49ers grades, analysis from defense-dominant shutout win vs. Saints

Dre Greenlaw #57 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Dre Greenlaw #57 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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15. 13. 42. Final. 0

It wasn’t always pretty to watch, but a defensive masterclass ensured the 49ers’ winning streak continued against the visiting Saints in Week 12.

This was not exactly how people would have expected the game to go, but the San Francisco 49ers upped their winning streak to four games in a row off the back of a 13-0 shutout of the New Orleans Saints at Levi’s Stadium in Week 12.

Read More49ers vs. Saints final score: Offense goes flat, Niners shut out NOLA

A wild array of plays happened during the game to Niners, including but not limited to:

  • A touchdown pass from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to wide receiver Jauan Jennings that was tipped into the hands of the latter.
  • A long rushing touchdown by running back Elijah Mitchell called back due to a ticky-tack hold on tight end George Kittle.
  • Garoppolo throwing a bad interception that was returned to the red zone, which was called back due to defensive holding.
  • Garoppolo being hit as he threw the ball, which made the ball smack into a helmet and fly high into the air, causing some uncertainty until fullback Kyle Juszczyk smashed the ball volleyball-style into the turf.
  • The 49ers failing to convert on a 4th-and-goal despite being so close that they could have called a patented Garoppolo sneak.
  • A magnificent stand on the goal line with safety Talanoa Hufanga popping the ball out on a perfect hit to Saints running back Alvin Kamara, with the ball pinballing between the teams before Hufanga managed to fall on it.

There was no lack of excitement despite the low score, but there were also some frustrations on the offensive side as it was never able to get going. Despite the shutout, the Saints kept repeatedly threatening and they left some points on the board.

Sometimes, though, you just have to get lucky, and the 49ers can definitely count themselves lucky in this game.

That aside, San Francisco now improves to 7-4 and keeps hold of the NFC West for at least another week as it now faces a much sterner opponent in the Miami Dolphins, one of the upstart teams from the AFC.

Let’s take a look at the grades.