White’s play came when cornerback Nate Clements intercepted Matt Ryan late in the fourth quarter and ran 39 yards down the left sideline, White, coming from behind, knocked the ball out and the Falcons got it back.
“Any time that you see defensive players carrying the ball,” Atlanta’s star receiver said, “they aren’t used to it, so you’ve got a chance.”
The recovery kept the winning drive alive, and Matt Bryant kicked a 43-yarder with 2 seconds remaining to lift the fortunate Falcons to a 16-14 victory. Atlanta has won three in a row.
“It wasn’t the prettiest kick,” said Bryant. “But the only thing that matters is we get that ‘W’ when the ball went through the uprights.”
The Niners are now 0-4, and blew an early 14-point lead, mostly due to some bad picks by their QB, Alex Smith.
The Falcons run game was led by Michael Turner who had 50 yards, and Jason Snelling finished with 31 yards on seven carries. Ryan was 26 of 43 passes for 273 yards. He hit Tony Gonzalez to convert Atlanta’s final third down on a 5-yard pass to the San Francisco 26.
“We knew we just needed a field goal, so we had to get it 20 yards past the 30-yard line,” Gonzalez said. “It’s definitely all confidence when you are in the huddle at that point.”
He was right, and the kick was good. The Falcons remain tied in the NFC South with the Saints, who came from behind to beat the Panthers at home.
The Falcons will be on the road next week to play Cleveland.