As mediocre as the offense was, it was the defense on the opposite end of the spectrum, turning in a phenomenal effort throughout all four quarters.
The firs team unit looked sharp to say the least as Roman Harper and Will Smith seemed to constantly be in the backfield to disrupt the play.
It was obvious the push in the middle of the defensive set everyone else up for success and a run at the quarterback.
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams dialed up blitzes on nearly every play, in fact sending the house on 18 of the first 22 defensive snaps.
The defense totaled six sacks — two on Alex Smith and four on Colin Kaepernick — and early indications are the defensive line will be a force to be reckoned with this season.
The Saints opened up with the starting combination of linebacker set as Will Herring on the strong side, Jonathan Vilma at middle linebacker, and Scott Shanle at weak side linebacker.
Ironically the best looking linebacker tonight was not any of the starting trio, but was weakside linebacker Jonathan Casillas.
Casillas was in on several big plays accounting for seven tackles and one sack. It was hard to ignore the fact that the 49ers offensive line had a hard time handling him.
The Saints may give him more playing time with the first string defense and a better shot at reprising his role as a starter if he continues to shine throughout the preseason.
Ending the Saints defense held the 49ers to only 234 yards of total offense and one field goal. Kapernick was also picked twice — once by linebacker Nate Bussey and once by corner Terrail Lambert — which is sure to garner a passing grade from defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
Bad news for the Saints, who may lose corner back Johnny Patrick for an extended period of time after he went down with a leg injury in the third quarter.
Patrick was in obvious pain, was unable to put pressure on the leg, and was eventually carted off the field for further diagnosis.
To date Patrick has been one of the more well known success stories to come out of training camp as he was garnering high praise for his play making ability, and was in competition for the nickel corner spot this season.
Early indications are that Patrick only sprained the knee as X-Rays were negative for any structural damage. Sprains can take two to four weeks to heal completely so Patrick may be done for the preseason but could be back in time for the Saints opening game against the Green Bay Packers.
He was credited with three tackles before his injury.
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