The San Francisco 49ers beat the New Orleans Saints 27-24 in overtime, but have very few things to feel good about. Colin Kaepernick was terrible except for one big throw to save the day in the fourth quarter and the only reason his team won was because of an offensive pass interference call on Jimmy Graham, negating a touchdown he caught over a flopping Perrish Cox.
Yes, it might be American Football, but there’s time wasting by faking injuries and there are players diving (soccer term) or flopping. With time expiring, Drew Brees sent a hail mary pass towards Graham, surrounded by three players. The athletic tight end slightly put his hands on Cox who went flying, hoping to draw the attention of officials. Graham caught the ball but because of Cox “faking it”, the touchdown was called off and we went into overtime.
After the Saints stopped the 49ers on their own 40 and got possession of the ball in overtime, Drew Brees was sacked twice in a row on his own 20. On the second sack, Ahmad Brooks, who had a score to settle from last season (unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the loss to the Saints last season after a sack on Brees), sacked Brees and stripped the ball away from him, setting up the easy field goal to win the game by Phil Dawson.
Colin Kaepernick continues to play behind a ruptured offensive line. He was sacked four times and has been sacked 18 times over the last three games, seven more than any other quarterback. He misses easy throws (14-of-32) although his receivers, especially Anquan Boldin, keep dropping passes. Kaepernick doesn’t seem to know when to throw the ball away in order to avoid the sack and simply overthrows receivers at an alarming rate.
Usually, in tight and tense situations, he crumbles and makes a mistake. Against the ‘blitz all the time’ defense designed by Rob Ryan, Kaepernick got his chance to redeem himself. On fourth and 10, on the Niners 22, the Saints blitzed, leaving Michael Crabtree completely open. Kaepernick’s pass traveled 48 yards to find his favorite target, resulting in the 49ers setting up a game tying field goal, which almost turned out not to be enough.
But while Kaepernick, a young quarterback who seems to be either flawed for life or simply tutored by the wrong people in terms of teaching him how to become a better playing in the pocket, Drew Brees is making mistakes you don’t expect from him. Not after so many years of showing much better ability. He threw two interceptions, reaching 10 this season, as he completed just 28-of-47 passes. He did throw three touchdown passes, but also got booed by some of the fans for missing some passes and getting intercepted.
The 49ers had to win this game, with the Cardinals and Seahawks not stopping or slowing down anytime soon. They are flawed in a lot of ways and their quarterback isn’t very trustworthy, but they have some great playmakers on defense that are able to help them when it comes to the offense playing badly. And it never hurts to have a bit of luck, late game magic or the officials on your side. The Saints, as funny as it sounds on 4-5, could afford to lose the game because of how terrible their division is.