With less than 2 minutes left in the 4th quarter, it looked hopeless. Drew Brees just connected with Jimmy Graham to put the New Orleans Saints (4-5) up 24-21. The San Francisco 49ers (5-4) were anemic offensively, and had to go the length of the field to get into field goal range. After three straight incomplete passes, it was 4th and 10 from their own 22.
Kaepernick took the snap and was flushed right. With seemingly no one open, Kap unleashed a bomb to Michael Crabtree. Crabtree, somehow uncovered, pulled in the catch at the New Orleans 22, a 51-yard connection that would serve as the only yards gained on the drive. With under a minute, Phil Dawson nailed a 45 yard field goal to tie the game.
The Saints took one last shot at ending the game, and completed a Hail Mary to Jimmy Graham with no time left, but it was ruled offensive pass interference and the teams headed for overtime.
In the extra period, with a little over 5 minutes left, Ahmad Brooks sacked Brees and forced the ball loose as Chris Borland jumped on it. Dawson came out on the next play and made an ugly looking 35 yard field goal to win the game.
It wasn’t the prettiest outing by any means. Kaepernick struggled mightily at times, taking unnecessary sacks and showing poor accuracy, particularly in the second half. The defense kept them in the game, with Borland recording 11 tackles with 6 assists. Antoine Bethea and Chris Culliver recorded an interception apiece and Perrish Cox contributed with solid play in the secondary. Offensively, Anquan Boldin was Kaepernick’s main target, hauling in 6 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown, while Frank Gore added 81 yards on 23 carries and a score.
The huge win for San Francisco gets the Niners back over .500 and gives them a lot of confidence as they prepare for the New York Giants next Sunday at Met Life Stadium. For now, Frank Gore’s prediction that the 49ers will make the playoffs is still alive.
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