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49ers' strong defense outplays NFL elite in Drew Brees

The Niners once again showed why their defense are the reason they have the potential to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Thearon W. Henderson

All the talk surrounded the quarterback switch from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick. But at the end of the day, what led to the San Francisco 49ers' win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday was the play of their defense.

The Saints were given a gift of great field position by a Ted Ginn Jr. muffed punt. They scored. Kaepernick then threw a pick. The Saints once again had the ball and were looking add more before the Niners' ever-opportunistic defense struck.

Linebacker Ahmad Brooks picks off Brees, heads 50 yards downfield for a touchdown to close the half tied at 14-14. Another offensive score by the Niners and a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown by Donte Whitner and the defense ends up providing 14 of the 31 points needed to defeat the Saints in their building.

"With us having those interceptions for scores, that shows you what kind of defense we have," said Brooks to CSN Bay Area. "With the guys we have you never really know which player is going to make the plays to make the difference in the games. This week, it was me and Donte Whitner who made the big plays for our defense."

The Niners also sacked Brees five times. Kaepernick held his own in just his second start in the pros, but his defense forever had his back. This one goes to them.