Blog Entry

Don't forget to give Niners defense credit

Posted on: January 14, 2012 9:11 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 10:08 pm
49ers defensive end Justin Smith was all over Brees Saturday. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

The 49ers victory over New Orleans on Saturday might very well go down as one of the all-time great playoffs games. And Alex Smith is going to get a lot of credit for morphing into Joe Montana and leading the 49ers to a pair of lead-grabbing drives with less than 150 seconds on the clock. He deserves that credit, but let's not forget the effort that the Niners defense put forth against Drew Brees and the Saints for the majority of the game.

As we noted at halftime, San Francisco's physical play disrupted Brees, shut down any sort of rushing attack for the Saints and led to 13 points for a Niners offense that lost its identity for most of the game.

In fact, the Niners could've blown out the Saints if the offense had shown up for the first three quarters; even the Niners long scoring drive in the first quarter came off a Pierre Thomas fumble forced by Donte Whitner.

The secondary was resplendent with the exception of giving up two big plays to Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles, and Carlos Rogers so many big plays you could practically hear the general area of Washington D.C. groaning in collective misery.

Justin Smith showed precisely why many people believe he was the best defensive player in the NFL this year and through most of three quarters, the Niners played what might've been the best defensive football this season. And rookie Aldon Smith continued to flash big-time potential, forcing his way through blocks to pressure Brees.

The offense simply didn't come to play for the second and third quarters, and for much of the game, the playcalling was curious. That's not to knock Greg Roman because the plays he busted out in the final three minutes more than made up for it, but the Niners still only ran the ball 22 times. That makes zero sense, especially with a 17-0 lead early on.

Whatever, the offense came through when it needed to, but in the wake of handing Smith all the due credit he deserves, let's not forget to give props to the defense for not just keeping the Niners in the game early, but actually offering San Francisco a chance to run away with an upset victory that eventually came anyway.

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Since: Jan 21, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2012 3:02 am

Don't forget to give Niners defense credit

I thought that 49ers' and Saints' defensive lines play extremely well, putting pressure on the QBs constantly. But, it was the 49ers ball-hawking skills that lead to the Saints' turnovers that made the difference in the game.

Since: Aug 2, 2009
Posted on: January 15, 2012 12:42 am

Don't forget to give Niners defense credit

And forgive me if I'm wrong but the way I understand this game is the team that makes the fewest mistakes and plays a complete game usually ends up the winner.

Since: Aug 2, 2009
Posted on: January 15, 2012 12:32 am

Don't forget to give Niners defense credit

Yes the Niners gave up over 500 yards of offense but 496 was in the air. Saints ran the ball 14 times for about 37 yards against one of the best running defenses in the NFL. Brees countered by throwing 63 times completimg 40 for 496...what else could he do. He did his best and almost won it but with no running game combined with the turnovers the Niners did just enough to win. Teams all season long scored td's against SF by throwing, not running. Niners faced one of the top two NFC qb's in Brees today. He was very good but his supporting cast let him down. SF defense did their jobs and A.Smith and company did the rest.

Since: Jan 14, 2012
Posted on: January 14, 2012 11:29 pm

Don't forget to give Niners defense credit

Whaa, wha wha.  “ if
not for the 5 turn overs” .  Who created
those turnovers?  Crushing hits? Tackling
the ball? Baiting Brees with three man pressure and dropping eight?  The Saints were not prepared for the intensity
of the Niner Defense and Special teams. 
How many missed tackles were there? 
Two and they lead to Saint TDs. 
Every other play a Saint caught the ball they were dropped immediately.  How many Yards after contact did they have?  I could easily say that except those two
plays, the Niners win easily.  Oh, and
who led the league in Turnover margin? Was that an accident?  The Saints were lucky to score as many points
as they did. 


The Niner Defense held up under extreme duress for 55 minutes with no help from the offense.  Fortunately,
during the last 5 minutes, the Niner Offense proved to be the equal of the
vaunted Saints Offense. 

Since: May 9, 2007
Posted on: January 14, 2012 9:58 pm

Don't forget to give Niners defense credit

That was an awesome defensive showing.   What game were you watching? They forced 5 turnovers, and held them to under 50 yards rushing?  The defense took away the run completely.  There isn't another defense in the nfl that would of even came close to the UNREAL Saints offense. 

Since: Dec 12, 2011
Posted on: January 14, 2012 9:48 pm

Don't forget to give Niners defense credit

500 yards of offense, 32 pts, yea that was great defense. If not for the 5 turnovers the saints probably would of scored 60. You sir are a moron.

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