by Daisy Barringer
I think I should start taking a Xanax before every 49ers game. That way, instead of spending three+ hours wringing my hands, pulling my hair, and wondering it is possible for one’s heart to actually leap out of her chest, I would be able to just sit back and watch the game unfold calmly and without almost dying.
Of course, I say that's what I want: to just be able to "enjoy" the game without a range of emotions that make Amanda Bynes look mentally stable, but probably I’m lying to myself and to you. Because, after all, isn’t that why we love football? The sheer insanity of it all? The fact that the momentum can change in seconds. And then change right back again? And again. And again. Until finally the clock runs out and you’re either totally deflated or totally elated?
If you don’t like those types of games, then you were pretty miserable for most of the morning while the 49ers battled the Saints in the Superdome. Things started out amazingly: On 3rd and 8 from the Saints 25 yard line, Drew Brees threw a pass intended for Marcus Colston that was instead intercepted by Antoine Bethea. Three handoffs to Gore later, the 49ers were up 7-0.
The Saints went three and out on their next drive and the Niners drove down field with a mix of Gore runs, Kap passes, and one Kap scramble. Ultimately, the ball was given to Carlos Hyde who ran it 9 yards for the touchdown. Score: 14-0.
But then the Saints came marching back. (Can someone Google that to find out how many times it’s been used previously? I’ve got the over on 1765 times.) And suddenly it was 14-10. Then Kap found Anquan Boldin (more about him later, obviously) for the touchdown. 21-10.
You thought YOU felt crazy just watching the game? I’m starting to wonder if Kaepernick actually has a split personality because the guy who showed up for the first half of this game was not even a little similar to the guy who played the Rams last week.
Luckily (?!), just as I was starting to believe things were actually going our way, Kap held onto the ball for too long when he should have thrown it away, got sacked, and fumbled. Now there’s the Kap we all know and Oh. And he did that when the 49ers were driving to score before the end of the half.
The only saving grace? Drew Brees had a horrible first half. The Saints got the ball back with PLENTY of time to score, but Brees spazzed out under pressure and threw the ball into triple coverage. Cully was there to pick it off and the Niners went into the locker room at halftime up by 11 points.
But hahahahaha. This is the San Francisco 49ers we’re talking about. You didn’t think you were going to get to just sit back on your couch and calmly sip your latte for the next two quarters, did you?
The 49ers, up by 11, failed to score for the first 28 minutes of the second half, allowing the Saints to go up 24-21. Sadly, a lot of that was due to the fact that Anquan Boldin dropped FIVE passes, which would be laughable if it didn’t almost cost us the game. Listen, I love Boldin. I think he is an amazing addition the team and I certainly don’t want to sit here and malign him because I truly think he just had a bad day. Also, even on his really bad day, he still managed to catch 6 balls for 95 yards and a touchdown. Just imagine though, if he’d been able to hold on to that pass from Kap that would have easily been an 85-yard touchdown? Oh the jumping up and down you would have done. Alas, Kap was just was just 1-7 for 9 yards throwing to Boldin after the half.
The good news is that Kap was able to brush that stupid second quarter fumble off pretty easily and came out looking great in the second half. (Yes, there were a lot of dropped passes, but I’d argue every pass he threw was catchable, and that the drops were on the receivers.) Ultimately, it was Kap’s 51-yard pass to Crabtree on 4th and 10 while under pressure that saved the day. And made every single 49ers fan remember why it is that Harbaugh dumped Alex Smith in favor of him. I mean, seriously: That play was phenomenal. Lock it into your memory because there’s a good chance we’ll be saying it was the play that turned the season around. If, in fact, it was the play that turned the season around
Ultimately, thanks to an offensive pass interference call on a Hail Mary that would have resulted in a Jimmy Graham game-winning touchdown, the game went into overtime and the 49ers were able to kick the field goal for the win with just a little over five minutes left.
Was that offensive pass interference? I say yes, especially considering a very similar flag was thrown on Anquan Boldin earlier in the game. Are Saints fans going to spend all week bitching about how Perrish Cox “flopped” and the call was total crap? Absolutely. (Google “Perrish Cox flopping” if you don’t believe me.) Replays don’t lie though and whether the Saints fans like it or not, Graham pushed off. Is that always called? No. Did the refs make the right call in that instance? Show me a single 49ers fan who is going to say no.
All in all, the 49ers organization and fans have a lot to be happy about after yesterday’s win:
- Kaepernick looked composed, much more so than his 76.3 QB rating implies.
- Greg Roman remembered that Frank Gore is on our team and that when we give him the ball, we win. (Gore ran 23 times for 81 yards and 1 touchdown.)
- The defense continues to look amazing, forcing three turnovers, the biggest of which was Ahmad Brooks’ forced fumble in OT.
- Chris Borland, replacing Patrick Willis, had 17 tackles and recovered that Drew Brees OT fumble. This rookie is just amazing to watch, which is good since it turns out Patrick Willis might be out longer than anticipated.
- Aldon Smith is coming back!!!!!!!!
- And Jim Harbaugh gave us this moment [http://thebiglead.com/2014/11/09/jim-harbaugh-threw-his-playsheets-in-the-air-in-disgust-on-jimmy-grahams-hail-mary-td-called-back-by-penalty/] which is only funny (but is therefore SO funny) because his disgust was negated by the offensive PI call. Seriously though, people hate on Harbaugh, but if you’re a Niners fan, how can you not just love him and his passion?
Still, as happy as I am after the win, the fact of the matter is that the 49ers still trail the Seahawks by one game and the Cardinals by three. It appears that Carson Palmer tore his ACL yesterday, which sucks for him, but could change momentum. (Who knows though? That Drew Stanton dude looks pretty decent.)
BUT... the 49ers still have issues:
- We suck at scoring in the second half.
- The offensive line, who really did a good job yesterday of recovering from the previous week, still allowed four sacks.
- Yes, center Marcus Martin looked a bazillion times better than against the Rams, but the O-line still has a lot of work to do.
- Where was Frank Gore in the 4th quarter? Did Greg Roman escape from whatever closet he was locked in for the first three quarters?
- Andy Lee (LOVE YOU ANDY LEE!) has not looked great the past two games.
- We’re inconsistent. And it’s terrifying.
Last week I’m pretty sure I said there was no chance the 49ers were going to the playoffs. This week, I’m singing a different tune. (You think I’m wish-washy about football? Imagine what it would be like to date me.) We absolutely can make the playoffs. I think we beat the NY Giants in NY, the Redskins at home, the Seahawks at home, the Raiders in Oakland, and the Chargers at home. I also think, depending on what’s going on with the Cardinals that last game (especially if Palmer is out and/or they’ve already won the division), we might be able to win that too.
Yeah, that’s right. I just said we’re going to win every single one of our next games except Seattle in Seattle. I should probably get my head examined. I can’t help it though. It’s what football does it turns us all into lunatics. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.