SAN FRANCISCO — Five things we learned while watching the Saints beat the 49ers in a real nail-biter on Monday Night Football, with New Orleans winning 25-22 on Garrett Hartley’s wounded-duck field goal as time expired …
1. It’s not a good idea to guarantee that your defense will stop Drew Brees. Niners coach Mike Singletary, exasperated with an interview during his very exasperating week leading up to Monday night, proclaimed, “We will not try to stop Drew Brees. We will stop Drew Brees.”
And for the most part, the 49ers defense did a good job of containing Brees and the high-octane Saints on Monday. But the 49ers defenders had to back up their coach’s words when the Saints got the ball with 79 seconds left, two timeouts remaining and 70 yards to go to win the game. And they couldn’t do it.
“We were very confident,” said Saints safety Roman Harper. “We go against Drew every day in practice. We know how perfectly he can run that offense.”
When the 49ers really had to stop Brees, he drove his team into field-goal range, handled the clock perfectly and allowed Hartley to kick the game-winner.
“We knew exactly what we had to do,” Brees said. “We’ve shown that we can win a game.”
2. The Saints offense is still a work in progress, but that might serve the defending champions well in the long run. For the second game in a row, the Saints won, but their offense sputtered at times and didn’t look like the same club that rolled up on the opposition last season. After scoring 14 points in their home opener against the Vikings, the Saints managed just two touchdowns against the 49ers.