49ers claim playoff spot in dramatic fashion

Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:13am EST
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(Reuters) - A dramatic, fourth-quarter interception return clinched a playoff spot for the San Francisco 49ers as they edged the Atlanta Falcons 34-24 on Monday to celebrate their final regular season game at Candlestick Park.

With the 49ers leading just 27-24 and about two minutes left, Atlanta drove down to San Francisco's 10 yard-line before quarterback Matt Ryan saw his pass intercepted by Navorro Bowman, who took it 89 yards for the clinching score.

"Just reading the quarterback. I was just running to the ball, it popped up and I was able to make a play for my team," Bowman told reporters.

"A lot of history in this stadium, and for this to be the last game we could not leave with the (loss)."

The wild finish put San Francisco (11-4) back in the playoffs after reaching the Super Bowl last season.

They still have a chance to capture the NFC West division if they win next week's season finale and the first-place Seattle Seahawks (12-3) lose.

More than likely, however, the 49ers have played their last game at the Candlestick Park Stadium where they have a 42-year history and indelible memories of five Super Bowl winning seasons.

They are set to move into a new stadium next season.

San Francisco's successful sendoff was sparked by Colin Kaepernick, who tossed for 197 yards and a score, and ran for 51 and another TD.   Continued...

Dec 23, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) passes the ball with pressure from Atlanta Falcons defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi (96) protected by San Francisco 49ers tackle Joe Staley (74) during the second quarter of the final regular season game at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports