San Francisco 49ers (2-2) 17
New Orleans Saints (3-1) 31
If there ever was a time the 49ers played as a team it was yesterday in their loss to the Saints. Unfortunately for 49er fans the team collectively played a horrible game on offense and defense. The offense had three turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble), all committed by J.T. O’ Sullivan and gave up six sacks. The defense gave up 31 points allowing Drew Brees to pass for 363 yards while not being sacked once in the game. The secondary gave up passing plays of 21, 33, 47, 52 and 81 yards. All while receiving threats Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey were out with injuries. This was not the way to start a string of games against playoff caliber team. The road only gets harder for the 49ers and their play against the Saints, who I think are the easiest of the opponents during the stretch of schedule hell for the Red and Gold, was beyond unsatisfactory.
On the offensive side the blame lies with O’Sullivan as he was sacked six times. Some of this blame could be laid on the offensive line and the Martz System, but many of them could have been avoided had O’Sullivan not held onto the ball for so long looking to make a play. This points to O’ Sullivan’s inexperience as a starter and you can be sure the Patriots, Eagles, and Giants will exploit it with nothing but blitzes and pressure all game. The 49ers and O’Sullivan had too many chances to come back in the game and in the end they defeated themselves instead of the Saints. O’ Sullivan’s two interceptions came in the red zone at critical times in the game. The 49ers were at the 10 and 16-yard line poised to score a touchdown until O’ Sullivan’s inexperience cost them points. Both interceptions lead to Saint points and where at crucial parts in the game as the Niner’s were down 21-9 and 28-9. The only good thing on offense came with Frank Gore rushing for 82 yards. But the Niner’s found themselves playing catch-up for most the game abandoning the running game.
The defense was hobbled this week with CB Shawnte Spencer out for the rest of the season which might explain some of the secondary’s miscues. However to give up that many yards to receivers most people have never heard of is unacceptable. The 49ers D have played well but they consistently have not been getting enough pressure on the QB. This is showed with Brees not getting sacked in the game. With no pressure on the QB than it does not matter if you are using four defensive backs, nickel formation, man-to-man or zone, the QB will find open receivers no matter who and where they are. The Saints offense made adjustments all game as the 49ers D seemed to be stuck with the original defensive game plan making no adjustments all game. Brees is one of the best passing QB’s in the league, but if you want to call yourself one of the best D units in the NFL then you have to shut down the best offensive players. Instead they made Saints receivers Lance Moore and Robert Meachem fantasy sleepers of the week. The 49ers D even let Deuce I have had two knee surgeries McAllister get into the action with 73 rushing yards and one touchdown.
With the exception of the Special Teams, the 49ers looked lost in all aspects of the game. They beat themselves allowing mistakes to overturn any positives achieved in the game. Playoff caliber teams like the Saints will always adjust and exploit any and all weaknesses given to them. One thing I know the 49ers cannot do during their stretch of schedule hell is not let themselves, beat themselves for a lost. If they continue to do that the 49ers will be 2-6 come their bye week
New England Patriots (2-1) at home. Yes, no Tom Brady but the Patriots still have too many weapons to be taken lightly. Head Coach Bill Belichick will find a way to win without Matt Cassel losing the game for them. If the 49ers play as they did against the Saints, expect an embarrassing loss at Bill Walsh Field.
“There’s no excuses,” linebacker Patrick Willis said. “We didn’t play the way we’re capable of. We have better football ahead of us, better football inside of us. We’ll watch film tomorrow and put closure on it. We can’t hang our heads over this because we know we’re capable of better.”