In a wild, back-and-forth battle between two NFC playoff contenders, the Saints came back to beat the 49ers on a last-second field goal.
That field goal was one of three for New Orleans kicker Garrett Hartley in the final eight minutes of the game as the Saints went from trailing 20-14 to winning 23-20. It was a great comeback win for the Saints.
And it was a comeback win that came with controversy: The 49ers appeared to have taken control of the game with three minutes to play, when linebacker Ahmad Brooks drilled Drew Brees, forcing a fumble that San Francisco recovered. But Brooks was called for a personal foul for hitting Brees in the neck, giving the Saints the ball back, plus giving them 15 yards and a first down. The 49ers were not happy with that call.
The Saints were subsequently unhappy with the lack of an intentional grounding call on 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who did appear to be outside the pocket — though not “well outside” as referee Tony Corrente claimed.
Questionable calls aside, this was a great game, and a great statement win for the Saints. They’re clearly one of the NFL’s elite teams. For the 49ers, it was their second straight tough loss to a fellow NFC playoff contender. San Francisco is 6-4 and still a likely wild card team, but the 49ers have had two chances in the last two weeks to show they’re one of the top teams in the conference, and both times they’ve fallen short.