The Falcons (14-4) were denied their second Super Bowl appearance. They lost to Denver in the Super Bowl following the 1998 season.
Despite all the passing yards, Ryan was hurt by two turnovers: an interception and a lost fumble on a shotgun snap.
Penalties didn't help, either.
The Falcons set NFL record lows for a 16-game schedule with 55 penalties for 415 yards, but coach Mike Smith bemoaned two personal fouls against his team. Linebacker Stephen Nicholas was called for unnecessary roughness in the first half.
A more crucial call came late in the third quarter when defensive end Cliff Matthews hit 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's helmet. If not for the roughing the passer penalty, the Falcons would have had a third-down stop.
"I asked and it was explained to me as forcible contact to the quarterback on the third down that would have gotten us off the field," Smith said. "By rule if it's forcible, it is a penalty. If it's a grazing blow, it's not a penalty."