The San Francisco 49ers are now 11-3 after falling to the visiting Atlanta Falcons 29-22 in Week 15 on Sunday.

Yet there were many chances for the Niners to be 12-2 instead, even down to the wire, as it took a last-second game-winning touchdown by Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones to give Atlanta its fifth win of the season.

And quite literally, Jones needed the two inches for the ball to cross the plane in order to give the Falcons the lead.

Stopping Atlanta that final two-minute drive was one area in which the 49ers lost the game. On the possession beforehand, tight end George Kittle fumbled the ball short of the first-down marker on 3rd-and-4 just after the two-minute warning. With the Niners possessing a two-point lead at the time and the Falcons having just one timeout, a first down would have all but iced the game with the conversion.

Instead, San Francisco settled for a field goal and allowed Jones and quarterback Matt Ryan to march down the length of the field to win it for Atlanta.

"I wouldn't say it was one specific thing," quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said of the game. "It was just things going wrong, us not making plays when we needed to. Little things like that, here and there, throughout the course of the game that add up.

"Just little mistakes we can't make."

Another possible net mistake from San Francisco was letting Jones be such a big part of the Falcons game plan. While it's clear why Atlanta would want to feed its star receiver the ball, allowing him 20 targets, 13 receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner, has to be more than frustrating. It will also be interesting to see how the team responds, especially after allowing Jones and the Falcons to beat the Niners in come-from-behind fashion.

"Close games, you definitely learn what your team is made of," Kittle added. "I hope our team learns from this game, that if we don't bring the intensity, then it will be a quick season ending."

Left tackle Joe Staley felt the same way.

"I think we will look back and this is a huge learning experience from the season, and we will carry that forward into the playoffs."

Important, as those little mistakes can easily be what sink any team's postseason push. San Francisco found that out the hard way in Week 15.
  • Peter Panacy
  • Written by:
    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.