The San Francisco 49ers didn't need a touchdown in the final nine seconds to best the New Orleans Saints this time around. Colin Kaepernick made the start at quarterback and played well enough, with help from the defense, to pick up San Francisco's eighth win of the season, besting the Saints by a score of 31-21.
Ahmad Brooks and Donte Whitner both had pick sixes, while Aldon Smith, Justin Smith and Brooks absolutely beat Drew Brees and the Saints' patchwork offensive line into a pulp in the second half. Playing with the equivalent of a fourth string right tackle, the Saints actually held up well in the first half, but the 49ers made some adjustments and made Brees very uncomfortable in the second half.
Below, here's some notes I took during the game, mostly during the first half. Full recap will be over at SBNation.com and NinersNation.com, and we'll get you some extra breakdowns in the morning. Here's the unedited notes.
- That handoff from Colin Kaepernick to Kendall Hunter was just beautiful. Or rather, that fake handoff on the touchdown run in the first quarter. You don't usually see a quarterback sell it like that.
- A lot of drops for the San Francisco receivers and tight ends in this one. It seems like the 49ers have been prone to sloppy games this season.
- That was a very bad holding call in the second quarter. The commentary team talked about it like it was crazy blatant, but it wasn't a hold at all.
- Alex Smith sure didn't look happy on the sidelines, did he? I wouldn't either ... the guy could have went elsewhere this past offseason, and he should have.
- I love seeing coaches call for a flag when there clearly is no penalty. It's just like ... do you know the rules? Really?
- Horrible play calling by Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman late in the first half after that holding penalty. A run on 1st and 20, a short pass on third down. They clearly had no urgency. Fortunately, it turned out well for them in the end.
- Alex Smith probably doesn't throw that interception late in the first half. Just saying. Of course, I'm mostly joking around, but boy that was bad.
- Drew Brees' pick sixes were worse, though. Ahmad Brooks, for real?
- Brees is a master at avoiding sacks, but the lack of pass rush in the first half was simply a statement of "it's only a matter of time."
- Ted Ginn Jr. has been really bad the past few weeks. He looks unsure, he doesn't look fast, he's making poor decisions and he almost cost the 49ers the game.