Roddy White had a 90-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown and a 31-yard TD reception, Michael Turner ran for three scores and the Atlanta Falcons flattened the 49ers 45-10 on Sunday to end San Francisco's five-game home winning streak.
White finished with eight catches for a career-high 210 yards against the 49ers' typically stingy defense. Six of those receptions were in the first half for 185 yards, as Atlanta (3-1) came out of its bye week sharp in all phases and finished the day with a 477-279 advantage in total yards. Matt Ryan completed 22 of 32 passes for 329 yards and two TDs and also ran for a late score.
San Francisco (3-2) flopped in its biggest test yet, falling to its worst defeat since a 41-0 loss at Kansas City on Oct. 1, 2006, under former coach Mike Nolan.
It got quiet in a hurry at Candlestick Park on a gray October afternoon — and the Niners were booed off the field at halftime trailing 35-10. Fans left in droves in the fourth quarter.
The 49ers failed to respond even after emotional coach Mike Singletary called timeout midway through the first quarter and brought his team together for a spirited pep talk. White scored his first touchdown on the very next play, and his big day helped Atlanta to its first road win of 2009.
San Francisco's three turnovers were one more than the team had in its first four games combined. The Niners will have plenty to think about heading into their bye week, and Singletary certainly will have a lot to say to get his team back on track.
After White's second touchdown in the first half, Delanie Walker fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Falcons recovered. It looked as if the ground might have caused the fumble, but San Francisco was out of timeouts and couldn't challenge the play.
Even when things went right for the 49ers, they ended up wrong.
Dre' Bly intercepted a pass by Ryan at the San Francisco 10 midway through the third quarter but was caught from behind when it appeared Bly began celebrating during his return. Ryan swiped at the loose ball on the ground before center Todd McClure fell on it for the Falcons.
Shaun Hill struggled mightily, and so did the entire San Francisco offense. Hill's perfect 7-0 record at home as a starter evaporated. The 49ers clearly miss star running back Frank Gore, out until after the bye with a sprained ankle.
Hill completed only four of his first 15 passes and finished the day 15 for 38 for 198 yards and three sacks, not a good sign for Singletary as he strives for a more balanced attack. Rookie Glen Coffee ran for his first career touchdown in the first quarter but the 49ers did little else right. Joe Nedney kicked a 39-yard field goal but also missed wide right on a 48-yarder.
San Francisco lost strong safety Michael Lewis to his third concussion of the season. He went down early in the third quarter after leading with his helmet trying to tackle Turner.
Lewis sustained two concussions during an 11-day span in the preseason.