The San Francisco 49ers needed a win against the Atlanta Falcons to ensure that they would be returning to the NFC playoffs to try and defend their title as champions of the conference. There is still a long road ahead of them if they want to reclaim the NFC crown but they will indeed be back in the playoffs for a third straight year under Jim Harbaugh.
It wasn’t the easiest of wins though as the Niners saw themselves trailing int he first half before tying the game at 10-10 prior to pulling away with the lead. The farewell game at Candlestick Park may not be the final game of the stadiums long history but it was without a doubt the last regular season game. Steve Young said before the game that almost every big game the 49ers have had has taken place in Candlestick and yet another playoff berth was clinched at home.
The win now puts pressure on the other teams vying for a playoff spot as three of the six playoff spots are now locked up. The Arizona Cardinals could have been playing the 49ers for a playoff spot but the win but he Niners tonight means that the Cardinals must win and hope the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the New Orleans Saints in Week 17.
New Orleans is up for the other Wild Card spot and they are in if they win. The San Francisco win made things easy for them but the division is still within reach for them.
The NFC West title is still in play for the 49ers too as they’d need another win next week against the Cardinals and a Seahawks loss against the Rams. San Francisco is in the playoffs though so the hardest part is done. Next up is making sure they line themselves up for a mother run at possibly winning a Super Bowl.