What we learned from 49ers dominant win over Falcons

Jeff Wilson Jr. #22 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Jeff Wilson Jr. #22 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

31. 42. Final. 13. 44

The 49ers pulled off a one-sided 31-13 win over the visiting Falcons in Week 15, leaving us with some key takeaways for head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad.

The San Francisco 49ers are getting hot at precisely the right time.

With four regular-season games left to go en route to securing a playoff berth, Week 15’s matchup against the visiting Atlanta Falcons was arguably one of two games head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad should have won relatively easily.

Aside from some special teams gaffes and a handful of plays elsewhere, it did.

The Niners pulled off a 31-13 victory at Levi’s Stadium to improve to 8-6 on the season, getting a firmer grip on a Wild Card spot and still potentially threatening the NFC West title, albeit the latter goal is awfully distant.

That’s just one takeaway, though, and there are plenty of others stemming from San Francisco’s commanding win.

Takeaway No. 1: 49ers are good when Jimmy Garoppolo is good

Head coach Kyle Shanahan later told reporters quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has “been the same” almost all season long, rather the team has merely improved around him in the wake of the scuffles experienced earlier this year.

Perhaps. But there’s a key stat line to note how well the 49ers play when Garoppolo plays well.

Namely the interceptions, or lack thereof. Garoppolo continued his year-long streak of ensuring a Niners victory when he doesn’t toss a pick, avoiding that pitfall in Week 15 and instead tossing one touchdown and going 18-of-23 for 235 yards with a 123.7 passer rating.

More importantly, San Francisco is a perfect 7-0 this season when Jimmy G doesn’t throw an interception, compared to 1-5 when he does.

Fortunately, there weren’t even any too-close of calls or near-interceptions from Week 15 either, further highlighting the need for Garoppolo to merely play well enough.