Falcons beat the 49ers and convince their coach to celebrate

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Arthur Smith's postgame beers with his Atlanta Falcons offensive linemen Sunday after his team beat the San Francisco 49ers wasn't his idea-- it was his players.

On Monday, Smith said the offensive line approached him during the team's Saturday walkthrough practice and posed the concept of the postgame beer in one of the sideline club lounges inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

"I ran it up the flagpole, I guess, and they said 'Sure,' " Smith said. "And so the line, the game ended, we won and they ran for over 100 yards so we went in there and had a beer."

Those were the stipulations for the postgame beer social to happen: Beat the 49ers. Have over 100 yards rushing.

Atlanta beat San Francisco, 28-14, and ran for 168 yards. It was the fifth time this season the Falcons have eclipsed 150 yards rushing. So when the game ended, a round of Bud Lights with Smith, offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford, the offensive line staff and players it was.

And since it was in one of the sideline clubs, fans were there to watch and take part, too. The offensive linemen, Smith and Ledford can be seen toasting themselves in the video while holding -- and then downing -- Bud Lights. At the end, captain Jake Matthews is seen looking at the camera saying, 'Yeah, baby.'

"Credit to them, it wasn't some marketing ploy," Smith said. "It was led by them and it was organic and I thought it was fine.

"I don't know if I am going to get fined or not. I really don't care."

Smith and his line celebrated after getting the Falcons back to .500 again by knocking off the top run defense in the league entering Sunday. San Francisco averaged 71.4 yards allowed per game before the Falcons, who more than doubled up that average.

The Falcons' 991 rushing yards are third in the league, as are Atlanta's 165.2 rushing yards per game. The Falcons rank in the Top 10 in the league in every significant rushing category.

Smith, the team's offensive play-caller as well as their head coach, has wanted a strong run game since he arrived in Atlanta last year. That he's doing it even with Cordarrelle Patterson, who was in the top five in rushing yards before he went on injured reserve with a knee injury two weeks ago, is even more impressive.

But a move like this can also help set and sustain a culture. The players asked Smith for a request. Smith researched, obliged and followed through with a postgame drink.

You just don't see NFL teams do this. But there has never been a question Smith enjoys coaching this particular team. Smith has said it over and over again. The vibe within the team's locker room has been genuine and real, and a gesture like this can go a long way.