49ers

49ers-Bears injury report: Matt Breida limited, nearly everyone healthy

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49ers-Bears injury report: Matt Breida limited, nearly everyone healthy

SANTA CLARA – Running back Matt Breida, who left Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks in overtime with an aggravation of an ankle injury, took part in limited practice Wednesday.

The 49ers return to action Sunday against the Chicago Bears at Levi’s Stadium. Special-teamer Mark Nzeocha was the only 49ers player who did not participate in practice Wednesday due to an injury. Nzeocha, a Pro Bowl alternate, sat out with a groin injury.

Left tackle Joe Staley took his usual Wednesday off. He is scheduled to return to practice on Thursday.

The 49ers expect to have nearly everyone available for Sunday’s game. On Tuesday, the 49ers placed cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon on injured reserve with a knee injury. The 49ers re-signed defensive back Tyvis Powell to take his place.

Former 49ers outside linebacker Aaron Lynch did not practice for the Bears due to an elbow injury. Lynch, a fifth-year pro, has appeared in 13 games with three starts. He has 16 tackles and three sacks.

49ers practice report

WEDNESDAY
Did not practice
LB Mark Nzeocha (groin)
T Joe Staley (not injury related)

Limited practice
RB Matt Breida (ankle)
S Antone Exum (hip)
C Weston Richburg (knee)
LB Malcolm Smith (achilles)
S Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder)
CB K'Waun Williams (knee)

Bears practice report

WEDNESDAY
Did not practice
S Eddie Jackson (ankle)
LB Aaron Lynch (elbow)

49ers have no argument with referee's call on final play in wild loss

49ers have no argument with referee's call on final play in wild loss

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers’ 29-22 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday included a bizarre finish in which two officiating rulings in the final eight seconds were overturned after replay reviews.

After time had clicked off the scoreboard, and the 49ers had thought they won the game, a call of Falcons receiver Julio Jones being stopped short of the goal line was reviewed by referee Craig Wrolstad and NFL vice president of officiating Al Riveron in New York.

Ultimately, Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan was credited with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jones. If the call had stood as called on the field, the 49ers would have survived with a 22-17 victory.

Instead, the 49ers were left with an agonizing loss that drops them out of the top spot in the NFC West.

It was determined the football in Jones’ hands broke the plane of the goal line, Riveron told a pool reporter from NBC Sports Bay Area. All reviews with less than two minutes remaining are initiated by a replay official.

“We see the player gain control of the football,” Riveron said. “We see two feet on the ground. And we see what we say is ‘brown breaking white,’ which is the football breaking the plane of the goal line in control. He completes the process, therefore, it’s a touchdown.”

Riveron said the camera was directly down the goal line, which provided a conclusive angle for the replay of the game-deciding play.

“We’re looking right down the goal line,” Riveron said. “As a matter of fact, if you look at the replay, you can see the official at the other end, on the other sideline, the official that doesn’t signal anything and we’re looking at him right down the line.

“It’s clear and obvious to us that he gains control with two feet on the ground, completes the process and brown breaks white.”

San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan said he had no issue with the reversal of the original call after seeing the replay shown on the video boards inside Levi’s Stadium.

“That’s what I saw on the scoreboard, too,” Shanahan said.

A split-second after Jones made the catch near the goal line, 49ers safety Jimmie Ward hit Jones low, while nickel back D.J. Reed converged in an attempt to keep Jones out of the end zone. When Jones landed he was still on the field of play, which gave the illusion to almost all in attendance that he did not score.

“I was confident, but at the same time, I didn’t know how close he was to the goal line,” Ward said. “It was bang-bang play.”

After two seconds were placed back on the clock because the timing stops after a touchdown. The Falcons waived their right to go for the extra point with their 23-22 lead.

Then, Atlanta scored another touchdown on the final play of the game when Olamide Zaccheaus scored on a recovery of Raheem Mostert’s errant lateral on the ensuing kickoff.

It looked as if the 49ers had lost the game one play earlier when Atlanta tight end Austin Hooper was originally ruled to have caught a touchdown pass with :05 remaining. Hooper appeared to catch the ball against right coverage from 49ers safety Marcell Harris.

But Hooper had the ball in his right hand and the ball touched the ground. He lost control of the ball, which prevented him from completing the act of completing the catch, Riveron said.

“We see that the player gets control of the football, he gets two feet down, but he doesn’t make a football move,” Riveron said. “The ball actually takes him to the ground. This is the one remaining situation where you have two steps, but if you don’t have a football move, you’re going to the ground, you must survive the ground.

“In this situation, he takes the ball, it hits the ground and then he loses control of the football when he comes back up. Therefore, it’s an incomplete pass.”

The 49ers’ excitement of seeing that play overturned did not last long, though.

[RELATED: Crazy finish to 49ers-Falcons results in bad beat for bettors]

“I just felt my heart drop,” said 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw, who was directly behind the play on which Jones was ruled to have scored the winning touchdown.

“I saw the replay, and when he caught it, maybe it could’ve been across it (the goal line). I mean, the refs know what they’re doing. I thought it could go either way.”

49ers disappointed with Falcons loss, but still control playoff destiny

49ers disappointed with Falcons loss, but still control playoff destiny

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers clinched their first playoff appearance since the 2013 season.

Ordinarily, that would be an accomplishment to celebrate.

But nobody in the 49ers’ locker room was in a festive mood after their lackluster 29-22 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.

In fact, the longest-tenured member of the team did not even know San Francisco had punched its ticket to the postseason, ending a five-year playoff drought.

“Clinched?” Joe Staley asked. “I didn’t even know that.”

Although the 49ers dropped to 11-3 and from the No. 1 seed in the NFC to No. 5, currently, they are assured of going to the playoffs. The Seattle Seahawks, also 11-3, sit atop the NFC West. The 49ers' postseason spot was guaranteed when the Los Angeles Rams lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 44-21, ensuring that the Rams will not be able to surpass the 49ers for an NFC wild-card spot.

“Yeah, that’s weird,” Staley said. “It doesn’t even feel good. We want to clinch by winning. But the main thing is we have two games left this season and if we take care of business and we play how we know we’re capable of playing in this locker room, we’ll look back on this as a huge learning experience from the season and we’ll carry that forward into the playoffs.”

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed 22 of 34 pass attempts for 200 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. The 49ers were unable to keep their momentum going following their emotional Week 14 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

“It’s mixed emotions right now,” Garoppolo said. “I mean, it’s always good to get in the playoffs and everything but how it happened is tough.”

Tight end George Kittle was lamenting the energy with which the 49ers played on Sunday. But he said the difficult loss to the Falcons can also serve as a valuable reminder to how quickly things can end once the playoffs begin.

“If we don’t play at our level, you know, like we played last week or like we’ve played all season, anybody can get beat on any Sunday, and we definitely have to play better,” Kittle said. “I don’t think we played with any kind of intensity that we’ve been playing all year, and we got to figure out that.”

But, for the 49ers, it is still simple math.

If the team can defeat the Rams on Sunday, then beat the Seahawks in Week 17, the 49ers will win the NFC West, earn the top seed and home-field advantage in the playoffs, as well as receiving a valuable bye week in the postseason. Currently, the Seahawks hold the top spot in the division based on their Nov. 11 overtime victory over the 49ers.

[RELATED: Where 49ers stand in NFC playoff picture after Falcons loss]

“When it’s in your control, it’s a good feeling,” Kittle said. “It’s our first time in the position. We didn’t get it done today. But we’ve played a lot of really good football, and I think we’ll definitely be back to that. And hopefully this lights a little bit of a fire under us.”