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Crazy finish in San Fran sends Niners to 0-2

After a stirring effort by the San Francisco 49ers to pull within two points and a conversion attempt that, like New Orleans’ critical two-pointer late in Super Bowl XLIV, prompted a dramatic replay review, the home team squandered its heroic effort by giving the Saints enough time to drive down the field and win, 25-22.

Kicker Garrett Hartley, redeeming himself after a poor showing in Week One, knuckleballed a 37-yard attempt to send the Saints to 2-0 — and to drop the 49ers to 0-2.

Getting the ball with 1:14 to play, Drew Brees led the Saints down the field in six plays before an attempt that, at first blush, appeared to have been partially blocked.  ESPN replays showed that the ball narrowly missed the arm of defensive tackle Ray McDonald.

Setting the stage for the final drive was an impressive 49ers scoring effort that unimpressively left too much time on the clock.  Still, it initially appeared that the Saints would need only to recover an onside kick and take a knee after initial replays suggested that the game-clinching two-point try was not successful.  Tight end Vernon Davis seemed to secure possession of a ball thrown by quarterback Alex Smith only after exiting the front of the end zone.  ESPN offered up a definitive angle following a commercial, which showed that Davis had two feet down when the ball was across the plane and which set the stage for the fateful final drive.

UPDATE:  From the end-zone view, it looked like the kick was blocked.  A slow-motion replay from an angle closer to the line of scrimmage suggested that the trajectory of the ball did not change after passing by defensive tackle Ray McDonald’s arm, which prompted Ron Jaworski to declare that the kick was merely a low-flying knuckler.  The ESPN crawl at the bottom of the screen now says the kick was partially blocked.  If so, the thing may have been no good without the assist from McDonald.

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52 Responses to “Crazy finish in San Fran sends Niners to 0-2”
  1. Chiefs2010 says: Sep 21, 2010 12:09 AM

    Saints got beat up and down the field..
    How do you give Brees that much time?

  2. nps6724 says: Sep 21, 2010 12:10 AM

    Good teams find a way to win even when they play like crap. Take ‘em however you can get ‘em.

  3. cusoman says: Sep 21, 2010 12:12 AM

    That porous Saints D won’t hold up much longer with play like that. Looking at 2-1 after the dirty birds roll into town.
    Really fun game to watch though, thanks players!

  4. Deb says: Sep 21, 2010 12:14 AM

    Had no stake in that contest but couldn’t help feeling heartbreak for the Niners. What a valiant effort against the defending champs! And what a strange bunch of fluke mishaps! Tremendous play by Alex Smith. Very impressive–as were the Saints, of course.

  5. bigstorm says: Sep 21, 2010 12:15 AM

    Not a fan of either team but could the Saints not figure out that Gore is a fairly integral part of the 49ers offense.
    That defensive unit and their coaching staff should be fired for criminal neglect. Did every person in the TV crew, the stadium, on both benches, and in TV land not feel that the Gore run was coming?

  6. In & Out Burger says: Sep 21, 2010 12:15 AM

    When the 49ers play up to their potential, they can keep up with anyone in the NFL (Colts, Saints, Vikings). They just need to limit mistakes.

  7. Testify says: Sep 21, 2010 12:15 AM

    The niners suk again….lol

  8. RexR#1 says: Sep 21, 2010 12:16 AM

    Turnovers in both ends of the field by 49ers lost them both of the first 2 games.

  9. csmalls88 says: Sep 21, 2010 12:17 AM

    Really Florio? Can’t give Smith props for leading the drive of his career against the champs without ripping the niners? Grow up.

  10. Stranger than a strange fan says: Sep 21, 2010 12:18 AM

    Mike Singletary better drop his pants and start slapping, because these guys need another lesson.

  11. PurplePeopleBeaters says: Sep 21, 2010 12:24 AM

    # cusoman says: September 21, 2010 12:12 AM
    That porous Saints D won’t hold up much longer with play like that. Looking at 2-1 after the dirty birds roll into town.
    Really fun game to watch though, thanks players!
    ————————————————-
    I bet you wish the Vikings were looking at 2-1 huh? More like 0-3 when Jahvid Best runs all over that overrated defensive line.

  12. Neverend says: Sep 21, 2010 12:26 AM

    Looks exactly like the NFC Championship game.
    49ers had 417 yards of offense, the Saints had less than 280. 49ers had 4 turnovers, the Saints had none. This team is as lucky of a team as I’ve seen in my life. They like to hang with mediocre teams, and dominate good ones. Odd. Without these turnovers, which half the time is based on pure luck — not Gregg Williams’ blitzes, they would get blown out more often than not.

  13. Mike_in_Texas says: Sep 21, 2010 12:30 AM

    Darrius Heyward Bey – 6 Catches for 80yds in 2QTs (When Gradkowski took over)
    Crabtree – 2 catches for 2games.. LMAO

  14. TryTheVeal says: Sep 21, 2010 12:33 AM

    Yanno Florio……..A young 23 year old player for the Broncos commited suicide today, I BET if this game was on NBC instead of ESPN, you’d be up ALL night, but since you get no ratings points or money from it, go to bed jackass, you are an absolute disgrace and sellout Florio…….Don’t you dare put a video of Florio JR again on this site, you are only here for the MONEY,go put on some makeup and kiss Bob Coatas’s ass…………………Truly PATHETIC

  15. Jack Acid says: Sep 21, 2010 12:34 AM

    The biggest moral victory I can imagine for the young Niners.
    If they continue to play like this, they can easily overcome an 0-2 start in the NFC West.

  16. New Calfornia Stadiums says: Sep 21, 2010 12:36 AM

    Agreed… why don’t you go ahead and change the name of this site to EastCoastProfootballtalk.com
    I’ll go ahead and start a site that actually knows something about any team out west.

  17. RexR#1 says: Sep 21, 2010 12:41 AM

    Both 49ers games were lost by San Fran turnovers and mistakes in both ends of the field. They should be 2-0 right now instead of the reverse, but in that division they’ll still finish first. Last week against Seattle, the time of possession for the first 31 minutes of the game was San Fran 24 and a half minutes/Seattle 6 and a half minutes – because of 3 Smith interceptions, 2 fumbles – one lost and 2 wide open receivers missed in endzone by his overthrown passes score was Seattle 21-6 (inspite of Seattle having the ball a quarter of the time San Fran had) after the one minute of the 2nd half. The game should not have started 6-0 on 2 short range SF field goals but 21-0 San Fran if Smith hadn’t kept on messing up.

  18. 49erFanatic says: Sep 21, 2010 12:42 AM

    It is what it is. The Niners turned the ball over too many times and their clock management sucks. Singletary needs some tutoring on the clock thing ASAP.

  19. TheHippo says: Sep 21, 2010 12:45 AM

    Alex Smith became a quaterback

  20. Rip says: Sep 21, 2010 12:50 AM

    cusoman, 2-1 is a lot better than 0-3. “Porous” defense is still creating turnovers, just like last year.
    Haters, they be hatin’. Get a life and worry about your own team, they definitely need it.

  21. Gautam says: Sep 21, 2010 12:53 AM

    if they can just cut down on those boneheaded mistakes that they kept committing, this team will give a tough time to everybody in the NFL
    given the fact that they are in the NFC West, even a marginal improvement will be enough for the division title!

  22. fatalist says: Sep 21, 2010 1:05 AM

    The 49ers looked great (other than for that long long snap). They went from one of the worst looking teams to one of the better teams in a week.

  23. steel curtain 2k says: Sep 21, 2010 1:14 AM

    # csmalls88 says: September 21, 2010 12:17 AM
    Really Florio? Can’t give Smith props for leading the drive of his career against the champs without ripping the niners? Grow up.
    ____
    Considering ‘the drive of his life’ had the game end with a L for SF makes it pretty unimportant. Sure a mention could be tossed in there but you make it seem like he emulated Elway’s drive to victory.

  24. Who is Mike Jones says: Sep 21, 2010 1:18 AM

    Did anyone look closely at Hartley’s game winning kick? If it weren’t tipped by the niner player, he would have missed it wide left.
    The 49ers literally helped the saints make the winning kick!
    Did anyone see the same thing I saw?

  25. yaryers says: Sep 21, 2010 1:24 AM

    McDonald definitely got a piece of the ball. The replay clearly showed the ball hit his hand, and change rotation. Not sure how the announcers didn’t pick up on it, especially since the guys in the truck slowed down the second replay to make it clear to Tirico and crew that the ball was tipped.

  26. Saints-America'sTeam says: Sep 21, 2010 1:26 AM

    Whew! A thriller indeed. The wind turned out to be a bigger factor than we thought. The Niners, however, know what to do in conditions like that. Just give the rock to one of the best backs in football. Gore. A beast. And Alex Smith did far better than any of us expected. Too many turnovers (takeaways we like to call ‘em) to win, though. Hats off to a really underrated team. But 2-0! Go Saints!

  27. Who is Mike Jones says: Sep 21, 2010 1:30 AM

    Everyone has to take a second look at that last second FG! The 49ers practically sent the ball through the uprights for Hartley who may have been watching the saints play from his house this upcoming Sunday!
    Was anyone paying attention to the kick he Shanked?

  28. Who is Mike Jones says: Sep 21, 2010 1:35 AM

    Did cusoman really thank the players for a good game on PFT?
    Wow, I really appreciate the way you guys kept the game from going to OT! I have a really early morning tomorrow.

  29. RaiderhateR4Life says: Sep 21, 2010 2:10 AM

    Alex Smith haters, shut your mouths for the next week… Thank you

  30. joelvis72 says: Sep 21, 2010 2:15 AM

    It seems like Florio has suddenly realized the Saints had a call go there way with that 2-pointer in the Super Bowl. The dude kicked it out of his hands, Florio.

  31. sweetnlow310 says: Sep 21, 2010 2:19 AM

    So, Smith’s drive of his career still ended in a loss? Not a good sign for 49ers.

  32. windex666 says: Sep 21, 2010 2:34 AM

    The ball was tipped, it hit Ray McDonald’s pinky. One inch farther to the right and that ball is completley batted down. Great game!

  33. bang2gongs says: Sep 21, 2010 2:47 AM

    “that, like New Orleans’ critical two-pointer late in Super Bowl XLIV”
    FAIL.
    31 -17
    Yes, I’ve previously read your irrational rationalization.
    Keep up the good work though .

  34. shortbus says: Sep 21, 2010 2:51 AM

    49ers pissed away that game with mistakes

  35. Raiderrich1911 says: Sep 21, 2010 2:58 AM

    Alex smith sucks 40whiners suck.they will be 0 and 3 after next week at arrowhead

  36. Admiral Obvious says: Sep 21, 2010 4:50 AM

    Get your eyes checked Flo, the kick was partially blocked.

  37. Love_Boat_Scandal says: Sep 21, 2010 5:07 AM

    Don’t list the final score or anything.

  38. Munze Konza says: Sep 21, 2010 5:41 AM

    Ray is quoted as saying he touched it. Also…Squandered…that is pretty harsh to say. Yes they left too much time on the clock, by scoring too fast…but do you really think they should have played for a last second TD? If they miss the 2pt conversion they needed time for an onside kick and FG!

  39. joetoronto says: Sep 21, 2010 6:02 AM

    The Niners played balls to the wall and almost overcame 4 turnovers, but they did themselves in again last night.
    The Saints were ripe for the picking but squeaked it out.

  40. Lent says: Sep 21, 2010 6:49 AM

    The reason the 49ers left time on the clock was in case the two point conversion failed. If the two point failed, they would have had time to on side kick and drive for a game winning field goal. By running all the time off the clock and failing on the two point conversion, the 49ers would have lost for sure. This way they gave their defense a chance to win the game. So in the end their clock management was correct.

  41. Saintsarebest says: Sep 21, 2010 7:59 AM

    And of course the saint’s win. another complete manhandling by the who dat nation! undefeated this seeson and back to back! line them up and we just knck them down!

  42. CookieFlash says: Sep 21, 2010 8:01 AM

    At first I thought Singeltary was a coach on the rise ,with his unique if not unconventional but effective motivational tacticts and kick-em’ in the butt attitude. Now I think his rah-rah is statrting to wear off.
    How long will his schtick be tolerated on a pro-team.
    Seems more like a high school coach to me.

  43. DaveCardsAz says: Sep 21, 2010 8:01 AM

    I like how the announcers kept saying that Alex Smith was having a great game. He threw two picks, that isnt a great game. Ask Derek Anderson.

  44. Caldon says: Sep 21, 2010 8:07 AM

    It clearly hit his arm and I could only shake my head at typical announcer stupidity as they said it wasn’t blocked and was just a low kick.

  45. whodaywhodat says: Sep 21, 2010 8:47 AM

    Good game niners. Way to take your loss like men, not crying like those Queen bitches.

  46. bigpat says: Sep 21, 2010 9:25 AM

    On the road, conference game, MNF, struggling offense and we still won. Great teams…
    Best of all – it was Jerry Rice night. NO and SF have completely reversed from Rice’s playing days and on his special night – We Whooped Dat ASS!

  47. urworstnitemare says: Sep 21, 2010 9:34 AM

    I live on the east coast and don’t get to see the Niners play that much. I’m not a fan of theirs, but I really enjoy watching Gore play. I saw him last year during a prime time game also and he is quite a talent . Its too bad that they don’t get nationally televised more as he has to be one of the best backs, if not the best in the NFL , but gets little recognition outside the west coast. I also think the Niners have to be one of the best 0-2 teams out there and will soon be a yearly contender.

  48. FinFan says: Sep 21, 2010 9:41 AM

    The two pointer haunts

  49. Saintsarebest says: Sep 21, 2010 11:02 AM

    whodaywhodat says:
    September 21, 2010 8:47 AM
    Good game niners. Way to take your loss like men, not crying like those Queen bitches.
    ——————————————
    “Queen bitches” that is too funny! I wish i was as clever as you and thought of that!
    I came up with “faux news” instead of “fox news”. I thought that was funny because they don’t like our president and say our taxes are too high and they lie!
    Love it man keep them coming!

  50. Vee says: Sep 21, 2010 12:38 PM

    As a long suffering Saints fan who is FINALLY rejoicing after games, I gotta admire the 49r’s. They were rugged, hard hitting, no quitting, didn’t back down, made plays when they had to, all that.
    But the Saints look like the old 49r’s, in that they just seem to find ways to win ugly. Can’t count on 4 TO’s every week though, so our offense really needs to get it in gear like.
    None the less, hats off to the SF fans who don’t sit around whining like babies and idiots about NFL conspiracies, as is the apparent practice of most Vikings fans.

  51. NinerDynasty says: Sep 21, 2010 9:28 PM

    # Raiderrich1911 says: September 21, 2010 2:58 AM
    Alex smith sucks 40whiners suck.they will be 0 and 3 after next week at arrowhead
    —————————————————
    what are you? 5 y.o?

  52. NinerDynasty says: Sep 21, 2010 9:32 PM

    # bigpat says: September 21, 2010 9:25 AM
    On the road, conference game, MNF, struggling offense and we still won. Great teams…
    Best of all – it was Jerry Rice night. NO and SF have completely reversed from Rice’s playing days and on his special night – We Whooped Dat ASS!
    ————————————————–
    Whooped dat ass? what game were you watching. Yes, the saints won, but if any team got whooped that would be the saints. It was a great game though~

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