3 reasons why the New Orleans Saints lost to the 49ers
Yes, the officials struck back again to hinder New Orleans from a better chance of winning.
Saints fans remember this head referee, John Hussey, from his crew’s clock error in the team’s Week 1 30-28 win over the Houston Texans.
In this game, the 49ers had more penalties, but the ones the Saints received came at the worst of times.
Getting defensive holding infractions and an unnecessary roughness call led to three free first downs for San Francisco, keeping the defense on the field instead of heading to the bench.
Now the Saints need to get more breaks for free first downs on a regular basis, but the lack of a flag on a fake punt in the second half still baffles many fans.
When a punt formation is on the field for a fourth down, the NFL says that because the defense has gunners near the sidelines ready to jam and block downfield for a return, there is no pass interference awarded.
As obvious as it was for pass interference on that fake punt, the referees can’t give the Saints that call because it was a punt and not a standard offensive play.
But the officials don’t get off the hook as some ticky-tacky calls went the 49ers’ way and helped San Francisco extend drives.
The only bright side for New Orleans after this loss is that it prepared for one of the toughest opponents in the NFC and may not see it again until January.
It also can’t fail any lower than third in the playoff picture and still has a chance to reclaim the top seed with three games left.
The Seattle Seahawks would have to knock off the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17 in the Pacific Northwest in order for the Saints to have any hopes of getting the No. 1 seed back.
They will also need the Green Bay Packers to lose at least one more game in the regular season, along with the Seahawks, to break some tie-breakers.
If the Saints finished (13-3), they would only gain home-field advantage with the Seahawks winning the NFC West at (13-3) and the Green Bay Packers winning the NFC North or making the playoffs at (12-4).
There are still three games to go, but the Saints need to peak very soon before the postseason begins, and with some luck, it may start in New Orleans in the Divisional Round after a week off.