Freeman’s 3 TDs lead Falcons to 41-13 rout of hapless 49ers
ATLANTA (AP) – Devonta Freeman ran for three touchdowns, Matt Ryan passed for two more and the Atlanta Falcons clinched their first winning season since 2012 with a 41-13 rout of the hapless San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
Freeman rushed for 139 yards and capped his big day with a 34-yard touchdown run.
Ryan completed 17 of 23 passes for 286 yards, including a pair of 9-yard scoring tosses to Taylor Gabriel and Austin Hooper.
Aldrick Robinson, stepping up with Atlanta star Julio Jones missing his second straight game with a toe injury, had a career-best 111 yards on four receptions.
Atlanta (9-5) began the day tied with Tampa Bay for the NFC South lead.
In an interesting twist, the Falcons’ previous winning season ended with a loss to San Francisco in the NFC championship game.
The 49ers (1-13) have totally fallen apart since that trip to the Super Bowl.
They extended a franchise record with their 13th straight loss, keeping the heat on first-year coach Chip Kelly.
The Falcons scored touchdowns on their four of their first five possessions against San Francisco’s horrible defense – the only slip coming when Freeman fumbled inside the San Francisco 1-yard line just before he crossed the line for another TD.
Freeman more than made up for his first fumble of the season with the third three-touchdown game of his career.
He scored on a 5-yard run in the first quarter, broke numerous tackles for a 9-yard TD in the second, and got loose down the sideline for his longest run of the day late in the third to give the Falcons a 38-13 lead.
Colin Kaepernick was 20 of 33 for 183 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also was sacked three times.
For Atlanta, it was the second straight laughter over a team from California. The Falcons built a 42-0 lead the previous week on the way to a 42-14 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.
As in that game, Ryan and many of the starters watched the final minutes from the sideline.
The Falcons set a franchise record for points in season, pushing their total with 469.
That eclipsed the mark of 442 set by the 1998 Super Bowl team, with two weeks still to go in the regular season.
Atlanta has scored more than 40 points in five games, and at least 30 four other times.
The San Francisco 49ers lost wide receiver Quinton Patton, linebacker Nick Bellore, tight end Blake Bell and cornerback Jimmie Ward with injuries.
Patton (foot) and Bellore (elbow) left in the first half. Bell and Ward were declared out with shoulder injuries in the second half.
Falcons linebacker De’Vondre Campbell left the game with a concussion, and Hooper was knocked out in the fourth quarter with a left knee injury.
San Francisco: The 49ers wind down a lost season by traveling to Los Angeles to take on the Rams, the team they defeated in Week 1 for their lone victory.
Atlanta: Head to Carolina on Christmas Eve to take on the Panthers in the final road game of the regular season. The Falcons defeated their NFC South rival 48-33 in the first meeting Oct. 2.