Posted: Saturday, January 14, 2012 by Travis Cody in

Defense might win championships, but to beat an outstanding offensive team you ultimately have to be able to score with them.  So SF played excellent defense for 3 1/2 quarters to force New Orleans into turnovers.  And then the 49er offense came to play with 13 points in the final 5 minutes to beat the Saints and advance to the NFC Championship next week.

Actually, I have to say that the 49er defense was outstanding all game.  It doesn't look that way if you just check the stats.  Saints QB Drew Brees threw for 458 yards on 40 of 63, with 4 TDs.  However, SF refused to give Brees a comfortable pocket and forced him into 2 interceptions.  They sacked him 3 times, and it's tough to sack Drew Brees.  SF held NO to only 37 yards rushing, while special teams controlled the Saints' potent kick and punt return teams.

So yeah, the 49er defense gets a ton of credit for containing the explosiveness of the Saints.

On offense, SF played a typically conservative game.  QB Alex Smith did throw the ball a bit more than usual.  He finished the game 24 of 42 for 299 yards and 3 TDs.  But a lot of those throws were on safe patterns with yards coming after the catch.  Most importantly, Smith did not turn the ball over.  And his consistent passing helped the 49ers stay balanced.  RB Frank Gore had 89 yards on 13 carries.

The Saints still almost pulled off the win.  They finally took a lead late in the 4th quarter on a long catch and run.  But SF came right back to re-take the lead on a 27 yard TD run from Smith.  But then Brees hit TE Jimmy Graham on a 66 yard scoring play, and NO had a 3 point lead.

That left the 49ers 1:37 to try and tie the game.  SF has the NFC's best field goal kicker in David Akers.  They just needed to get into FG range and force OT, right?

That would have been the regular season conservative drive.

Instead, Alex Smith calmly drove the length of the field.  He got the big pass play to TE Vernon Davis to get inside the 20 with less than 20 seconds to play.  Then Smith threw a dart to Davis just across into the end zone.  Davis held on for the winning score.


So defense does win in the playoffs.  But at some point, the name of the game is to score at least 1 point more than your opponent. 

I don't know what's going to happen next week.  I'm just glad my team gets to advance and take its chances, either in Green Bay or at home against the Giants.

Go Niners!


  1. Cherie says:

    Yay! Niners ... Niners ... Niners ...

  1. I thought it was a good game and a really tough game. There was a lot of hitting. I'm disappointed the Saints didn't win but I congratulate you and the 49ers.

  1. Anonymous says:

    It was quite an exciting FINISH to the game. Whew!

  1. Anonymous says:

    It was quite an exciting FINISH to the game. Whew!

  1. Cherie: It was most excellent!

    Charles: Sorry Charles. Honestly, I didn't see how SF was going to be able to score with NO. But they managed it.

    GGG: Indeed it was!

  1. Jean says:

    I miss Steve Young.

  1. I looks like the Giants are the team to beat at this point. They seem to be playing great defense as well as scoring more points than they did early in the season. It wouldn't surprise me to see New York vs New England is the Super Bowl. Baltimore might have the best defense, but I don't think they can score the points to hang with the Brady Bunch.