The 49ers went down to N’awlins and came back with a 31-21 victory over the Saints.
I hate the Saints. I hate the Cowboys and some other teams too, but the hate I have for the Saints burns hot, high and bright. Not like I want anything bad to happen to Drew Brees or anyone on the team, but I hate the way those swaggering, thuggish, roguish mofos act like they are they are the most formidable offense in the NFL. Let’s get this straight. The Saints are only as good as Brees is on any given Sunday. If he’s having a bad game, there is no “Plan B” to fall back on.
The Saints running backs are Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory and Mark Ingram and all of them are given a chance to tote the rock. Whenever a team uses a running back by committee approach it means they don’t have one that’s good enough to deserve the majority of the carries. Marcus Colston is a fine wide receiver, but he doesn’t dominate the way a Calvin Johnson. The only guy who dominates is tight end Jimmy Graham, but his four receptions for 33 yards made no difference on the game’s outcome.
As for the Saints defense, as good as the offense is, the defense is just as bad. No wonder head coach Sean Payton and ex-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams instituted their bounty program. The stiffs they dress up in those ugly black-on-black and gold-trimmed uniforms are among some of the most talentless losers in the league. I wouldn’t trade the worst player on the 49ers “D” for the best one on the Saints (and I can’t think of whom their best player might be).
As a 49ers fan, there was NOBODY I wanted them to beat more this season than the Saints. After the whole Bountygate mess from the playoffs, it’s an established fact the Saints are a dirty football team. Beating their butts in their own house in front of their fans only makes the win all the sweeter. Playoffs? Not for you, suckers!
The story for the sportswriters coming out of the game is the supposed “quarterback controversy” between Kapernick and Alex Smith. Look, no offense to Smith. He’s a good quarterback. He’s good enough to win more games than he loses and he’s good enough to make enough plays to get the Niners into the playoffs. As he showed against the Saints last January, he’s good enough to use his arm and his legs to win a big game,
But here’s the thing. After beating the Saints in the playoffs, the only thing standing between the Niners and a return to the Super Bowl was the New York Giants. The two fumbles by wide receiver Kyle Williams gave the game away to the G-Men and Smith had a solid, if unspectacular game (12-26, 196 yards, two TD’s), but only completed one pass to a wide receiver.
The Niners knew they had to upgrade their receivers and went out and signed Mario Manningham away from the Giants as a free agent, lured Randy Moss out of retirement and drafted A.J. Jenkins with their first pick in the draft. Manningham has only been okay, Moss has had flashes of former brilliance and Jenkins hasn’t played a single down (but may have to now that Williams is out for the season with a torn ACL).
None of that mattered when the Giants returned to San Francisco in Week 6 and rolled out with a 26-3 win that was never close and Smith was terrible throwing three interceptions and no touchdowns.
The Niners and the Giants look like they’re on a collision course to meet again in the playoffs. The Giants have beaten them two out of the last three games. Given another shot, Smith might be able to redeem himself from the beat down the Giants served up, but when the book on the 2012 season is written, that might have been the moment when head coach Jim Harbaugh realized how low Smith’s ceiling is.
When Smith suffered a concussion against the Rams it opened the door for Kapernick to stroll through as the starter. The unspoken rule in the NFL is a veteran isn’t supposed to lose his job due to injury. But ask Drew Bledsoe how Tom Brady made the most of his shot and never let it go.
In pro football the next man up is always one play away from starting. Maybe he’s only enjoying a few fleeting moments of glory before he crashes and burns but Kapernick is going to make the most of his chance. I’m a little conflicted about how he got that chance, but after seven seasons I already know what Alex Smith has to bring to the party. In Kapernick, the 49ers have a shiny new toy to play with. I’m curious to see how he handles the pressure.
- Golden Nuggets: 49ers 31, Saints 21; Colin Kaepernick, defense lead the way (ninersnation.com)
- Former Giants off to slow start with Niners (gmenhq.com)
- 49ers use stout defense to stifle Brees, cool off Saints (cbssports.com)