FanDuel - WFBC

January 14, 2012

49ers Win Thriller Over Saints: In a game that featured four lead changes in the final 4:02, the San Francisco 49ers defeated the New Orleans Saints to advance to the NFC Championship Game. San Fran quarterback Alex Smith ran for a 28-yard touchdown and threw a 14-yard touchdown to tight end Vernon Davis in the waning minutes.

posted by rcade to football at 08:55 PM - 18 comments

Yeah, end of 2nd quarter and SF is doing everything they can to let New Orleans back in.

posted by jeremias at 05:57 PM on January 14

I'm glad for Alex Smith. That guy has paid some dues before achieving postseason success. Watching Vernon Davis cry was nice, too. Stop making me like you, Niners.

Does their kickoff team always dance like that while standing close to each other before the kick?

posted by rcade at 08:58 PM on January 14

That.
Was.
Bonkers.

posted by grum@work at 09:25 PM on January 14

Between LSU and the Saints, worst week in Louisiana sports since Governor Edwin Edwards lost the state pension fund betting on the ponies at the New Orleans Fair Grounds.

Good on the niners -- I thought they were done after the Sproles touchdown and thought they were done after the Graham touchdown.

Fearless prediction -- Gregg Lewis will be fired/let go/not re-signed within the next few weeks.

posted by holden at 09:30 PM on January 14

As much as I wanted New Orleans to win, and I think they'd win 7 of 10 (and better in the Super Dome), you can't turn over the ball that many times and expect, or deserve to win.

posted by justgary at 09:49 PM on January 14

You can't give up touchdowns that easily and expect to win a Super Bowl. The Saints were exposed.

posted by rcade at 09:55 PM on January 14

The Saints were exposed.

As what? That looked like the saints I've watched all year. No one thought their defense was that good. And there offense scored 32 against a 'great' defense. The sloppy turnovers did them in.

You can win with a great offense and average defense. You can't win with 5 turnovers, no matter how good your offense, and especially with an average defense.

posted by justgary at 10:01 PM on January 14

I think if Brees threw more short passes, the Saints would've won the game. Just too many long bombs, but I guess that's his style. The 49ers secondary played deep and out of their minds and it didn't look like the Saints offense made any adjustments.

Watching the Saints claw their way back was impressive. They should've locked it up. I hate Jim Harbaugh and am sad to see him get closer to a Super Bowl ring.

posted by phaedon at 10:53 PM on January 14

Fearless prediction -- Gregg Lewis will be fired/let go/not re-signed within the next few weeks.

Wasn't this the same D that kept an O in the game that committed 4 first half turnovers? The game was the skill player's loss for having butter fingers.

posted by jmd82 at 11:02 PM on January 14

I was so sure that neither team was going to come back after Sproles' TD, but then it happened three times.

I was literally jumping out of my seat each time it happened, while yelling "That's the game!"

That Alex Smith bootleg was awesome.

posted by grum@work at 11:52 PM on January 14

Wasn't this the same D that kept an O in the game that committed 4 first half turnovers? The game was the skill player's loss for having butter fingers.

Fair point, but you still have to be able to hold a lead after going up twice in the last 4 minutes. Particularly on the last one, have to hold the 49ers to a field goal at best and force overtime.

It's obviously all not on the D-coordinator, as the Saints need to invest in the defense through the draft and free agency. But I just would not be surprised to see Williams scapegoated (fairly or not). Plus, blowing the lead made my six year old cry and say he's going to start rooting for the Bears (not sure he understands the misery in that, but, hey, we live in Chicago).

posted by holden at 11:58 PM on January 14

One of the most exciting games I've seen in years. Balanced out the snoozer of the Patriots/Broncos game.

posted by Joey Michaels at 05:32 AM on January 15

There goes half of my Super Bowl pick. But I imagine there will be other bottom feeders in our football pool after that game.

Although NO almost pulled it off, it's tough to have to come back after 5 turnovers. But their comebacks don't matter. Bottom line is they lost.

First Tebow and the Steelers, now this.

posted by roberts at 07:07 AM on January 15

I don't like Harbaugh either, but I admire his team for going for 6 and the win with a bootleg rather than the sure 3 and OT. Fortune favors the bold.

N.O. should hold their first 2012-13 team practice today- for RB's, wideouts, LB's and DB's. The focus: holding onto the football when it's in your hands.

The Saints freely admitting with somewhat of an "aw shucks" attitude that their defenders can't catch a thrown ball is annoying. It's in the same category with Bobby Bowden's "I can't roster a dadgum placekicker".

posted by beaverboard at 07:28 AM on January 15

As what? That looked like the saints I've watched all year. No one thought their defense was that good. And there offense scored 32 against a 'great' defense. The sloppy turnovers did them in.

Their defense was exposed as incredibly soft. The Saints turnovers didn't decide the game -- they had victory in their hands twice in the last four minutes. But the Brees magic was erased by terrible defensive play.

We talk about the offense mounting great last-minute comebacks, but it's just as decisive when a defense can kill a last-minute drive. I was expecting the Saints to do it -- twice! -- but they weren't the Super Bowl-caliber team I expected to see Saturday.

Still, that was an incredible end-around call on the Smith touchdown run. I can't recall the last time I saw that called for a non-running quarterback.

posted by rcade at 09:04 AM on January 15

I don't like Harbaugh either, but I admire his team for going for 6 and the win with a bootleg rather than the sure 3 and OT. Fortune favors the bold.

The sure 3 would have given them the lead, and quite possibly the game had they converted the first down but not scored. By that point New Orleans didn't have enough time outs to stop the clock.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 09:52 AM on January 15

The Saints turnovers didn't decide the game

Eh, you're just fucking with me now. A team, on the road in the playoffs, doesn't deserve to win with 5 turnovers. Take away the 5 turnovers, Saints win.

The Saints defense was good enough to win a super bowl with an offense that didn't give the ball away. If the Saints have a good to great defense do they win that game? Amazingly, yes. But the game should not have been that close at the end.

posted by justgary at 01:43 PM on January 15

New Orleans Saints' heartbreaking playoff loss is going to hurt for a while

And even though the defense stiffened and allowed just 13 points on those gifts (two field goals and a three-play, 4-yard touchdown "drive"), they were 13 points the Niners didn't really have to earn.

And:

Regardless of whether aggression is in the DNA of the Saints' defense, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and his staff absolutely shouldn't have been blitzing Smith on second-and-10 from the 49ers' 33-yard line, with 40 seconds left.

As contrary as two-deep coverage might be to their nature, and as much as the collective defense might break out in hives if asked to execute the scheme, if ever there was a time to run it, it was with 40 seconds remaining and the opponent 67 yards away from the end zone.

Instead, Smith connected with Davis, his splendid tight end who caught seven passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns, on a 47-yard pass while in man coverage against free safety Malcolm Jenkins.

posted by justgary at 08:38 PM on January 15

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