MAKING THE GRADE
SAN FRANCISCO -- Here is how the 49ers (11-4) graded in Monday night's 34-24 win over the Atlanta Falcons (4-11) at Candlestick Park's final regular-season game.
Pass offense: Michael Crabtree passed the 100-yard mark (five catches, 102 yards) for the first time in four games, and Anquan Boldin (six catches, 72 yards, one touchdown) came alive to start the second half right. Colin Kaepernick (13-of-21, 197 yards) has 19 touchdown passes against eight interceptions all season. The last game a 49ers tight end didn't catch a pass: Nov. 30, 2008 at Buffalo. Vernon Davis was slowed by an eye injury, and Vance McDonald couldn't grab two passes his way.
Run offense: Frank Gore accounted for 97 of the team's 199 rushing yards, including his 1-yard touchdown run that he ordered Kaepernick to call. Kaepernick powered his way to a touchdown and showed great speed on a 22-yard scramble. His 500 rushing yards this season are third-most by a 49ers quarterback behind Steve Young (537 yards, 1992) and Billy Kilmer (509, 1961). Kendall Hunter's season-long 45-yard run set up that Gore touchdown. Will Tukuafu got the first action at fullback in place of Bruce Miller, and Anthony Dixon's lead block helped open Hunter's big run.
Pass defense: NaVorro Bowman rescued the defense from embarrassment with "The Return," and 89-yard sprint to the end zone after picking off a ball Tramaine Brock deflected. Brock had another strong game, overall. The pass rush could have been better considering Matt Ryan got sacked once (by Justin Smith) and passed for 348 yards (most by an opposing quarterback this season).
Run defense: Patrick Willis had 18 tackles and Bowman 11 — and that's before coaches review film that may bump those totals even higher. The Falcons had 61 yards and averaged just 3.1 yards per carry, the second-lowest mark against the 49ers this season.
Special teams: Yeah, they probably should take Bowman off the onside-kick hands team despite his interception. Phil Dawson makes his two field-goal attempts and extends his franchise-record streak to 26 in a row, still far from Mike Vanderjagt's league-record mark of 42 consecutive field goals made. LaMichael James made a miraculous fair catch of a punt despite getting hit by teammate Darryl Morris. Grade: B
Coaching: Jim Harbaugh celebrated his 50th birthday thanks to a season-high 31 points after halftime. Harbaugh became the first coach in 49ers history to reach the playoffs in each of his first three seasons. As he walked into the locker room after his press conference, Harbaugh got two congratulatory pats on the back by general manager Trent Baalke.
-- CAM INMAN