Banged-up 49ers dominated by Falcons in every sense in Week 6

Marcus Mariota #1 of the Atlanta Falcons runs past Samuel Womack III #26 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Marcus Mariota #1 of the Atlanta Falcons runs past Samuel Womack III #26 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

44. Final. 14. 42. 28

An injury-riddled 49ers squad looked like a top-drafting team instead of a playoff contender during their Week 6 loss to the Falcons.

For the last few weeks, the San Francisco 49ers have been able to manage what’s been an alarmingly growing list of injuries.

Entering Week 6 against the Atlanta Falcons, though, there were simply a few too many injuries for the Niners to withstand.

Atlanta came away with a commanding 28-14 victory in Week 6 at Mercedes Benz Stadium in a game where it looked like a legitimate playoff contender, while head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad appeared as if it was gunning for a top-10 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Fortunately, if it’s any solace, the team is now just 3-3 but has lost three games it was clearly favored to win.

Granted, San Francisco entered the game missing six starters on defense, including Pro Bowl EDGE Nick Bosa, who was ruled out with a groin injury suffered in Week 5’s win over the Carolina Panthers.

Missing Bosa ended up hurting a lot, as the Falcons weren’t just able to pass with relative ease, but they were also able to run the ball effectively against a defense that entered the game allowing a league-best 3 yards per rush attempt.

49ers watch Marcus Mariota completely outclass Jimmy Garoppolo

It’s not a statement one might usually think about, but Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota had his way with a banged-up 49ers defense, going 13-of-14 for 129 yards and two passing touchdowns while also adding 50 rush yards and a score on the ground.

Meanwhile, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t receive much assistance from his receivers, who struggled with drops and influenced his 29-of-41 line for 296 yards, two touchdowns against two interceptions and an 87.0 passer rating.

Although that interception at the end of the first half shouldn’t exactly account for much. It was only intended to be a response to Mariota’s go-ahead rushing touchdown late in the second quarter.

If there was one bright spot for the Niners offense, though, it was wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, whose two receiving touchdowns helped get Garoppolo and Co. back in the game after falling behind in a 14-0 hole early.

Too bad that momentum didn’t carry over into the second half.

Falcons dominate 49ers in nearly every statistic

San Francisco’s No. 1 defense hadn’t surrendered a first-quarter touchdown this season, but that changed on Atlanta’s methodical 11-play, 74-yard opening drive that ultimately set a tone.

Additionally, one would have to go back to Week 13 in 2021 to find the last time the 49ers allowed more than 100 rush yards in a game.

The Falcons gained 168 yards rushing. The Niners mustered only 50.

In contrast, Atlanta also went 9-of-14 on third-down tries, whereas San Francisco was 3-of-8. As far as the time-of-possession battle was concerned, the Falcons were on offense for 33:25, whereas the 49ers had the ball for 26:28.

Injury bug continues to bite 49ers

San Francisco suffered some early scares in the game when it watched safety Talanoa Hufanga and EDGE Samson Ebukam depart with early injuries.

Both players were able to return, which was beneficial. But later in the game, right tackle Mike McGlinchey exited with a calf injury and didn’t return, and then cornerback Charvarius Ward had to leave because of a groin injury.

Whether or not any of these players’ injuries are serious is of note, especially with the 49ers suffering such an embarrassing loss and now having to head home to take on the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs in what might be a crucial turning-point challenge in Week 7.

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