It’s the consummate story within the NFL. Anything can happen in any given week. And, if you’ve been a fan of this game long enough, you’ll see something new all the time. The New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers game was an instant classic. It may have not been always pretty, but that’s the game of football. Take them (wins) anyway you can get them. And when a guy like me has the opportunity to recap a game in which his team won, you always start on the positive side of things.
The defense continues to amaze.
It’s been a remarkable sight all season long. The 49ers have a topped ranked defense without their top ranked stars. Throw credit anyway you wish. First off, start with the players themselves. Michael Wilhoite, Chris Borland, Perrish Cox, and Aaron Lynch are all guys that are not supposed to be starters right now. But, don’t tell them that. They’re all playing their roles at a superior level filling in for men who’ve made a living in the Pro Bowl.
Michael Wilhoite will replace NaVarro Bowman or Patrick Willis. He doesn’t care, and nor do I. He just wants on the field, and I’m glad the man from unknown Washburn University is there.
Chris Borland is too small to play this game effectively. At least, that’s what many will tell you. But, 35 recorded tackles in two consecutive weeks, and Borland’s all effort. With no regard for his body, Borland sealed the win for the Niners recording a fumble caused by Ahmad Brooks on Drew Brees. Personally, the recovery was as impressive as the forced fumble itself.
Perrish Cox spent last seasons bouncing around the league between the 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and unemployment. This season, he’s and all-pro caliber player that’s matching up against the opposition’s best.
Labeled a hot head that had maturity issues in college, Aaron Lynch as been the 49ers most consistent pass rush. As a 5th round pick out of South Florida, not much was expected of Lynch this season. But, after Aldon Smith’s suspension, supplanting Corey Lemonier, and Dan Skuta’s ankle injury Lynch is now a full time starter. He certainly deserves to be there.
Welcome back Frank Gore…..again.
It seems like such a simple concept for the 49ers. Use the run to set up the pass. Or, just plain run the ball. The offensive strength lies in the running game. It’s really no mystery. But mysteriously, the 49ers haven’t consistently emphasized the obvious. Against the Saints, Frank Gore became the offensive focal point. The end result was a 49ers victory. Coincidence? I think not.
A case of the drops.
I hate going the negative route after such a positive win for the 49ers. The Saints haven’t lost inside the Superdome since 2012, and the Niners got it done. But, we all saw it. The 49ers offense has hit peaks and valleys all season long. And, receivers with the last names Boldin and Crabtree certainly didn’t help the cause at times against the Saints. Michael Crabtree was once labeled as having the “best hands he’s ever seen” by Jim Harbaugh. Anquan Boldin has been Colin Kaepernick’s steadfast the past two seasons. Yesterday, their reliability was limited with the number of dropped balls the duo had. Add to it that Vernon Davis looks nowhere near like the man we’re accustomed to, and Colin Kaepernick’s taking more heat for things that aren’t his fault.
First off, without knowing, I hope his injury isn’t too serious. I think Bruce is a heck of a football player, and he’ll only get better. In fielding a punt, take that ball up field. There was way too much horizontal movement on punt returns, and that limits your effectiveness. If there’s space upon catching the ball (there was) use it immediately to gain yards.
Chris Culliver came to play.
I’ve been tough on Cully this season. He seems overly brash for not having played overly well this season. Well, yesterday he walked the walk while talking the talk. There’s nothing wrong with that. I hope he keeps it up.
What’s up Andy Lee?
Chalk Andy Lee’s performance lately up to things I never thought I’d see. But, Lee has performed his duties poorly the last two weeks. Inside a dome, with no weather factoring into your game, there’s no excuse for flubbing kicks.
That’s resilience at its finest.
We all view things differently. Ask 500 different people their opinions on yesterdays’ game, you’re likely to get that many different responses. Paint the picture any way you wish. The 49ers played tough, gritty football and won inside the Superdome. That, in itself, is an awesome accomplishment. The Niners sit at 5-4. Every week is a must win game, and I can’t help but think the 49ers like it that way. It gives each game an added purpose. After three consecutive NFC title games, it might be the current added motivation this 2014 team needs. Resilient? You bet. And I for one, can’t wait to see how this season continues to play out from week to week.