49ers 17 Saints 14 HALFTIME
The 49ers started off by making a bold statement and deferring to the Saints after winning the coin toss. Demonstrating confidence in his defense the 49ers were almost screwed by the referees on a pass interference call on Donte Whitner. Then Whitner delivered a huge hit on Pierre Thomas at the 49ers 2 yard line causing a fumble that would go to the 49ers.
The 49ers struck first on a beautiful 55 yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith to Vernon Davis putting the Niners up 7-0. Dashon Goldson played a Drew Brees pass on third and long perfectly and returned it to the 49ers 4 yard line the ensuing possession. On third down a beautiful block by running back Frank Gore allowed Smith the time to find wide receiver Michael Crabtree on a slant that looked just like the game winning TD catch Delaine Walker pulled in at Detroit.
The rest of our half time reactions from Candlestick and Hamm’s Pigskins of the first half after the break
The first quarter was owned by the 49ers who caused yet another Saints turnover on the ensuing kickoff. Causing a fumble at the 49ers 12 yard line the Niners, again giving SF a scoring opportunity, in the red zone. I didn’t like the play calling on this drive as the 49ers failed to give Gore a chance to punch it in. The 49ers ended up throwing the ball 3 times, going 1-3 and failed to reach the endzone. The drive ended in a David Akers field goal putting the 49ers up 17-0.
The Saints finally answered with a score of their own after a Darren Sproles fumble was overturned. Great coverage by Patrick Willis on TE Jimmy Graham was superceded by an even better throw by Drew Brees. The Saints didn’t waste anytime scoring another TD and getting right back into the game. On the very next possession, Brees and company converted three, third downs before another beautiful pass to Marques Colston made it a three point game 17-14.
With a chance to take the lead down 17-14 the Saints went for it on 3rd down attempting a bomb to Devry Henderson. Terrell Brown made about as nice of an INT as you’ll ever see. The 49ers failed to take advantage of the Saints fourth turnover of the first half. They chewed up all but one minute and pinned the Saints deep in their own territory with just 1 timeout left. A quick stop by the 49ers, who used two timetouts to get the ball back with 29 seconds left, 1 timeout, and not far too go for a David Akers field goal. But Smith under pressure fumbled the ball away at the 49ers 48 yard line giving the Saints one last chance. The 49ers should have had another fumble for when Ricky Jean Francois tripped up Brees and he clearly fumbled the football, somehow it was called an incomplete pass. The 49ers go into halftime with a 17-14 lead and the ball after the break.
Hamm’s Pigskins of the First Half
Hamm’s Offensive Pigskin of the First Half: Alex Smith, Alex threw an absolute beauty to Vernon Davis on the 49ers first possession of the game. He also stepped up in the pocket and made a great throw to Michael Crabtree on his second throw. Alex is playing very well, feeling the pressure, throwing the ball away when necessary and doing all the right things. Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman need to run the ball on first down more often and take the pressure off Smith.
Hamm’s Defensive Pigskin of the First Half: Donte Whitner, Whit was all over the field in the first half! After a BS pass interference call put the Saints in the red zone on their first possession of the game. Whitner went HAM baby! Causing a fumble and lighting up the Saints on several opportunities, almost causing another fumble that was overturned on Sean Payton’s challenge.
Hamm’s Second Half Predictions: I see the 49ers scoring a TD on their first possession of the second half, extending their lead to ten. The 49ers won’t look back and win this game 34-24. Frank Gore will have a monster second half, ripping off the game sealing TD run in the 4th quarter.
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