The national stage is set for tonight’s showdown between the 49ers and the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints. The Monday Night Football crew is set up down on the field for the 5:30 kickoff. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN and locally on CW 44.
The 49ers injury report lists Eric Heitmann as out, Ted Ginn, William James, Chilo Rachal and Kyle Williams as doubtful, Phillip Adams as questionable, Patrick Willis, Adam Snyder, Ahmad Brooks and Alex Boone as probable.
Jerry Rice will be inducted into 49ers Hall of Fame at halftime and have his jersey retired. As you can tell from the picture above, it should be a great halftime ceremony!
The inactive list for both teams will be posted 90 minutes prior to kickoff.
I spoke with 49ers broadcaster Ted Robinson before the game for our weekly segment “Teddy Football.” Ted answered a few questions that fans submitted so if you’d like to have your questions answered in the future, stay tuned to our blog throughout the week or send them in on Twitter using the tag #TeddyFootball. Click here to listen to our Week 2 Q&A.
49ers Inactives: QB Troy Smith (3rd QB), WR Kyle Williams, WR Ted Ginn, CB Tramaine Brock, CB William James, G Chilo Rachal, C Eric Heitmann and T Alex Boone
Saints Inactives: RB Chris Ivory, CB Patrick Robinson, S Chris Reis, LB Anthony Waters, T Zach Strief, TE Tory Humphrey, WR Adrian Arrington, DE Junior Galette
With Rachal out, Adam Snyder will get the start at right guard.
The Saints won the toss and deferred. Delanie Walker took the kick for the 49ers and got out near midfield, but a holding call against Moran Norris backed them up to the 10. The 49ers gave the ball to Frank Gore on the first two plays of the game. On third down, David Baas’ snap went well over the head of Alex Smith. The ball rolled into the end zone and Smith batted it out of bounds to take the safety.
Saints 2 – 49ers 0
Lee’s punt went into the wind and the Saints will get the ball inside the 49ers territory at the 46. The Saints picked up a first down on a well executed screen pass to Pierre Thoms down to the 36. On 3rd and short, the Saints went with a play action pass to Heath Evans who was wide open on the right side for a gain of 18 which gave them a first down inside the 10. On 2nd and goal, Brees had plenty of time to throw and found Reggie Bush on a slant for the score.
Saints 9 – 49ers 0
Hartley’s kick was short thanks to the Candlestick wind. The kick was fielded by Norris who brought it out to the 28. On 3rd and 2, Brian Westbrook came into the game and took the direct snap for no gain. Lee’s kick was fielded around the 10 by Reggie Bush. His former USC teammate was the first man down and did a good job to wrap Bush up in the open field.
The Saints started their drive at the 10. The Saints picked up one first down, but that was it. The 49ers defense was able to get the Saints in a 3rd and long situation and Brees overthrew Shockey to go 3 and out. Phillip Adams returned the punt 16 yards and was barely tripped up otherwise he might have taken it back to the score. A great return by the rookie put the 49ers at their own 46.
The 49ers picked up their first 1st down on the game on a quick out to Josh Morgan. Michael Crabtree threw a nice block to spring Morgan out to the NO 39. After a seven-yard run by Gore, the Saints jumped offsides to give the 49ers a fresh set of downs. On the very next play, Smith threw for Gore on a quick out. The ball bounced off his hands right to Roman harper for the pick.
The Saints began their next drive at the 32. The Saints picked up one first down, but the defense came up big yet again. On 3rd down, Ahmad Brooks came off the edge and brought down Brees for the sack. Morstead’s punt was a good one, downed inside the 10. The referees consulted at said the ball touched Adams. Singletary challenged the call. After review, it was ruled that the ball did not touch Adams and the 49ers offense will take over at the 18.
On 1st down, Smith escaped some pressure and dove for a gain of 4 up the left sideline. The 49ers converted on 3rd down as Smith hit Morgan on a crossing route. Randall Gay was one of two DBs who pushed Morgan out and Gay was shaken up on the play.
Standout Stat: Total Yards – Saints 70, 49ers 56. Despite trailing 9-0 and the end of the quarter, the defense has done well to force two punts. The offense moved the ball well but was hurt by the interception.
Highlight Reel: Phillip Adams showed his ability with a solid opening punt return. If he wasn’t tripped up, he would have been in the end zone.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers clearly did not start the way they wanted to with the safety and they made things hard on themselves with an interception in a situation that they could have possibly kicked a field goal. However, at 9-0 the 49ers have shown resiliency and the defense has come up big to force two punts. If the 49ers can get points on their current drive, they can seize momentum.
The 49ers began the quarter with a first down at the 39. Gore picked up one first down and Smith hit Walker who found a seam for a gain of 22 and another first down. On 3rd down, the Saints brought pressure. Smith stayed in the pocket and tossed it to Gore in the right flat. The pass hit Gore in stride and the Pro Bowl back was able to make a nice catch and outrun his defender to sneak in for the touchdown.
Saints 9 – 49ers 7
Nedney’s kick sailed into the end zone for a touchback. It’s great when Spikes dances on the field because that means he just made a big play. He did just that on the first play of the drive, flying into the backfield to drill Pierre Thomas for no gain. On 3rd and 10, the Saints ran a screen to Bush for 11 yards. Wow! On 2nd down, Brees hit Bush for a gain of 2, but Bush got the worst of it as he was de-cleated by Patrick Willis. Great hit! Brees overthrew Shockey on 3rd down. Phillip Adams returned the punt 7 yards out to the 17.
Gore picked up 8 yards on the first play of the drive as he continues to have success up the middle. Snyder was flagged for a false start though on the next play. On 3rd and 6, Smith hit Davis over the middle who dragged his defender for additional yardage, gain of 15 on the play. Following the two-minute warning, Smith had a free play with an offsides flag and hit Morgan on a deep comeback for a gain of 15 down to the 32. A big run by Gore on the next play as he bounced it out to the right and hit a seam for 10 yards. Smith hit Walker inside the 10. Walker had the ball pop loose and what could have been a great drive to end the half. Instead, the 49ers turned the ball over.
The Saints got possession at the 3-yard line. The Saints ran the ball on 1st and 2nd down and the 49ers used two of their three timeouts in hopes of getting the ball back one more time in the half. On 3rd down, Brees hit Henderson for a first down, but the reviews showed his second foot may have been out of bounds. The booth elected to review the play. The ruling on the field held up. The Saints ran one more play to end the half.
Standout Stat: Smith leads Brees in passing yards, 122 to 84
Highlight Reel: You’ll be seeing Willis’ hit on Bush on Sportscenter intros for a long time to come.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers put themselves in position to have the lead at halftime. Walker’s fumble really hurt, but the 49ers have shown the ability to slow down the Saints’ offense. They’ll need to come out clicking in the second half and reestablish the rhythm they had on that final drive.
Brees got things rolling for the Saints on their first drive, moving the chains as he found Colston along the sideline. Willis helped bring the drive to a halt though, bringing Brees down on a blitz up the middle for loss of 10. The punt was downed at the 14.
Smith moved the chains on a 32-yard pass to Michael Crabtree. Crabtree made one man miss and then nearly broke it. On the next play, Smith hit Davis over the shoulder for a beautiful pitch and catch to net 41 yards. That gave them a 1st and goal at the 9. Anthony Dixon came in for Gore and made the most of his first NFL carry, running in for the score to give the 49ers the lead.
49ers 14 – Saints 9
Courtney Roby answered with a good return out to the 39. The Saints picked up 9 on a screen pass to Thomas and Parys Haralson was called for a personal foul for roughing the passer. Just like that, the Saints have the ball at the SF 37. The Saints converted on 3rd down as they continue to set up screen passes on long downs. Bush caught this screen pass for a gain of 11. On 3rd and goal, Brees hit David Thomas on a short slant for the touchdown.
Saints 16 – 49ers 14
Walker returned the kick out to the 18. On 3rd and 8, Smith hit Gore, but he was brought down by Vilma just shy of the sticks. The delay of game penalty really hurt them.
Bush fielded Lee’s punt and made the first few men miss. Andy Lee saved what would have been a touchdown as he pushed him out near the 35.
Standout Stat: Smith’s QB rating of 104.2 has helped keep the 49ers in this game.
Highlight Reel: Smith’s 41-yard pass to Davis was thrown on a rope and couldn’t have been placed any better.
Put it in Perspective: Though the 49ers trail, it’s still just a one score game. The Saints won’t go away easily so the 49ers will have to have a few more scoring drives in them if they hope to pull it out.
On 3rd down, Reggie Smith batted down Brees’ pass intended for Colston. Hartley’s 46-yard field goal was good.
Saints 19 – 49ers 14
The kick sailed into the end zone for a touchback and Gore gave them two quick first downs with two runs up the middle to move the ball out to the 40. On 3rd and short, Vernon Davis was in 1 on 1 coverage to the left side and raised up his hand before the play. Smith lobbed him the ball and all Roman Harper could do is interfere. The flag came out and the 49ers got a first down at the 22. On the next play, Smith’s pass was tipped and found Tracy Porter instead of Crabtree, who was wide open on the slant.
After the pick, the Saints started their drive at the 15. Lawson drove them back 5 yards, reading the screen to Thomas and dropping him behind the line. Brees scrambled on 3rd down and the 49ers defense held up nicely on the back end as Brees slid for 7 yards. Adams fielded the kick put the Saints had it covered.
The 49ers began their next drive from the 31. The 49ers picked up a first down thanks to a neutral zone infraction on the Saints followed by a 6 yard pass to Davis. Davis and Smith weren’t on the same page on the ensuing 3rd down as the pass was well behind the tight end. Bush fumbled the punt, but was fortunate to have it bounce back to him. Bush was injured on the play and was helped off the field.
On 3rd and 1, the 49ers defense held. Brees went with the play fake and Willis checked Henderson as they tried to set up the screen to him. Adams muffed the punt along the right sideline and the Saints recovered.
Brees hit Colston inside the 5 for a 1st down. Willis and Co. held up FB Heath Evans at the 1-yard line to force the field goal try. The 19-yard field goal was good.
Saints 22 – 49ers 14
Walker returned the kick to the 18. With 2:08 remaining and no timeouts, the 49ers need to go the length of the field and go for the two-point conversion. Davis moved the chains with a 16-yard comeback and the clock stopped at the two minute warning. Smith did well to escape the pressure on the next play and picked up 12 as he ran out of bounds to stop the clock. Smith found Morgan along the right sideline for 12 yards, getting out of bounds. Smith tried to hit Davis on a seam pass, but he couldn’t hang on. Smith hit Gore on the screen pass and he got a nice block from Adam Snyder to pick up 18 yards down to the 21. Smith scrambled again on the next play, picking up 12 yards down to the 9 and got out of bounds to stop the clock with 1:26 remaining. Smith hit Zeigler crossing down to the 7 and he got out of bounds. Gore then rushed in for the 7-yard score on the next play! Smith hit Vernon at the goal line and the ruling was that he was just short. The play went to review. The ruling was overturned as it was ruled the ball crossed the line and the 49ers have tied it up at 22 with 1:19 remaining.
49ers 22 – Saints 22
Roby returned the kick to the 30. The Saints have 2 timeouts with 1:14 remaining. Brees hit Thomas for 8 yards. He didn’t get out of bounds. Brees hit Thomas again out past midfield. They used a timeout with 43 seconds left in the game. Reggie Smith dove and nearly picked off Brees’ pass for Colston. Brees hit Colston against the coverage of Goldson for 30 yards. Brees hit Shockey down at the 14 and Hartley will come out for the field goal attempt. The Saints were flagged for a false start and that will make it more difficult. The kick was tipped yet somehow went into the end zone and the 49ers lose a heartbreaker.
Saints 25 – 49ers 22
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