San Francisco's defense couldn't stop anything in the first half, giving up 24 points and 297 yards. But the 49ers turned up the defensive heat after halftime, holding the Falcons scoreless. Self-inflicted mistakes didn't help Atlanta's cause.
Roddy White slipped on a route in the third quarter, leading to an interception. Matt Ryan saw a 49ers blitz coming, took his eyes off the ball and fumbled a snap. Still, Atlanta had a chance to win until stalling in the red zone on two consecutive incompletions with time running down.
On the final two plays, the 49ers' linebackers forced incompletions with deflections. No defense has a more versatile group of linebackers, which helped make up for a sagging pass rush Sunday.
San Francisco's offense showed off its versatility as well. One week after Colin Kaepernick ran wild against the Green Bay Packers, he mostly handed off Sunday. Frank Gore and LaMichael James continued to gash the Falcons on read-option plays in the second half. Kaepernick, meanwhile, hit the Falcons vertically again and again with passes up the seam to tight end Vernon Davis.
It was just two years ago when the 49ers out-maneuvered the Miami Dolphins in their bid to hire coach Jim Harbaugh. The organization's profile changed on that day to a physical football team that is extremely hard to prepare for. San Francisco can win defensive battles, and it's as explosive as any team offensively since Kaepernick took over at quarterback.
This is a 49ers squad that doesn't flinch. If you stop one part of their team, another will step up. They can win games in so many different ways.
Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.