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It had been eight quarters since the San Francisco 49ers had scored a touchdown. That ended on Sunday afternoon when QB Blaine Gabbert engineered a 12-play, 84-yard scoring drive to give the 49ers an early 7-3 lead.
The Falcons defense went into the game ranked 24th in the league against the pass. Gabbert would enter halftime with a 123.7 passer rating and finish the game 15 of 25 for 185 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. However, one of those interceptions was more the fault of WR Jerome Simpson than Gabbert. The victory was just Gabbert's sixth of his career. He would also add 32 rushing yards on nine carries.
TE Garrett Celek hauled in both of Gabbert's touchdown passes, but it was WR Quinton Patton that led the team in receiving with 70 yards on just three catches.
49ers Blaine Gabbert completes pass on scramble
After a vicious hit early in the fourth quarter, the concussion spotter in the press box called for Gabbert to be examined and Colin Kaepernick, who had been benched earlier in the week, went in at quarterback. Gabbert would return a few plays later after being cleared. Former starter Kaepernick, entered and left the field to boos from the Levi's Stadium fans. Although, there were reportedly cheers from fans mixed in as well.
Following the game, head coach Jim Tomsula was asked if Gabbert would be the quarterback going forward. "We're going to enjoy today," he responded. "Gabbert was our starter today and I don't have a comment past that," he added.
The 49ers did all of their scoring in the first half of the 17-16 victory. The 17 points were the most all season the team had scored during the first half.
The Falcons came into the game with the third ranked rush defense in the league. With running backs Carlos Hyde (foot) and Mike Davis (hand, IR) unavailable, the 49ers turned to a trio of new runners. This week, the team activated RB Kendall Gaskins from the practice squad and signed RB Pierre Thomas and RB Shaun Draughn. Draughn would end up starting the game and finish with 58 yards on 16 carries.
The 49ers were also short at cornerback, with Tramaine Brock, Kenneth Acker, and Keith Reaser not playing. The team activated CB Marcus Cromartie and CB Chris Davis from the practice squad to help fill in. Falcons QB Matt Ryan would finish the game completing 30 of 45 passes for 303 yards and a touchdown.
49ers Blaine Gabbert finds Celek for second TD
Falcons RB Devonta Freeman, who entered the game as the NFL's leading rusher, was held to 12 yards on 12 carries by a 49ers defense that ranked 23rd against the run entering the week.
The victory was just the 49ers' third of the season as the team improves to 3-6. The team enters their bye week and will next play on Sunday, November 22 in Seattle as they face the rival Seahawks.