SAN FRANCISCO -- The best play of NaVorro Bowman's career just might go down as the one of the best in Candlestick Park history.
The linebacker's 89-yard interception return for a touchdown with 1:10 left secured San Francisco's 34-24 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Candlestick's regular-season finale Monday night and provided one final iconic moment for the venerable old stadium, home to the 49ers since 1971.
"Somebody just mentioned to me they're going to have to redo the top 10 plays at Candlestick," Bowman said. "I'll take it."
For coach Jim Harbaugh, the play shoots right to the top of his list of plays he's experienced.
"That was one of the greatest plays I've ever seen," Harbaugh said. "I don't think I've ever been involved in a football game where something that good happened."
The 49ers were on the verge of letting a 10-point fourth-quarter lead slip away after Atlanta scored with 2:09 to play and followed by recovering an onside kick at the 49ers' 30-yard line -- placing them in game-tying field goal range. The onside kick squirted right under the hands of Bowman.
The Falcons moved down to the 10-yard line and were in position to deliver a crushing blow to the 49ers' playoff hopes and spoil Candlestick's farewell. San Francisco dialed up an all-out blitz that was supposed to include Bowman. But he had other ideas.
"I aborted my blitz and read the quarterback," Bowman said.
Rookie safety Eric Reid hammered Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan as he threw, and Tramaine Brock knocked the ball out of the hands of Falcons receiver Harry Douglas. The ball squirted up in the air, and Bowman snatched it and raced down the sideline with Harbaugh and company going nuts alongside him.
"It's my best play yet," Bowman said.
It was perfect atonement for the failure on the onside kick.
"He made up for what happened before that," wide receiver Michael Crabtree said.
Bowman said he gained a new appreciation for what it takes to be on the hands team, while Harbaugh had already let that bad memory slip out of his mind.
"Whatever," Harbaugh. "I've got no fingers to point right now. I'm as happy as I could be."
Bowman credited linebackers coach Jim Leavitt with getting his mind right after the onside kick.
"My coach just said, 'Let it go. Move on to the next play. We still have a shot to win' " Bowman said of Leavitt. "That really got me through it."
Of all the iconic players to play for the 49ers, did Bowman ever imagine he would score the final touchdown at Candlestick?
"Not at all," he said. "It feels good. I can't lie and say it don't."