The Saints got an up close and personal look at the San Francisco 49ers and thanks to the playoffs so did the rest of the football watching world.
I had not watched the 49ers play a game all year. I had heard that they have a great defense and that their special teams was also very good. I had heard that Alex Smith was coming along as a QB. But honestly, I had dismissed them because of the caliber of teams and the division in which they play, which is one of the weakest in the NFL. I thought that they would give the Saints a little trouble, but I thought in the end the Saints would prevail.
Yesterday, I started changing my mind. I was down to a 3 point game, maybe in overtime, but still with the Saints winning. I wasn’t far from the truth on the 3 points and the almost overtime, but the winner wasn’t the Saints. The 49ers came away with the win and a new found bit of respect from me and probably a lot of other football watchers as well. The game was in fact one of the best I’ve seen all season long, so far.
The Saints didn’t help their cause any turning the ball over 5 times, blowing coverage on the defense. The Saints are not a good road team and once again they get into the playoffs, go on the road and get beaten. The Saints are a home and dome team. They just do not play as well out in the elements, away from home and on real grass. They were just lucky that the 49ers didn’t have them down by 40 by halftime given all the turnovers they committed.
The 49ers defense was all it was billed to be. Hard hitting, fast as in lightning fast, great down the field coverage, and always, ALWAYS after the ball. They made things absolutely miserable for Brees and the Saints. Then there’s the kicking game of the 49ers. Constantly pinning Sproles to the end zone on touchbacks or having him run it out only to be flattened by the defense after just a few years or have him commit yet another turnover. The 49ers played their defense from the outside in. It basically collapsed on the Saints every play.
The 49ers offense was lethal and balanced and just where it needed to be at just the right moments. Frank Gore was the absolute wrecking ball he has been. Vernon Davis made some absolutely stunning catches. Alex Smith put the ball where it needed to be and for the most part kept it away from the Saints defenders. The 49ers did what they needed to and the Saints didn’t do nearly enough.
The 49ers move on to the NFC Championship game and after yesterday’s game there aren’t many NFL watchers who are saying who ‘dat about them anymore.