The San Francisco 49ers won a wild one in Week 10, improving to 5-4 with a 27-24 overtime win over the New Orleans Saints. The 49ers jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, but familiar miscues plagued them and forced this game to be a lot closer than it should have been. Fortunately, the 49ers defense stepped up. They did not have a spectacular game, but they made plays when needed, which has been the name of the game this season.
Chris Borland: The 49ers rookie inside linebacker once again put on a show. A week after securing 18 tackles against the Rams, Borland had 17 tackles against the Saints. His pass coverage skills showed some improvement, and his work against the run remains top notch. He made a pair of tackles for a loss, and seems to be all over the field all day long
Antoine Bethea: He has been the 49ers defensive MVP thus far. He had an interception on Sunday, and showed his continued strong work stopping the run. He has been an upgrade over Donte Whitner in virtually every area of the game.
Ahmad Brooks: It was a fairly quiet day for Brooks, until he got the play that mattered most. He got to Drew Brees, and forced a fumble that Chris Borland recovered. Considering last year's nonsense with the personal foul on Brooks for his legal tackle of Brees, it was oh so fitting he made the pivotal defensive play.
Quinton Dial: The 49ers second year defensive tackle got some work in the first half, and then moved into the base defense starting lineup in the second half when Ian Williams got hurt. It was an up and down half, but he stepped up big with an overtime sack on the play before Brees fumbled the ball. Dial will be a key cog with Williams out if Glenn Dorsey is not ready to take back over the nose tackle job.
Chris Culliver: He gets a lot of grief, but Cully had a solid day. He picked off Drew Brees late in the first half, and had a pair of pass deflections. He struggles at times with spotting the ball, but I think he is turning into more and more of an underrated corner for the 49ers. He is not a lockdown guy, but he has done some strong work.
Aaron Lynch: He made his first career start and did solid work, playing all 81 defensive snaps. He got some pressure on Drew Brees, made some stops against the run, and generally looked like he belonged out there. In fact, he was getting double teamed at times, which tells us just how far along he has come. He is officially a respected member of this defense. Who are opposing teams going to double when Aldon Smith returns?
Tank Carradine: He finally got on the field. Tank was active for only the second time this year, and got his first defensive snaps. He recorded his first career tackle, and pressured Brees on his first defensive snap. He struggled when the Saints ran the ball, which might have something to do with why he has been not active too frequently, but as a pass rusher, he clearly has a useful skillset.
We could go on and on, but I just wanted to highlight a few notable names. Brees and company got their points, but the 49ers defense stepped up just enough. They were a winded group that had to do a lot of work on Sunday, with 81 total defensive snaps. They won't be perfect every week, but they will do enough to give the 49ers a chance to win. Thankfully, the offense did just enough to get some points on the board. It was not a pretty game, but the 49ers got the W, and that's all that matters.