Roddy White: Falcons 'outcoached' on key NFC title game play

The 49ers react after NaVorro Bowman knocks away a 4th-down pass to Roddy White in the NFC title game. (USATSI)

The Falcons’ season basically ended on 4th-and-4 at the 49ers’ 10.

Matt Ryan tried to hit Roddy White over the middle, linebacker NaVorro Bowman reached over to knock the pass away with 1:13 left, and San Francisco salted away a 28-24 NFC Championship Game win.

In a wide-ranging interview Wednesday on “ESPN First Take,” White recapped the critical play:

“We called a play in the huddle and the play was for the ball to be thrown to me,” he said. “They played a coverage they hadn’t played to that formation, ever. This was the first time they had done this throughout the season, throughout the game.”

Asked if coaching was a factor, White replied: “We just got outcoached on that one play.” White, it should be noted, said it with a smile.

Bowman held him, White said, but added refs usually let that go within five to six yards of the line of scrimmage. White defended Ryan targeting him even though he was covered; he said it was a three-step drop and the play "is either there or it ain't there."

With Tony Gonzalez returning to join Ryan, White, Julio Jones and newly-signed Steven Jackson on offense, White said the Falcons are approaching this season as “Super Bowl or bust.”

“Anything short of that is not a good season for us right now," he said.

White thinks Jackson is an upgrade over the released Michael Turner “because he's a three-down back.

"When you have a guy like that, nothing changes. You just go out there and play. The defense has to guess and try to make a guess at what you're doing. ... Is it run? ... Is it pass? It will be a whole lot different."

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