Ouch...that one hurt. So I had a surprise trip to NOLA today and went to see our Niners play. Here are some random observations.
1. The 49ers were very well represented in the stands and on the street. I was very surprised with this turnout. I saw more people in 49er gear than I did back in February during Super Bowl week.
2. The Superdome has turned into a Shop of Horrors for us. It's no surprise that the Saints have a massive advantage playing in the dome. Very, very loud. Onscreen decibel meter went over 115 numerous times.
3. Our defense is very, very good. I was pleasantly surprised in our defensive backs. For three quarters Brees only attempted one deep ball which was incomplete.
4. The middle of our defensive line got pushed around today and was soft against the run.
5. The loss of Terrell Brown was too much today. Brees exploited his absence almost exclusively in the second half.
6. Aldon Smith was a complete non factor. No push at all.
7. Ahmad Brooks was in beast mode and got great penetration throughout the game. His penalty was complete BS and even the Saints fans knew it.
8. Both challenges we made in the first half were obvious even in real time and should not have been thrown. On the TD review Harbaugh wasn't going to throw it but the WR pleaded with him to throw the flag. He even got Gore in on it...even though it was obvious to everyone he bobbled it.
9. During the TD review most of our offensive line went up and hugged and high fived Parys Haralson. It's obvious he was liked.
10. During Iupati's injury the whole OL, Harbaugh and Kapernick stayed with him. Kapernick and Harbaugh helped him to his feet. It's obvious they like him.
11. Adam Snyder did okay for the most part but it's obvious they don't trust him. Immediately after he came in they slid Gore to that side the rest of the game to help block.
12. Why does everyone say Bruce Miller is such a good blocker? He was the main problem today in our run game. I watched him repeatedly blow through the line and look for someone to block on the second level and he totally disregarded the defensive linemen and linebackers. They would just let him run by and then converge on Gore or Hunter. Had he blocked at the line we would have had big holes to run through.
13. Speaking of running it is now crystal clear Kapernick has been instructed not to run. The running lanes were there all day and he wouldn't take off. I'll say that again for our OC...Kapernick could have run wild today! Free Kap! Free Kap!
14. Spillman is terrific on special teams. His game day speed on coverage is amazing. He routinely beats double teams and is the first one to the return man.
15. Boldin is a large man. I often thought he was Vernon. He plays with much intensity and jawed with Saints defenders all game.
16. Our wide receivers, Boldin included, got little to no seperation today. Seeing it live and watching away from the ball made that crystal clear today.
17. We made more defensive substitutions today than I can remember in many years. Almost every play we rotated 3-5 guys. I was stunned. It bit us twice. On two long Brees completions it was due to confusion by our defense due to mass subs. Brees was smart enough to pull the trigger fast.
18. Final thought - We got killed today on offense by our fullback and back up tight ends. They often lined up wrong or wouldn't motion. That's why we kept calling time outs. It was not the wide outs or OL.