ATLANTA – Roddy White’s best play came on defense, and it allowed the Atlanta Falcons to come up with another close-call victory on Sunday.
When 49ers cornerback Nate Clements intercepted Matt Ryan late in the fourth quarter and ran 39 yards down the left sideline, White had one goal in mind: Knock the ball out.
“Any time that you see defensive players carrying the ball,” Atlanta’s star receiver said, “they aren’t used to it, so you’ve got a chance.”
White’s forced fumble kept the winning drive alive, and Matt Bryant kicked a 43-yard field goal with 2 seconds remaining to lift the fortunate Falcons to a 16-14 victory over the winless 49ers.
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The Falcons (3-1) have won three straight.
San Francisco (0-4) blew a 14-0 first-quarter lead due in part to a pair of interceptions thrown by Alex Smith.
“Those were critical errors,” Smith said.
White caught seven passes for 104 yards – including four for 60 yards on the winning drive – but his biggest play was chasing Clements down and knocking the ball loose from behind at the Atlanta 7. Falcons guard Harvey Dahl recovered the ball to preserve the 12-play winning drive.
Though the game ended with another loss, the Niners’ early drive gave hope to coach Mike Singletary.
“As much as it hurts right now, I’m excited,” Singletary said. “There were positives that came from this.”