Cut and paste last week’s recap, as the Falcons dominated the early going by racing to a 17-0 lead behind a pair of Julio Jones (11-182-2) touchdowns. San Francisco battled back, but Atlanta appeared to have righted the ship with a Tony Gonzalez (8-78-1) score just before half-time to give the home team a 24-14 lead. But the second half belonged to Frank Gore (21-90-2) and the Niners, and this time there were no late Matt Ryan (30-42-396-3-1) heroics.
Extra points: Fantasy owners who spent a high pick on Vernon Davis (5-106-1) back in August had to be wondering where this game was for most of the regular season. With Michael Crabtree (6-57) perhaps somewhat distracted, Davis stepped up as the Niners’ primary pass-catcher and the Falcons were stumped for an answer. Can’t ask for much more from the Atlanta passing game than what Ryan, Jones, Gonzo and Roddy White (7-100) provided; the running game, on the other hand, missed Michael Turner (8-30) whose afternoon was cut short by an ankle injury. Jacquizz Rodgers (10-32) and Jason Snelling (2-12, 1-5 receiving) were unable to pick up the slack, something to keep an eye on as the Falcons will likely be looking for a replacement for Turner this offseason.
The Patriots spent an unusual amount of time kicking the ball on the Ravens’ side of the field—twice settling for field goals in the red zone and thrice punting on Baltimore’s side of the 50. The net result was just one touchdown on the afternoon and a trip to the Pro Bowl for some disappointed Pats.
Extra points: Joe Flacco (21-36-240-3) outplayed Tom Brady (29-54-320-1-2) and has to be enjoying his impending free agency. While his deep shots to Torrey Smith (4-69) loosened the defense, it was money shots to Anquan Boldin (5-60-2) and Dennis Pitta (5-55-1) that put points on the board. Ray Rice (19-48-1, 3-22 receiving) was held in check, but Bernard Pierce (9-52, 1-8 receiving) helped pick up the slack. New England got solid efforts from Wes Welker (8-117-1 in perhaps his Patriots swan song), Aaron Hernandez (9-83), and Brandon Lloyd (7-70), but the ground game was held in check and shut down entirely after Stevan Ridley (18-70) left following a big hit. Last week’s hero, Shane Vereen (4-16, 2-22 receiving), was merely ordinary this time around.