That was absolutely brutal. And it felt too reminiscent of wounds that still hadn’t fully healed, but more on that in a bit.
It was still a roller coast of a game, with plenty of “Ups” and “Downs” along the way, though. Here are a few that stood out:
The New Orleans Saints were already down two of their three starting linebackers and their starting left guard before opening kickoff. By the end of the game, Marcus Davenport, Sheldon Rankins, and Jared Cook joined Kiko Alonso, AJ Klein, and Andrus Peat with injuries.
If the Saints want to make a run of things this postseason, they will need to get healthy, and sooner rather than later. Jared Cook’s concussion is the biggest concern, as the Saints offense seemed to be firing on all cylinders early in the game, and then struggled to find the same success after Cook was the victim of an illegal hit on his second touchdown reception.
Up: Drew Brees
The Saints lost this game, but not because of a lack of effort from their future Hall of Fame quarterback.
Drew Brees looked like vintage Drew Brees, throwing for 349 yards and five touchdowns on 29 of 40 passes and added another touchdown on the ground (or rather, in the air, as it was scored via the textbook Drew Brees Leap).
All in all, Drew looks to be peaking at the right time as the regular season comes to a close, including making one of his crispest passes of the last couple of years.
Name me a better QB/WR duo. @Cantguardmike @drewbrees #SportsTalkLine #49ersvsSaints #49ers #Saints #NFL pic.twitter.com/4R0e71QhMU— Spinksy (@SpinksyNFL) December 9, 2019
Down: Old Wounds
The New Orleans Saints scored a go-ahead touchdown against the 49ers late, but instead of possibly going down at the one to drain out extra clock, the receiver ran into the end zone for the score. On the ensuing possession, the Saints defense coordinator called a blitz which left the San Francisco tight end on an island, despite the tight end being one of the premier pass-catching options in the 49er offense. The Saints’ defender missed the tackle in the open field and the 49ers went on to score, take the lead, and win the game.
Am I talking about the game yesterday afternoon or the 2012 divisional round matchup between these two teams?
It’s like that around here right now.
Up: Michael Thomas
Alvin Kamara struggled. Ted Ginn Jr. was nonexistent. Latavius Murray couldn’t produce in the passing game. Jared Cook got concussed.
The Saints offense couldn’t get much going, especially late, but when they needed to make a play, they were able to trust the best receiver in the league right now, Michael Thomas.
Thomas finished with 11 receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown.
Lost in today's game, but Michael Thomas bested his single-season franchise record-setting receiving performance from a season ago (1,405). He's now at 1,424 yards on 121 catches and 7 touchdowns for the Saints.— John Hendrix (@JohnJHendrix) December 8, 2019
Thomas is now 24 receptions away from breaking Marvin Harrison’s single-season receptions record of 143 set by Marvin Harrison in 2002.
This means Thomas needs to average 8 receptions per game over the course of the next three games to break the record.
Let’s make it happen.