As a lifelong fan of football, and someone who vividly remembers back to the Bartkowski years, I'd be lying if I said that the loss to the 49ers didn't hurt more than almost any game I've watched the Falcons play. More than the 1998 Super Bowl loss. More than the 1980 loss to Dallas. More than the Vick lead loss to the Eagles in the NFC Championship.

As a fan, my initial reaction was to look for who to blame. Was it Ryan and the fumble in the fourth quarter? Or maybe it was the defense and their inability to stop Kaepernick. Maybe it was the coaches - maybe they did something that kept this team from excelling. Or maybe it was special teams - unable to pin back the 49ers deep enough when we needed it.

And here's the thing: all of those were factors. But none of them was the sole factor. Football is deeper than that, where a single play or a single call is never the deciding factor of the whole game. There are always plays and points left on the field and there's always another team across the line of scrimmage. To say a team "lost" a game often ignores the fact that the other team was also capable of winning it.