It would have been rude of the 49ers to show up in New Orleans and get a victory in the Saints’ house, so there was just no way they were going to do that- no matter how hard the Saints tried to give it to them.
Oh you muffed a punt? We’ll muff two.
We have a ten point lead? Here’s a 75 yard kick return for you.
Your quarterback got hurt? No problem, ours plays like a third stringer.
I’m not even going to mention the ridiculous shotgun run that the 49ers called on 4th and 1 near the end of the first half, or the interception that Jimmie Ward generously gave back to Jameis Winston later in the game. Nope, not mentioning those.
The 49ers had an answer for every bad thing New Orleans did in this game, and none of it helped their cause. They completely wasted a fantastic effort from the defense.
The Saints had three touchdown, “drives” on the day. The first came after muffed punt numbers one, and went four plays, 21 yards. The second came after a turnover on downs - six plays, 57 yards. The last came after the second muffed punt - three plays, 22 yards.
None of that matters, however, when you’re sloppy in two of the other three phases of the game. San Francisco complimented their yaketysax special teams play with a run game that was putrid, pass protection that was spotty, and quarterback play that was awful.
Reinforcements are supposedly coming after the bye week. The schedule also lightens a bit. It’s quite possible that the 49ers pick it up and actually win some games down the stretch of the season. None of that will happen, however, if they don’t allow the other team to make mistakes.
They didn’t do that today, and they paid the price.
To hear my complete thoughts on the loss, check out the instant reaction podcast, available on this page and wherever you get your podcasts.