SAN FRANCISCO (31) d NEW ORLEANS (21)
The Headline: 49ers do it the old fashioned way to burst Saints bubble
Despite all of the drama surrounding their team this season, the Saints offense still looks really good from time to time. They have struggled with execution from time to time but they are still fighting and not giving up on the 2012 season. Unfortunately for them their defense this year sucks, and this week the 49ers offense was very efficient if not spectacular and the 49ers defense was ruthless in an impressive road beatdown of the Super Bowl hosts. For the first half, my pick of the Saints pulling off the upset was looking decent with a 14-14 scoreline but then San Francisco stepped things up a notch and really started to give their team the edge. Capitalising on the momentum generated off an Ahmad Brooks interception touchdown right before halftime, the 49ers scored two early touchdowns in the third quarter and from there the blowout was on.
Key Stat: Drew Brees: sacked 5 times
While guys like Chris Ivory and Pierre Thomas are great stories, their potential as NFL players is somewhat limited. This leaves their offensive success resting solely on the shoulders of Drew Brees and in this game, he was thrown out of sync by being under constant pressure from the San Francisco front. Justin and Aldon Smith were the chief destroyers once more combining for 3 sacks on Brees and making his life a living hell despite operating in the comfortable confines of his own stadium.
Key Play: Patrick Robinson interception return for a touchdown
Having just gone up 21-14 on a Frank Gore touchdown, the last thing the 49ers wanted was the Saints scoring another touchdown to level things up again. Before that could happen, Brees threw his second interception return for a touchdown on the afternoon to give the 49ers a two score lead. For most teams it would not be the end of the game but against that defense and with their struggles so far, you knew it would be just a bit much for the undermanned Saints.
Man of the Match: Delanie Walker
3 catches, 81 yards
Walker only had 3 catches but they were all crucial to his team’s success as the Saints seemed to be unable to prevent Colin Kaepernick looking his way when it came time for a big play to be generated. With Vernon Davis being blanked in this game, Walker was able to step up and produce in his absence.