ATLANTA — The Falcons wanted to stop Colin Kaepernick from running, and they accomplished that. Kaepernick rushed just two times for 21 yards.
The Falcons wanted to stop Michael Crabtree from scoring, and they accomplished that, too. Crabtree caught six passes for 57 yards and no touchdowns; he fumbled at the goal line.
Unfortunately for the Falcons, they forgot to stop Vernon Davis.
You may have heard of him. He's the tight end for the 49ers. He's the most athletic tight end in the NFL and, with apologies to the aging Tony Gonzalez, maybe of all time. For part of the season, the 49ers forgot about him, too.
“The tight end was an issue,” Falcons head coach Mike Smith said after the game. “They made a number of explosive plays with the tight end. When you go into a game and have a game plan in place and you put resources to one area, one of our main goals was to stop the quarterback from running the football. We did not cover the tight end as well as we needed to. Those were the plays that I felt like they made and it wasn't necessarily the wide receivers or the running back. It was the tight end.”
The Falcons had the same issue last week. They gave up eight catches for 142 yards and a touchdown to the Seahawks' tight end, Zach Miller. “I watched that whole game probably three times in two days,” Davis said afterward in the locker room.
Did the Falcons watch it? If they did, they didn't learn from it. Maybe someone forgot to give them that film clip because they let Vernon Davis sprint around the field uncovered most of the game.
Maybe Falcons defensive coordinator, Mike Nolan, the man who drafted Vernon Davis for the 49ers in 2006, thought the 49ers' offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, lost track of the fact Vernon Davis is on the team. Or maybe Nolan thought Roman didn't like Davis for some reason. Or maybe Nolan thought Davis wasn't good any more.