The San Francisco 49ers swamped the NFL drama market all week with HC Jim Harbaugh’s C’mon Man! manure machine and then backed it up on Sunday in New Orleans, stomping the home town heroes 31-21 and putting a fork in the Saints’ 2012 playoff hopes.
The game turned on two plays near the end of the first half. With the Saints nursing a 14-7 lead, newly enthroned QB Colin Kaepernick threw an interception which gave the Saints a chance to take a 21-7 halftime lead. Instead, Niner OLB Ahmad Brooks drifted back into coverage, intercepted Drew Brees, and roared 50 yards for a TD that tied the game.
From that point on, it was all 49ers. Kaepernick opened the second half with a 2 minute, 47 second speed burner that put the Niners in the lead and a minute later SS Donte Whitner took another Brees interception 42 yards to the house. Suddenly, the 49ers led 28-14, with 21 straight unanswered points. After a Saints TD pulled them to within a TD, Kaepernick produced the drive of the year — a 16 play, 9 minute 28 second grinder that began with two minutes remaining in the third quarter and ended with a FG and only 7 minutes left in the game.
The 49er defense then took over the game and just mauled the Saints and Brees, sacking him 5 times, after he had been sacked only 16 times all year. You do not want to get behind on this Niner defense. They will kill you. And even if you aren’t behind, it’s not advisable to go over the middle if you are a WR. Dashon Goldson laid some serious Lottsian wood to the Saints’ receivers Sunday and has become arguably the most feared secondary hitter in the league.
It was a solid game from Kaepernick, but given the circumstances — the local and national media scrutiny, the burden of justifying Harbaugh’s faith in him, the spectre of a derailed season should he fail, and the red-hot Saints team playing in one one of the toughest home team venues in the NFL — it was a brilliant game. He was calm, cool, resilient, elusive, and deadly. The sky’s the limit for this kid and the rest of the NFL cannot be thrilled at this development. CK brings a dangerousness to the 49er offense that’s going to scare opposing defensive coordinators for a long, long time.
The victory, combined with the laughable loss by the Seahawks to the lowly Dolphins, pushed the 49er NFC West lead to 2.5 games with only five games left in the season. Seattle also got news last night that two of its starters in the secondary are facing four game suspensions for PED violations. It’s safe to say that Pete Carroll had a totally miserable Sunday night and a cross country plane flight home to drink it in. Hahahaha!