The Saints had won nine straight games. Heck, they had covered the point spread in nine straight games, which is almost unheard of.
“It stings right now because of the expectation level we had coming into this,” Drew Brees said after the game via the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “A tough pill to swallow.”
Ultimately, the 49ers did the little things better. They tackled better. They avoided unforced errors. They put pressure on Brees well until late in the game.
“I never felt so good about a team ever,” tackle Jermon Bushrod said. “So yeah, it felt like ’09. It felt like we had everything going for us. And to have our season end the way that it did. The way we were able to go out there and put our better foot forward (late in the game), it just hurts. It hurts, man.”
Saturday’s game against the 49ers will go down as an all-time classic. It included two teams with legitimate championship hopes and some team had to lose.
Two years after their incredible Super Bowl run, the Saints faced the realization that this wasn’t their year.
“I felt like we had all the pieces in place. I felt like we were playing very, very well,” Brees said. “We were getting better each week. We were healthy. I felt like this was our opportunity to make a run.”