January 14, 2012 3 Comments
This was my #1 rated game heading into the weekend and it did not disappoint. Throughout the game there was an awesome display of defense, offense, and special teams.
In short, this game had everything.
Alex Smith leads the Niners down the field with under 2 minutes left in the game to seal the Saints fate and end their season.
Who would of thought that Alex Smith would lead the drive to put the Niners in the NFC Championship game?
I’ll admit it, not me.
Alex Smith threw for 299 yards, 3 touchdowns and NO INT’s
Vernon Davis was explosive with 7 catches, 180 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Davis exploited one on one coverage all day and made the Saints pay big time.
The Niners have done it all year with a great defense, great special teams, and a balanced offensive attack.
That formula guided them to success against the Saints today.
The Niners forced 5 Turnovers
Teams that have a +4 Turnover Margin are 72-1 in the Playoffs (today’s game included).
However, the Saints did not go down quietly, Drew Brees connected with Jimmy Graham to put the Saints on top 32-29 with under 2 minutes left in the game.
Brees threw for 458 yards 4 touchdowns with 2 INT.
Despite Brees’ big numbers, his two interceptions gave away key opportunities to wear down the Niners defense and put pressure on the Niners offense.
Also, the Saints Special Teams really let them down today with 2 key turnovers that kept momentum on the Niners side, while Brees stayed on the sideline.
Brees was under pressure all day, mainly from Defensive End Justin Smith.
Smith was almost un-blockable and had a huge impact on the defense with key sacks and pressures on Brees.
This was an EPIC game and probably one of if the best Divisional games i have ever watched.The Saints played admirably but in the end, the turnovers cost them.
The fact the Saints were even in the game with 5 Turnovers is a true credit to their defense. I can give you all the numbers from this game, but there are two key components to the game that the Niners outplayed the Saints in.
Turnovers and Big Plays.
It is no coincidence the Niners are moving on, they took the ball away and made great plays when needed. That is what wins in the playoffs, takeaways and big plays.
The Niners played better in both aspects of the game.
I don’t think there is any question that Jim Harbaugh is the NFL Coach Of the Year and Alex Smith is the Comeback Player Of The Year.