49ers Shut Saints Out!

The 49ers pitched their first shut-out since 2019.  This is the fourth straight game that they have denied the opposing offense points in the 2nd half.  While the offense was stymied much of the game, the defense stood tall and carried the team.  Sometimes that is what it takes to get a victory.

The Saints sport an outstanding defense.  They just returned three key starters including Cam Jordan and Marcus Davenport.  Everyone knows the 49ers are a great football team.  The Niners are going to get everyone’s best for the rest of the season.


Jimmy’s Performance

The Niners offense did not perform up to last week’s standards.  However, they avoided the big mistake.  Jimmy Garoppolo did throw an interception, but it was called back due to a Saints defensive penalty.  The receiver he was throwing to was apparently held up.  For the most part Jimmy G played well in spite of the fact that the offensive line kept allowing Saints defenders into the back field.  Jimmy G was knocked around the whole game but was only sacked once.  He was pressured at least twelve times and knocked down eight times.  He absorbed several hard hits.  Despite all the hits he took, he connected 26 of his 37 throws for 222 yards.  Eight receivers caught passes, seven of which caught two or more.  His longest throw was to Brandon Aiyuk for 27 yards.  All in all, Jimmy G played well against the tough Saints defense.


Slow Start

On their first offensive possession, the Niners drove all the way to the Saints five-yard line.  They were forced to settle for a field goal.  During the second quarter, the Niners drove all the way to the Saints one yard line.  Unfortunately, they could not punch it in on a fourth and one.  Then, the defense put an immense amount of pressure on the Saints offense and forced and three and out.


The Jauan Jennings Drive

With 1:47 left in the first half, the Niners had their best starting field position the whole game.  After two incompletes, Jimmy G found Jauan Jennings down the middle of the field for 13 yards.  On the next play he found Jennings again who juked the defender out of his shoes and ran 12 yards on the sideline.  Then Elijah Mitchell burst thru the line of scrimmage on a draw play, carrying the ball all the way to the endzone for a touchdown.  Unfortunately, George Kittle was flagged on a questionable holding call and the 49ers were first and nine on the Saints 32-yard line.  A few plays later and the Niners are sitting at third and two on the Saints 24 yard line.  Jimmy G finds Jennings again for a 12-yard gain.  On first and five, Jimmy G takes the snap, surveys the field and finds Jennings in the back of the endzone.  Jimmy G snapped the ball so quick it bounced off of a defender’s hands and Jennings didn’t lose his concentration and came down with the tipped ball.  The score was 10 to nothing.  Jennings ended up finishing the day with six receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown.

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jauan Jennings (15) catches a touchdown pass next to New Orleans Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Dueling Field Goal Kickers

The Niners last score of the game occurred during their first possession of the third quarter.  They drove the field and Robbie Gould kicked a 46-yard field goal.  During the Saints first drive of the second half, Wil Lutz attempted a 48-yard field goal and missed.


Stifling Defense

The 49ers defense set the tone for the day.  Four plays into the game Fred Warner punched the ball out of Alvin Kamara’s arms and Samson Ebukam recovered the fumble.  They forced a three and out the next Saints possession.  In fact, they forced the Saints to punt on every possession in the first half except their last.  The Saints traveled deep into the 49ers redzone twice in the fourth quarter.  Early in the fourth quarter it was 2nd and goal, on the Niners six-yard line.  Alvin Kamara carried the ball and attempted to leap into the endzone.  Kamara was met by Talanoa Hufanga who punched the ball out with his helmet.  Dre Greenlaw recovered the fumble.

On the Saints next and last possession, they drove the ball to the Niners four-yard line.  It was fourth and goal and Nick Bosa took off and tracked Andy Dalton down for a seven-yard loss.  Some might say he got off a tad early.  If he did, it’s payback for all the holding that the Saints did on the Niners defensive line.


Six Minute Close Out

The 49ers had got the ball on their own 11-yard line.  Jimmy G threw one pass during their last drive, and it was on 3rd and six to Juan Jennings for a first down.  The rest of the plays were hand offs to Christian McCaffrey and Jordan Mason.

While the offense was held up by the Saints defense, the Niners defense held the fort down.  The Niners had a bit of an off week.  They didn’t fly home from Mexico until Tuesday morning, and they only conducted one day of practice in pads.  The rest of their preparation was all intellectual.  The offense was slightly out of sync to start the game.  In spite of that, they found a way to score and win.  Next week the Niners take on the high-flying Miami Dolphins.


A Look Ahead

I watched the Dolphins today.  They put thirty points on the Texans defense in the first half.  Then they went to sleep.  The defense allowed the Texans back in the game by allowing them to score 15 unanswered points in the second half alone.  Though the Dolphins benched Tua Tagovailoa, their offense could not find any further rhythm.  Even when Tua was in, he had several off target throws and the offensive line allowed a lot of pressure.  Tua is talented enough to find a receiver, but he took quite a few hits.  The Dolphins have to travel to the West Coast and face one of the toughest defenses in the NFL.  They are going to have a difficult time with the 49ers.  However, the Niners will also need to be on their toes when defending against their old offensive coordinator and several of their old running backs.  It will be a good game

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