ATLANTA – The 49ers were beaten badly in the first half while four of their players exited the game with injuries.
Wide receiver Quinton Patton sustained a foot injury in the second quarter against the Atlanta Falcons and was immediately ruled out from returning. Jimmie Ward (shoulder), linebacker Nick Bellore (elbow) and tight end Blake Bell (shoulder) also left the game with first-half injuries.
Patton and Bellore were ruled out, while the 49ers announced the returns of Ward and Bell as “questionable.” Bell sustained a right shoulder injury on a 45-yard reception in the second quarter. Ward was taken off the 49ers’ sideline and back to the locker room on a cart.
The Falcons scored touchdowns on four of their first five possessions for a 28-13 lead at halftime.
The only time the 49ers stopped the Falcons came at the goal line when linebacker Michael Wilhoite stripped running back Devonta Freeman of the ball just before he got into the end zone.
With Patton out of the lineup, the 49ers were without their starting outside receivers. Torrey Smith did not make the trip to face the Atlanta Falcons due to a concussion he sustained a week earlier against the New York Jets.
The 49ers’ biggest weakness was at inside linebacker after Bellore was injured on the team’s third defensive play.
Linebacker Gerald Hodges, who started the previous eight games, was deactivated for violating team rules, the 49ers announced before the game. His deactivation left the 49ers with just two inside linebackers in uniform to open the game.
Vinnie Sunseri replaced Bellore for the remainder of the first drive, which ended with Freeman’s 5-yard touchdown run. On the next series, veteran safety Antoine Bethea took over at inside linebacker. Then, it was Ahmad Brooks’ turn.