The San Francisco 49ers, trailing the Atlanta Falcons 10-0 at halftime, came back to win, 35-16, Sunday.
So what did Coach Bill Walsh tell his team at halftime?
“I didn’t say anything special,” he said. “All we had to do was repeat the score. This is a mature team, they knew they had to get themselves going.”
Quarterback Joe Montana, who completed 19 of 26 passes for 204 yards and 1 touchdown, said there wasn’t any sense of panic in the 49er locker room at halftime.
“Basically, we felt that we’ve been down before and 10 points was nothing.”
For Atlanta, it was the second frustrating loss in a row. The Falcons dropped their opener, 28-27, to the Detroit Lions.
“It’s not easy to start off 0-2,” quarterback Steve Bartkowski said. “But we have 14 games left. We were a little better today than in our opener and now we just have to put a whole game together.”
The Falcons came out picking on defensive back Ronnie Lott and burned the former Trojan on a 17-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Allen to take a 7-0 lead. However, Bartkowski said they were not going after Lott by design.
“You look at the 49ers for a weakness,” he said. “But weaknesses are awful hard to find. We didn’t go in trying to attack anyone. We just tried to run our offensive scheme.”
Mick Luckhurst added field goals of 24, 48 and 29 yards for the Falcons.
Roger Craig’s 62-yard touchdown run, his fifth touchdown in two games, highlighted the 49ers’ 35-point second half.
The 49ers, who were 28-21 losers to Minnesota last week, heard some boos from the sellout Candlestick crowd during the first half Sunday, but the boos turned to cheers as they spurted to a 28-13 lead.
Craig ran nine yards for the 49ers’ first touchdown, and Montana scored the go-ahead touchdown on a one-yard quarterback sneak.
Montana’s touchdown was set up late in the third quarter by Bill Ring’s recovery of a fumble by punt returner Billy (White Shoes) Johnson, the NFL record-holder for punt-return yardage. Ring knocked the ball loose, then made the recovery at the Atlanta 21.
Montana threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Dwight Clark in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, and Craig’s 62-yard touchdown run came less than three minutes later.
The final 49er touchdown, a four-yard run by Wendell Tyler, was set up when the 49ers got possession at the Atlanta four after a bad snap on a punt attempt.
Atlanta starting cornerback James Britt suffered a broken leg early in the final quarter, and backup cornerback Tiger Greene suffered a knee injury.