San Francisco, CA – It will be remembered as one of the best football games on Monday night. The Super Bowl champions New Orleans Saints kicked a field goal with the clock running out to defeat the San Francisco 49ers 25-22.
“I don’t ever, ever want to say that I think we should’ve won a football game,” coach Mike Singletary said. “It’s unfortunate, our guys hung in there and they’re the world champs from last year.” “They did things they had to do to win the game, so they deserved to win.”
It was an incredible come back for the 49ers who tied the game late in the fourth quarter. Frank Gore rushed 7 yards for the touchdown with 1:19 left to play. Being down by two points, the only option to tie the game would be a two-point conversion. Vernon Davis made a close catch at the goal line that sent flags flying to determine if it was a touchdown.
The original call was “no catch” but coach Singletary challenged the play that it was indeed a touchdown. After review the call was reversed and we had a new game in Candlestick Park. The sellout crowd went crazy as players on the field rallied for crowd involvement before kicking off to the Saints.
Now 1:14 seconds left on the clock, the Saints get the ball back at the 30. QB Drew Brees made a complete pass to Marques Colston that put New Orleans on the 18 with exactly 18 seconds left. With no hesitation the kicking team ran on the field and the entire crowd watched with anticipation. As the time ran out, Garrett Hartley kicked a 37-yard field goal for the win.
“I obviously had a lot of confidence in throwing to Marques as I do with all of our guys in critical situations,” said Brees. “Obviously, he’s a playmaker, it was just one of those plays where he’s one-on-one, they brought pressure and I knew to throw it up to the big man.”
At halftime retired Hall of Famer Jerry Rice was inducted to the 49ers Hall of fame. Standing by his side were former teammates Joe Montana, Steve Young, Dwight Clark, Ronnie Lott, past coaches and his family. Remembering his playing days in the 80’s and 90’s resembled nothing to what was displayed on the filed tonight.
San Francisco failed to capitalize on opportunities and their turnovers were costly. Safety Roman Harper intercepted a pass by Alex Smith at the 26 in the first quarter. Then later CB Malcolm Jenkins recovered TE Delanie Walker’s fumble at the 3 just before halftime.
“Yes, at the end of the day, we were in a hostile environment,” said Harper. “Today we caused timeless turnovers, clutch turnovers, tipped balls and different things like that.” “That is what kept us in the game today, sometimes you have to find a way to win.”
RB Frank Gore provided the best highlight of the night running for 112 yards on a 12-yard touchdown pass. Overall the 49ers committed four turnovers and a safety at the start of the game. QB Alex Smith was 23 of 32 for 275 yards with two interceptions. The offense totaled 417 yards from scrimmage (142 yards rushing, 275 yards passing) the most since 11/19/06 vs Seattle (416 yards from scrimmage).
San Francisco’s defense did a great job in keeping the champs close and not allowing the to get too far ahead of them. They were able to sack Saints QB Brees twice on the night. That’s the most sacks allowed by the New Orleans since 12/19/09 vs Dallas (4 sacks). LB Patrick Willis registered his 10th career sack and LB Ahmad Brooks notched the 9th of his career.
“We know what we can do,” said Gore.” “We beat ourselves for the second week in a row and that has to change.”
Written by: Malaika Bobino