Saints 46, 49ers 48
Saints vs 49ers: Good, bad and ugly
In a battle of NFC heavyweights, the Saints and 49ers had a shootout. They combined for 94 points and almost 1,000 combined yards. Here are my observations:
-Michael Thomas continues to assault the record books. With another 12 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown, he now has 121 catches for 1303 yards and seven touchdowns. He's now 23 catches away from breaking Marvin Harrison's record for catches in a season.
-Drew Brees had another one of his future Hall of Fame-worthy performances with 29/40 for 349 yards and five touchdowns. The 49ers did their best to frustrate him and the Saints offense, but in a game like this, Brees kept his team in the game with his trademark accuracy.
-Deonte Harris is one of those players that makes things happen. His first three kick/punt returns totaled 107 yards and he had a rush for eight yards. Sean Payton called Harris could be the best return man in the league. So far, ge's proving him correct.
-The coverage down the field was astrocious. Jimmy Garoppolo completed 10 of his first 11 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns. There was even a trick play in which Ryan Mostert caught a touchdown pass from Emmanuel Sanders. This took place in the first half! The 49ers ended up averaging 8.2 yards per play.
-First lost fumble for the Saints all year led to a go ahead 49er touchdown. Alvin Kamara had the ball poked out deep inside Saints territory when they were up 30-28. That was the only turnover for the Saints, but it was very costly.
-The defense not only couldn't cover, they couldn't stop the run either. They gvae up 162 yards on the ground. Run defense has been their calling card this season. Well, they sure didn't answer that call today.
-Sean Payton's aggressiveness can sometimes be a hinderance. I disagree with the two-point conversion attempt after the second touchdown. Unnecessary two-point attempts can come back to haunt you. Plus it showed a play they could've saved for another situation. They went into halftime down by one and ended up losing because of it. Had they kicked that extra point and the one in the 4th quarter with 53 seconds left, they could've won or at least gone into overtime.
-Two times on 3rd downs on a 49er drive in the 4th quarter C.J. Gardner-Johnson was called for penalties that extended the drive and ultimately led to a touchdown. The personal foul penalty was horse shit! If a receiver changes his body position and a defender is already closing in, how the hell is he supposed to be responsible for hitting a guy in the helmet?!? The Saints lead the league in 3rd down penalties and 3rd down penalties that result in 1st downs.
-Jared Cook left the game with a concussion after catching his second touchdown. On the catch, he was hit in the head and immediately went limp. It hurt the offense because he looked to have been in the game plan to make big plays. He didn't return to the game.
This was a great game. However, coming up short because of stupid penalties, miscommunications on defense, and getting overly aggressive with an early two-point conversion that went awry will cost you close games. Fortunately for the Saints, all these mistakes are correctable. Unfortunately, the stupid penalties have been an ongoing theme this season. Marcus Williams' facemask on George Kittles' 39 yard catch to set up the game winning field goal made a potential 40 plus yard field goal a 30 yarder. The Saints now have almost no hope for homefield advantage in the NFC. They need to concentrate on winning out. They have the Colts, Titans, and Panthers left.