Saints 32 @ 49ers 36: A Final Review of HansDat's Hot Reads

Of all the Hot Reads, the one involving this guy throwing to the other guy probably hurt the Saints the most. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)


What a season, what a playoffs, what a game, what a final four minutes.

And now it's over. The last four minutes, the game, the Saints playoffs, and the Saints season.

It also means my Hot Reads season is over, once this story is completed.

Make the jump for my final Hot Reads analysis of the Saints 36-32 loss to the 49ers...

(Holy Crap! That sure was somber, wasn't it? It'll lighten up after the jump, I promise. I mean, we all know the news won't be good, but it'll at least be delivered with a bit more of my trademark levity and verve.)

Saints vs 49ers coverage

Saints vs 49ers recap

Saints vs 49ers box score

Primary Option - Protect Drew Brees

What I'd Like To See: Protection schemes that are executed well and work against this powerful defense, giving up a couple of sacks at most. Brees will need to help this out by getting rid of the ball quickly, moving effectively in the pocket, and making smart decisions under pressure, as he won't have as much time as he usually does to survey the field.

Hoo, boy! Brees sure faced quite a bit of pressure for most of the game. Sometimes he handled it well, and other times not, on his way to a 462 yard, 4 TD day, which doesn't seem too bad, but that day also included throwing 2 INTs and absorbing 3 sacks and 11 hits. But, hey! At least he didn't fumble...

Hot Read: Failed

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Checkdown # 1 - Ball Security

What I'd Like To See: A bowel-unclinching turnover-free game is what I'd most like to see, and if that can't happen, at least keeping the ratio to -1 or better will be required FTW.

Five turnovers, and Ivory even fumbled once and recovered it himself (but it didn't make the stat sheet). What kind of shape do you think my bowels were in during this game? We all saw the damage caused by those takeaways, and the one fumble recovery by the Saints only helped so much, so let's just move along...

Hot Read: Failed

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Checkdown # 2 - Run With Abandon And Don't Abandon The Run

What I'd Like To See: Just enough attempts and yards to keep the 49er defense honest and from being able to key on the pass too much - 25 carries for 100 yards would be a good start (although I'd take less carries if they were gaining 5+ yards per attempt), just as long as they eclipse that century mark on the ground.

They totally abandoned the run and didn't even come close to running with abandon...14 carries for 37 yards. When the going got tough in the ground game, the Saints quit on it.

Hot Read: Failed

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Safety Valve - Holster One Of These Weapons

What I'd Like To See: Keep Gore under 75 yards and out of the end zone, OR deny Davis a score and don't let him get more than 50 receiving yards.

As it turns out, these lethal weapons were pretty much pointed right at the Saints and inflicting maximum damage for the entire game.

Frank Gore carried the ball 13 times for 89 yards and added 7 catches for 38 (but he didn't get into the end zone, so take that, Gore!!!).

Vernon Davis...who's he? Did he even suit up? He suited up to the tune of 180 receiving yards and 2 TDs, as you probably already well know.

The Saints blew it on both counts here for a rather humongously FAILED Hot Read.

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Bonus Hot Read - Take The Long Way Home

What I'd Like To See: Kickoffs for touchbacks or short returns only, and deep, booming punts that are mostly unreturnable, as the 49ers average starting field position is their 25-yard line. It would also help to not have any giveaways that gift them with a short field.

It was bad early (the first four 49er drives started on the: SF 2-yard line, SF 46, NO 4, NO 13), and got better as the game went on, but the average starting yard line of their 16 drives ended up being the SF 36-yard line - d'oh!! Three of the five takeaways gave them extremely short fields (NO 4, NO 13, NO 26) - double d'oh!!!

Hot Read: Failed

* * *

That makes it a clean sweep of Hot Reads Futility for the Saints this week. Nothing like ending on a positive note, right? It's no wonder the game ended as one of the most heart-rending losses in team history. Just goes to show you, don't eff with the Hot Reads.

Let's go ahead and take some time here in the comment section to agree with or refute the wisdom of the Hot Reads, because you won't see them again for a looong time. Although I was thinking about dropping in with some special editions during the offseason (maybe a Free Agency Hot Reads in February or March and/or a 2012 Draft Hot Reads in April? Let me know if you think those would be worth reading...).

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