mike) Zimmer sent in an outstanding play," Malloy said. "He called my number in a crucial situation. As a leader on this team, when your number is called, you have to produce."

"We did a good job pressuring," Abraham said. "The big thing was not letting the lead slip."

On the 49ers' next possession, Keith Brooking sacked Smith before DeAngelo Hall intercepted Smith. Anderson added a 27-yard field goal to seal the win.

"I was able to get my hand on the ball a couple of times," Hall said. "I was able to grab one." It was a rough day for Smith, who completed 17-of-38 passes for 149 yards. The former Utah quarterback capped his night by tossing his third interception to safety Jimmy Williams with nine seconds remaining.

"For all of us, (losing's) hard to take," Smith said. "Six losses (in a row) is hard for any team. It's very frustrating. We're trying to figure it out."

San Francisco coach Mike Nolan also is frustrated.

"We have to keep fighting and continue to work hard," Nolan said. "We are not gelling, obviously. ... Overall, the turnovers were a disappointment, but Alex continues to fight and play hard."

It looked like the Niners had the Falcons figured out early on as Smith engineered a 10 play, 59-yard drive on the 49ers opening drive to open the scoring.

The third-year standout completed 4-of-6 passes, including a crucial 13-yard pass to Arnaz Battle on 3rd and 11 to keep the drive alive before running back Maurice Hicks, playing in place of the injured Frank Gore, rumbled nine yards over left tackle for the touchdown to give the 49ers a 7-0 lead with 9:10 remaining in the first quarter.

But Atlanta answered right back. Dunn capped a nine play, 70 yard drive with a touchdown with 4:41 remaining in the quarter by bouncing off tackle and streaking down the left side for a 9-yard touchdown. The 32-year old Dunn, who is in his sixth season with the Falcons rushed seven times for 47 yards en route to notching his 45th career touchdown.

Dunn, who had struggled this season, rushed for 100 yards on 27 carries en route to reaching the century mark for the first time this year.

"I didn't really know (that I was close to 100 yards) until the fourth quarter, when I realized I had 98 yards," Dunn said. "Any back, you want to run for 100 yards. It felt good. Now I'm going to have to spend some money on the (offensive) line."

The Falcons took a 14-7 lead on Mughelli's 1-yard touchdown scamper with 3:48 seconds remaining in the second quarter. It was the first touchdown as a Falcon for Mughelli, who found the end zone twice in four years with the Baltimore Ravens.

The much-maligned Joey Harrington converted three times in third or fourth-down situations, including a 6-yard pass to wide receiver Joe Horn on 4th-and-4 to the 49ers 30 and a 20-yard completion to wideout Roddy White to the San Francisco 19 to keep the drive alive.

Harrington completed 14-of-25 passes for 138 yards and an interception.

San Francisco started the second half with two field goals by Nedney, a 49 yarder and a 32 yarder to cut the deficit to 14-13. Michael Lewis set up the second field goal by intercepting Harrington and scampering 18 yards to the Falcons 33.

Atlanta failed to fill the Georgia Dome for the first time since December 23, 2001 vs. Buffalo, in quarterback Michael Vick's first season with the club.

With the club struggling and their franchise quarterback suspended indefinitely by the league while awaiting sentencing on federal dogfighting charges, Atlanta returned to the bad old days when empty seats were the norm. Only 66,059 showed up to watch the struggling Falcons in this one, snapping a 43-game regular-season sellout streak.

"We wanted to make sure the fans stayed in their seats, so we put in an entire day of work to get the win," Falcons coach Bobby Petrino said. "It was a good win. You have to feel good about seeing the hard work pay off. There's no doubt that it was good to get the win."








  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    SAN FRANCISCO 7 0 6 3 16
    ATLANTA 7 7 0 6 20 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: SFO - TD, MAURICE HICKS 9 YD RUN (JOE NEDNEY
    KICK), 5:50. Drive: 10 plays, 59
    yards in 4:48. Key plays: A Smith
    13-yard pass to Battle on
    3rd-and-11 to Atlanta 32; A Smith
    11-yard pass to D

    Nov 4 4:08 PM


  • NFL
    FG ATL
    MORTEN ANDERSEN 27 YD
    SAN FRANCISCO 16
    ATLANTA 20 1:10 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    49ers vs. FalconsNov 4 4:03 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 49 roots (Close Finish)

    49ers vs. FalconsNov 4 3:56 PM
  • 67
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    RUWTbot Added 27 roots (Close Finish)

    49ers vs. FalconsNov 4 3:49 PM


  • NFL
    FG SFO
    JOE NEDNEY 22 YD
    SAN FRANCISCO 16
    ATLANTA 17 7:56 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    49ers vs. FalconsNov 4 3:39 PM


  • NFL
    FG ATL
    MORTEN ANDERSEN 33 YD
    SAN FRANCISCO 13
    ATLANTA 17 14:12 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    49ers vs. FalconsNov 4 3:28 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    SAN FRANCISCO 7 0 6 13
    ATLANTA 7 7 0 14 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: SFO - TD, MAURICE HICKS 9 YD RUN (JOE NEDNEY
    KICK), 5:50. Drive: 10 plays, 59
    yards in 4:48. Key plays: A Smith
    13-yard pass to Battle on
    3rd-and-11 to Atlanta 32; A Smith
    11-yard pa

    Nov 4 3:23 PM


  • NFL
    FG SFO
    JOE NEDNEY 32 YD
    SAN FRANCISCO 13
    ATLANTA 14 7:54 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    49ers vs. FalconsNov 4 3:00 PM


  • NFL
    FG SFO
    JOE NEDNEY 49 YD
    SAN FRANCISCO 10
    ATLANTA 14 12:08 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    49ers vs. FalconsNov 4 2:51 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    SAN FRANCISCO 7 0 7
    ATLANTA 7 7 14 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: SFO - TD, MAURICE HICKS 9 YD RUN (JOE NEDNEY
    KICK), 5:50. Drive: 10 plays, 59
    yards in 4:48. Key plays: A Smith
    13-yard pass to Battle on
    3rd-and-11 to Atlanta 32; A Smith
    11-yard pass t

    Nov 4 2:32 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    OVIE MUGHELLI 1 YD RUN
    (MORTEN ANDERSEN KICK)
    SAN FRANCISCO 7
    ATLANTA 14 3:48 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    49ers vs. FalconsNov 4 2:19 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    SAN FRANCISCO 7 7
    ATLANTA 7 7 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: SFO - TD, MAURICE HICKS 9 YD RUN (JOE NEDNEY
    KICK), 5:50. Drive: 10 plays, 59
    yards in 4:48. Key plays: A Smith
    13-yard pass to Battle on
    3rd-and-11 to Atlanta 32; A Smith
    11-yard pa

    Nov 4 1:52 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    WARRICK DUNN 9 YD RUN
    (MORTEN ANDERSEN KICK)
    SAN FRANCISCO 7
    ATLANTA 7 4:49 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    49ers vs. FalconsNov 4 1:30 PM


  • NFL
    TD SFO
    MAURICE HICKS 9 YD RUN
    (JOE NEDNEY KICK)
    SAN FRANCISCO 7
    ATLANTA 0 9:10 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    49ers vs. FalconsNov 4 1:18 PM
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