I Got 49 Problems But the Saints Ain’t One

Get outta my way! I’m trying to keep this job!

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.

It’s Crunchtime in the Big Easy.

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.

It’s all fun and games until someone loses their job.

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.

Saving the Best for Last: The 49ers Shock the Saints

"I am a 49er. Hear me roar!"

The hero of the day in the San Francisco 49ers victory over the New Orleans Saints was tight end Vernon Davis who caught the game winning score from much maligned quarterback Alex Smith.  The 36-32 downing of the high-octane Saints gave the 49ers their first playoff win in nine years and punched their ticket for an appearance in the NFC Championship.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh and the front office deserve all the credit for making the 49ers this year’s most unlikely Super Bowl contender.  Some credit should go to Mike Singletary, the man Harbaugh replaced for being responsible for getting Davis to drop the diva act and tap into his incredible potential.

For a while Davis looked to be just another in long list of first round failures for the Niners.  Nobody questioned if Davis had the talent.  The question was whether he would ever pull his head out of his ass and tap into it..  Singletary was not a good coach.  What he was was an excellent motivator.  Davis was motivated by Singletary and Harbaugh coached him up.

While Smith-to-Davis isn’t a moment as iconic as Montana-to-Clark, give them time.  They had to endure a lot of crap to get to this moment of glory.

My wife and I are 49ers fans going back to “The Catch” which occurred 30 years ago this weekend.

Today we witnessed “The Catch II” or “The Grab” as some have dubbed Smith’s TD pass to Davis. Whatever the hell you want to call it after nearly nine years or wandering in the NFL wilderness, it feels really good to return to being a relevant team again..

I respect the Saints and I’m not going to lie: I expected them to win.  I felt the Niners had a chance to throw some blows and go toe-to-toe with the Saints’ explosive offense.  Drew Brees is crazy good, but I also thought if the Niners had to deal with the Saints, that was fine.  They had to deal with us too.

If this had been in the Superdome, I’m not sure the Niners would have won.  They worked hard to secure that home field advantage over the Saints and it paid off in full.

The cherry on top is how satisfying it is that this the Saints/49ers was merely supposed to be the opening act for the main event of Tom Brady vs. Tim “Touched By An Angel.”  Tebow in primetime.   Nobody pimped this game harder than ESPN. They have been riding Tebow’s dick even more than they were Brett Favre.  I didn’t think that was possible, but ESPN’s saturation coverage and endless hero worship proved it was.

Joke’s on you, ESPN.  There was only one football game that was Must See TV and it wasn’t in Foxboro.  Brady demolished Denver and sent Tebow packing until he can plan his resurrection next September.

I have nothing against Tim Tebow personally.  He seems like an earnest young man who loves playing football and giving the glory to Jesus Christ, but I watch football because I enjoy the sport.  I don’t want anyone’s religious beliefs up in my face.

Anyone remember Reggie White? He was religious, very conservative and after the game he would gather with players from both teams and pray. But White didn’t make a show of his faith. Tebow does and that’s annoying as hell.

It only took seven years for Alex Smith to get San Francisco to fall in love with him.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Reggie White was one of the greatest of all time at his position and a Hall of Famer. The only way Tebow gets in the Hall of Fame is if he waits in line and buys a ticket.

Enough about losers that are not longer relevant.  The Niners are moving on and the Saints and Broncos are cleaning out their lockers.  For the past nine years it’s been the other way around.   I don’t know who the Niners will match up against next Sunday, but I know they’re playing and that is something I haven’t been able to say since they were rolling up Super Bowl wins.

These 49ers are not the 49ers teams of Montana and Young.  They lean on playing stout defense, capitalizing on the other team’s mistakes while minimizing their own turnovers.   Frank Gore pounding the rock between the tackles is how Harbaugh prefers it instead of Alex Smith strafing secondaries with his arm.   It’s not glamorous and it sure ain’t sexy.  Sometimes it’s even a little bit boring.

But it’s damn efficient even if it runs counter to how the Packers, Patriots and the Saints do things.  Those teams were supposed to be contending for a Super Bowl ring.  The 49ers were supposed to be happy if they finished with a .500 record.  Nobody could have predicted this kind of success and nobody did.

Anyone who tell you they saw it coming is lying their ass off.