By: Ben Scheffer contributing writer for Telegraph Local
The San Francisco 49ers defeated the New Orleans Saints 48-46 on Sunday and now control their own destiny as the top seed in the NFC with just three weeks to go in the season. Despite trailing by 13 twice in the first half the 49ers went into half time with a 28-27 lead in part thanks to a 75 touchdown strike from Jimmy Garoppolo to Emmanuel Sanders, the wide out would go on to throw a touchdown to Raheem Mostart, both plays cut into the double digit leads that the Saints had built.
New Orleans would hold a 30-28 lead in the second half when star running back Alvin Kamara had a costly fumble that would lead to a five yard touchdown by 49ers Tight End George Kittle. When trailing 35-33 the Saints faked a punt and Tasom Hill launched a pass deep down the field to Tre’Quan Smith where the officials failed to call defensive pass interference in yet another game at the Super Dome. Trailing 42-40 Saints Quarterback Drew Brees led a seven play 76 yard drive that ended with an 18 yard touchdown pass to Tre’Quan Smith with just under a minute to go. The Saints would then fail a costly two point conversion attempt.
The 49ers got the ball back one final time and Jimmy G would lead his team on a 7 play 63 yard drive that ended with a 30 yard Robbie Gould field goal as time expired. The 49ers QB had a career day completing 26 out 35 passes for 349 yards and 4 scores as he puts his team in the driver’s seat as the season boils down to an end. This win carries playoff implications as the 49ers now hold a tie breaker over the Saints just as they do with the Packers. Knowing how good the 49ers are at home this win could easily grant them the route to the big game that they desire. San Francisco will have a pivotal season finale in Seattle as the winner of that game could end up winning the division where the loser would have to go on the road to either Dallas or Philadelphia.
Despite a career day by Drew Brees as he went 29 for 40 for 349 yards with 5 touchdowns through the air and one on the ground, this loss could be costly for the Saints as they fall to the three seed in the NFC playoff picture at 10-3 with Green Bay holding the tie breaker for the two seed that would earn them their first playoff bye since 2014 if the season were to end today. With the four front runners in San Francisco, Green Bay, New Orleans, and Seattle it should be interesting to see how this game effects the playoff picture going forward.