While perusing Peter King’s always-indispensable Monday Morning Quarterback column, I remembered a point that got lost in the frenzy of weekend football action.
The thrilling finish we enjoyed on Saturday shouldn’t have happened.
In MMQB, King takes a great look at the bowling-ball block from 49ers tackle Joe Staley on Saints safety Isa Abdul-Quddus that cleared the final portion of Alex Smith’s path to the end zone for a 28-yard go-ahead touchdown run. But Smith arguably should have gone Brian Westbrook, taking a knee at the one with 2:11 to play. (And, yes, 2:11 was left on the clock when Westbrook infamously sacrificed a touchdown.)
The clock would have trickled to two minutes, the Saints had only one timeout, and the Niners would have been able to milk the clock under 40 seconds before kicking what would have been the game-winning field goal.
Instead, the 49ers left the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees way too much time — and Brees took full advantage of it. Fortunately for the 49ers, Brees took too much advantage of it.
It all worked out in the end for the 49ers, providing San Fran fans with “The Catch, Part III” and everyone watching the game with an unforgettable memory. But it shouldn’t have created quite as many gray hairs and/or ulcers for our pal Sam Francisco and the rest of the 49ers fans. Instead of having to pull the latest Dwight Clark/Terrell Owens rabbit out of their hats, the 49ers merely should have had to keep the Saints from scoring a field goal with roughly 30 seconds on the clock.