49ers lead Falcons 3-0 after 1st quarter

JOSH DUBOW AP Sports Writer Published:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Phil Dawson kicked a 49-yard field goal on San Francisco's opening drive and the 49ers took a 3-0 lead after the first quarter against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night in the final regular-season game at Candlestick Park.

The 49ers (10-4) need a win over the Falcons (4-10) to clinch a playoff berth but they still need help if they want to win the division and secure at least one home playoff game. San Francisco needs to win its final two games and have Seattle lose at home next week to St. Louis to win the division.

It was a celebratory night with a star presence, with Hall of Famers Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Willie Mays and Willie McCovey all in attendance at the stadium that used to be the home of the San Francisco Giants. Even the end zones were painted red -- something usually reserved for playoff games.

It was the 358th game played at Candlestick by the 49ers since moving here in 1971, including the playoffs. No opponent has lost more times here than the Falcons, who are 10-23 heading into Monday night.

The Niners will move into $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara while Candlestick waits out its implosion day, likely in late 2014.

San Francisco forced a punt on the opening possession of the game and then drove down for the first score. Colin Kaepernick completed a pair of passes to Anquan Boldin and scrambled for 8 yards before getting sacked on third-and-2 from the 29.

Dawson came in and hit his franchise-record 25th straight field goal to give the Niners a 3-0 lead.

The Falcons were forced to punt again on their second drive.

The 49ers were driving at the end of the first quarter thanks to a 22-yard pass to Boldin on third down that put him over 1,000 yards receiving for the first time since 2009.

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