Saints make no excuses after 48-46 loss to 49ers

Amos Morale III
December 08, 2019 - 6:39 pm
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The New Orleans Saints suffered their third loss of the season Sunday as San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould drilled a 30-yard field goal with time expiring to seal his team’s 48-46 victory. 

The kick came just 53 seconds after the Saints (10-3) had regained the lead on an 18-yard touchdown pass to Tre’Quan Smith, but failed to extend it to three with a two-point conversion.

The 49ers (11-2) then drove 63 yards in seven plays, including a 39-yard reception from San Francisco tight end George Kittle, where he was able to get open with Saints rookie C.J. Gardner-Johnson in coverage and then fight his way to the Saints 28-yard line, to score. 

“It is what it is,” Gardner-Johnson said. “He made a good play.  He’s an All-Pro; I’m a rookie, but that’s no excuse.  I’m out there.  He’s executing.  Like I said, they pay him just like they pay me.” 

But the Saints defensive back’s teammates pointed to more than just the 49ers’ final drive as the reason they lost. 

“We just got to do our job better,” Saints safety Marcus Williams said.

Saints players felt they had several opportunities to come out on top in Sunday’s matchup and nearly every player echoed Williams, when discussing key moments in the matchup.

Whether it was Cam Jordan taking the blame for allowing San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to scramble for a first down in the fourth quarter, or Drew Brees saying the offense had “several things” they can clean up, the Saints made no excuses for Sunday’s loss.

“That’s just the way it goes sometimes,” said Saints tight end Josh Hill, who had a touchdown reception in the loss. “We’ve had games like that before here. We can’t point the finger at someone else.  We always gotta look in the mirror and bounce back next week.” 

Jordan said that approach will be key as the Saints head down the final stretch of the season.

“We approach the last three games just like we approach this next game, just like we approach every day, we try and get one percent better,” Jordan said. “We try and better ourselves — better than we were the day before.  

“We talk about what we have to do to build off this loss.  We have to be the most critical of ourselves.”

One area Jordan is looking to correct was the Saints rushing defense, which allowed 162 yards to 49ers ball carriers. 

“At the end of the day, they ended up with over a buck-fifty (150 yards rushing) on the ground,” he said.  “Whether that’s Jimmy scrambling, whether that’s the 15 running backs that they have in the backfield, it’s something that we knew coming in that we were going to have to stop.” 

Brees mentioned a couple instances where the Saints’s offense could have done more as well.

“I felt like we did a lot of things really well today, but there were definitely a few things here and there that could have put us in position for another field goal, which makes a difference at the end or extend a drive," he said.  "Don't give them the ball back in second quarter, which allowed them to go down and get a touchdown.  So many little things that I know were just from an execution perspective on our end.”

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