ReFo: 49ers @ Saints, Week 10
Both teams entered this game sitting at 4-4 but where that record left them was very different in their respective divisions. Such is the mess in the NFC South that 4-4 was a division-leading record (hell, 4-5 still is), but out West 4-4 was losing ground with the pace setters.
The 49ers needed the win more than the Saints did and in the end they achieved that victory with a couple of huge plays at key times. The Saints had their chances, but came up short when called upon.
San Francisco 49ers – Performances of Note
Colin Kaepernick, QB: +4.3
Breakdown: This was a fine game from Kaepernick based on his passing, with just a smattering of run plays and improvisation thrown in. Could have put up even better numbers but for some big drops by his receivers.
Signature Play: Q4, 1:39. In a play that came all too close to summing up this game, Kapernick delivers a strike on 3rd-and-10 only for Michael Crabtree to drop a tough catch along the sideline.
Chris Borland, LB: +5.9
Breakdown: The NFL had Borland down for 17 combined takles, and while the actual number is more like 15, that’s still a heck of a total for a player who was always around the football in this game.
Signature Stat: Was thrown at nine times in this game and though that resulted in seven catches, those catches went for a total of 41 yards and were often defensive stops.
Anquan Boldin, WR: -0.4
Breakdown: It’s not often a WR can drop four passes and still escape with a grade hovering around average. Boldin caught six passes for 95 yards and a score, but this was a game of what was left out there for a usually sure-handed receiver.
Signature: Boldin’s four drops are twice as many as we have ever recorded from him before and only the fifth multiple-drop game from him since 2007.
New Orleans Saints – Performances of Note
Jimmy Graham, TE: +2.2
Breakdown: Jimmy Graham was keeping the Saints in this game, and came so close to winning it for them at the death, hauling in the Drew Brees Hail Mary pass only to be flagged for the push off he used to secure it (aided by a nice flop by Perrish Cox). Graham was virtually uncoverable all game long.
Signature Play: Q2, 0:17. The downside to Graham being so tough to cover is that occasionally Brees will put a ball where it has no business being. This pass was thrown into triple coverage, and never had a prayer of being completed.
Kenny Vaccaro, S: -5.4
Breakdown: I had high hopes for Vaccaro and Byrd heading into this season. While injury removed Byrd from the equation, Vaccaro has been playing terribly at times and appears to be trying to replace the loss of missed tackles created by the departure of Malcolm Jenkins.
Signature Stat: Vaccaro missed another two tackles in this game, and now has 15 misses on the season. He has only had two games without a miss, but has two with three or more.
Keenan Lewis, CB: +2.1
Breakdown: This was a remarkable performance from Lewis because he played hurt for much of the game. After defending a deep pass, Lewis was removed from the game and actually told he was out, before arguing his way back on the field and making several key plays, all while limping badly from this injury.
Signature Stat: Allowed just one catch for 15 yards (and a score) all game, while breaking up two of the incomplete targets.
PFF Game Ball
The 49ers are stacked with individual performances that could easily have earned a game ball. Joe Staley and Chris Borland in particular can count themselves unlucky to miss out after strong outings, but this belongs to Colin Kaepernick, who was fantastic despite some pedestrian raw statistics.
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