Drew Brees after the hit:
In the woulda, coulda, shoulda game, the Niners barely pulled this one out over the mighty Saints in N’Awlins. If Frank Gore woulda caught the swing pass with 40 yards of shiny plastic turf in front of him, the Niners woulda scored and salted the game away. If the Niners coulda managed the clock and the red flag situation a tad better they coulda scored going into halftime. And, finally, the ref shoulda eaten his flag on the Ahmad Brooks sack of Drew Brees and subsequent fumble recovery by Patrick Willis in the closing moments of the 4th quarter.
As it was, Gore dropped the pass, Mangina, Kappy, Harbaugh and co. wasted all their TOs in the 1st half on a) the 1st series, and b-c) two challenges that were patently obvious to be nowhere near being overturned, and the ref threw the flag on the sack/fumble.
(Insert rant here: At what point do we just declare all sacks penalties? Or make it 2 hand touch on the QB? Brooks did not go for Brees’s’s’ head. He hit Brees across the chest and his arm slid up to Brees’ neck. Savage hit? Undoubtedly. Penalty-worthy? If so, then what do defensive players aim for? Below the waist is off-limits. The head is off limits. You can’t extend your arms to tackle the QB. If the upper chest is off limits, then you basically have an area of 12″ below the armpits and above the waist. You’re better off letting the QB run in circles, I suppose. These defenders have enough to worry about trying just to get to the QB. Now they have to stop and figure out the correct way to properly tackle the QB? Thanks for ruining the game Goodie Goodell. Goodell is all about safety, except where it comes in direct violation of slowing the money train. Can you say Thursday Night Football? Football in England for no particluar reason?)
Anyhow, this game will get dissected, like the last one, as to who f*cked up harder to lose the game. There were some positives around the loss. The play-calling was a little better. When the Niners put 4 WRs in a formation, 3 were actually WRs! An improvement (the downside was seeing Osgood on special teams make a special bus play to give the Saints 15 free yards on their final drive). The Niners took advantage of the NO mistakes. They scored a TD on the muffed punt, a TD on the Brooks pick, and got a FG on the forced fumble on the pick by Kappy. The situation they didn’t quite capitalize on was when NO went for it and failed on 4th and 4 on the SF 40, a play that would have been dissed heavily had NO lost, giving the Niners great field position. As it was they kicked a FG.
After that, it was 3 and out city. The offense did no favors to the defense by going 3 and out their last 2 drives to close out the game. Gore’s drop came after the Saints had closed the gap to 20-17, and he had a good 20-30 yards of clear sailing ahead of him. As I said. Woulda Coulda Shoulda. This is getting eerily rem,inidcent of the Nolan days where we played well eough to lose close games. This used to be a different story. Seattle, for all thier struggles in these recent games, figured out a way to win. Not to lose. Hence their 9-1 record.
My biggest peeve is not only do opposing DBs not honor our non-exisetent deep passing game, OUR OWN WRs don’t honor it at all as well. Jon Baldwin didn’t even bother looking for the deep ball thrown his way late in the game. He half-assed the route and was startled by the UFO that floated past his head.
The good news? Well, seeing as this is our 2nd 2-game losing streak, this team has the wherewithall to rip off 3 or 4 wins at the expense of some upcoming shitty teams. THese guys should be able to win 5 of the last 6 games. 11-5 should get them in.