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New Orleans Saints Beat San Francisco 49ers In Roster Game
Written by  // Saturday, 13 August 2011 12:46 //

PaytonThe Saints used an ultra-aggressive blitzing defense in blindsiding the 49ers 24-3 in the preseason opener on Friday night before a sellout crowd at the renovated Superdome. 

They forgot to tell the 49ers that the lockout was over in Jim Harbaugh's debut as their head coach. 

"We're not a team yet," said Saints coach Sean Payton. "We're a roster."

 First-round draft pick Mark Ingram delivered what the Who Dat Nation came to see: A 14-yard touchdown run on which he bounced off a defender and spun to keep his balance.

 "Just being able to get in the end zone for the first time being an NFL player is special for me," said the former Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama. "I just have to thank the line for blocking great. That's what really allowed me to get in. All I had to do was make one guy miss." Ingram gained 23 yards on 6 carries. 

A highlight of the game was unknown wide receiver Joseph Morgan, an undrafted free agent out of Walsh College  and Canton, Ohio, returned  a punt 78 yards for a touchdown, After his return, fans went to their programs to find out who was that. "I was scared, nervous because I haven't done punts since I was a senior in high school,"  said Morgan.. 

Morgan made one one tackler miss with a spin move, slipped by two other tacklers as he made his way outside and then cut back across the field with breakaway speed. "I didn't think I was going to score at first," said the rookie. "After I got out to the edge, the first thing I saw was the kicker, and they tell you if the kicker tackle you, don't even go back to the  bench," 

The Saints blitzed relentlessly and had six sacks in the first half. 

The 49ers might want to consider shopping for a veteran quarterback. 

The Saints brought in defensive tackles Shaun Rogers and  Aubrayo Franklin in the offseason and these two along with Sedrick Ellis, will give the Saints more power inside. That should allow the Saints to win on first downs, a minus last season when the defense finished 26th in the league in opponents' first-down efficiency. 

That and the addition of Ingram and defensive end Cameron Jordan could allow the Saints to be the best in the NFC again. 

While Darren Sproles will likely return punts in the regular season, Payton did not want him to do so in the preseason opener, which gave Morgan his chance,"

 

Drew Brees was not happy with the way his offense played while he was briefly in the game, finishing 1-of-4 for 6 yards before Chase Daniel came in to get the Saints' first down on a 19-yard scramble, which had 15 yards added for a late hit. That set up Garrett Hartley's 47-yard field goal for the first points in the game.

 

Daniel was 13-of-21 for 129 yards and led all three Saints scoring drives before being relieved by Sean Canfield in the final minutes, Joique Bell led the Saints on the ground with 52 yards on 9 carries.

 

Ingram's touchdown gave the Saints a 17-0 lead late in the first half. Reserve running back Chris Taylor added 4-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

 

The Saints aggressive, blitzing defense allowed the 49ers only 234 total yards on offense. The 49ers, who were blitzed 18 times, converted on just 3 of 16 third downs, a horrific 19 per cent rate.

 

Alex Smith and backup Colin Kaepernick had a combined quarterback rating of 25.6.

 

Sean Payton

Opening Statement: “There were a couple guys nicked up; Johnny Patrick’s knee, we think it’s a sprain; Robert Meachem had a lower back strain, and Joique Bell we held (back) at some point in the third quarter, I don’t think it was anything serious. I told the team, I thought there were some good things we did. I thought we played with good energy and I thought we did a good job hustling to the ball. Aside from being the first preseason game, it was really the first time we got to see these guys in a move the ball situation. By and large, I thought they handled the substitution aspect of it well. I thought, offensively, a few penalties hurt us. We weren’t very good on third downs, but we managed to hang in there and progressively did some things there as the game went on. Defensively, I thought we were very good early on in applying pressure. We probably pressured more in this preseason game as we have in others, but overall there will be a lot of tape for us to watch. Obviously, we have a lot of things to improve on. I thought in the kicking game there were some really good things. We’ll have a chance to see the play of some young guys that covered well. That, of course, will be important as we evaluate these positions, especially the two and three deep. Overall, there are some encouraging things and yet a number of things we’ll have to improve.”

 

(On the attention to detail he was looking for) “I don’t know if anyone would be able to say that looked uniquely different than last year’s first game. As a coach, what I see is a lot of things we have to work on to improve. Fortunately, we have some time here and we have a lot of preseason games ahead. It’s going to be important for all the teams, this is the case every year, but especially this year, the improvement from these early preseason games to the latter prior to the start of the regular season. That is something we are all in a race to do, in a race to correct the mistakes and be ready by the time the regular season starts. It’s not a sprint, but, nonetheless, there is some urgency to these practices. I think we all need to recognize that starting with me and the coaches. The players will be off tomorrow, Saturday. There will be a curfew tomorrow night and then Sunday our C-schedule, which is basically meetings and weight lifting the morning and then an afternoon practice, which we will have inside. That just gives you an idea of tomorrow and the next day and then of course, we are into another full week of training camp. We need the work and we look forward to that.”

 

(On special teams play) “I thought it was encouraging. When you can score in the kicking game and then you hold your opponents to 3-of-16 on third down with 229 yards, there are a lot of things that are going to win games for you or tilt the odds in your favor of winning. I thought there were a lot of positive signs. I thought we covered the kickoffs well, it’s the first time around to recognize how teams are going to handle a ball kicked midway into the end zone. From our standpoint, we are going to be fairly conservative, take the ball on the 20 yard line and certainly we will be prepared to return kicks if they are kicked with a lower trajectory. Tonight there were two opportunities where San Francisco took it out, I thought we covered those well inside the 20. We had the one blocked punt; I want to see it on tape. I think there was an extra defender, but I am not certain that was the reason it was blocked. Nonetheless, we will look and try to correct that, but I did think we played with some energy and juice and that was exciting. And I think there’s some young guys that we are going to put this tape on and maybe feel a little differently tomorrow than we did prior to tonight’s game. These young guys, their first opportunity is always an interesting evaluation. There’s an old saying, ‘if they don’t bite when they’re puppies, they’re probably never going to,’ and I think some of them were physical tonight and that’s encouraging.”
 

(On Joe Morgan) “I think from a return standpoint, he has demonstrated in the early part of practices, I think you guys may have had a chance to see his speed, he runs well. Every year, and I mention this to the group of them, but every year a team has someone who returns a punt or a kick for a touchdown and opens eyes and he did that tonight. He has exceptional speed and balance. He has transitioned well in his first year without any of the offseason.”

 

(On if this is the fastest team since he has been here) “I don’t know that. I’d say it’s probably one of the biggest teams we’ve had but I don’t know that could say it’s one of the fastest. We’ll find out. We’re really not a team yet. We are a roster right now. I think time will tell, but that’s a good question. I don’t know.”
 

 

QB Drew Brees

 

What do you take away from your limited action in the game tonight?

 

“Disappointed.  We had three drives and three three-and-outs.  It’s not the way we envisioned it.  We got to third and short manageable situations and for one reason or another we didn’t convert.  That part was disappointing because we expect to go down the field and score touchdowns every time.”

 

What did you like about Chase Daniel?

 

“I thought he played really well.  For him, he knew he was going to play a significant amount of time in this game, at least a good two and a half quarters.  He knew he would get some time with the first team.  I felt like he had a good tempo for the most part during the game.  For all of us, early on, we didn’t have a good flow going as far as getting first downs.  We were 0-for I don’t how many in a row until we broke the seal on that and then got going a little bit.  I thought he made some nice throws and he as able to account for a few scores.”

 

Were you surprised that, even on limited work,  you weren’t able to move the ball like you guys usually do?

 

“Our expectations are a lot higher than that.  Like I said, it’s disappointing.  We were a couple of inches away from a touchdown on one of those.  Once we clean some of that up, we’ll be scoring.”

 

What did you think about Mark Ingram tonight?

 

“I thought he had some nice runs.  It was very limited for a lot of guys.  Even for Mark, it was a couple carries here and a couple carries there.  The playing time was just spaced out, and that’s because it’s the first preseason game and there are a lot of guys trying to get playing time and it becomes limited for quite a few players.”

 

San Francisco Head Coach Jim Harbaugh

(On his thoughts on tonight): “I thought that we would be a little bit more effective on offense. We struggled in that regard. There will be good work and good learning (that comes out of tonight). We will get back to work on Sunday.”

 

“I knew coming in that we had a lot of work to do. Tonight, we got some good reps and some good things transpired. There are some other things that we need to work on.”

 

On if he considered taking Alex Smith out of the game earlier given the amount of pressure that he was under: “No, I didn’t consider pulling him out earlier.”

 

(On his view on the amount of pressure the Saints applied tonight on defense): “They are allowed to do that. We had some errors in protection. It really comes down to we had zero man to man of bringing seven. We’ve got to make them pay for that. We didn’t capitalize on any of those opportunities, therefore they kept doing it.”

 

(On allowing Saints defensive pressure): “We have to do a better job of protecting the quarterback. (The Saints had) six sacks and six hurries. It wasn’t just one guy. There were protection issues where a guy came free. Sometimes it was the back, sometimes it was a main lineman. It was more than just one guy. We’ve got some work to do in that regard.”

 

(On penalty issues): “Penalties hurt us and cost us.”

 

(On the defense): “The positive (tonight) was the defense. (We had) three three-and-outs starting the game with their starters.”

 

(On David Akers): “David Akers hit the big 59-yard field goal, the longest of his career. That was fantastic.”

 

(On the play of Colin Kaepernick): “I think he played well and I think he played a game that he is going to be able to learn a lot from. Seeing the live bullets and at times stepping up very nicely. (He was) staring down the gun and making the throw….He forced a couple of balls. He is going to learn from that as well. Several times he got through his progression very nicely and got the ball to the back on the fourth read. He got a good amount of reps. I’m glad that he got them. It will be a good learning experience for him.”

 


QB Drew Brees

 

What do you take away from your limited action in the game tonight?

 

“Disappointed.  We had three drives and three three-and-outs.  It’s not the way we envisioned it.  We got to third and short manageable situations and for one reason or another we didn’t convert.  That part was disappointing because we expect to go down the field and score touchdowns every time.”

 

What did you like about Chase Daniel?

 

“I thought he played really well.  For him, he knew he as going to play a significant amount of time in this game, at least a good two and a half quarters.  He knew he would get some time with the first team.  I felt like he had a good tempo for the most part during the game.  For all of us, early on, we didn’t have a good flow going as far as getting first downs.  We were 0-for I don’t how many in a row until we broke the seal on that and then got going a little bit.  I thought he made some nice throws and he as able to account for a few scores.”

 

Were you surprised that, even on limited work,  you weren’t able to move the ball like you guys usually do?

 

“Our expectations are a lot higher than that.  Like I said, it’s disappointing.  We were a couple of inches away from a touchdown on one of those.  Once we clean some of that up, we’ll be scoring.”

 

What did you think about Mark Ingram tonight?

 

“I thought he had some nice runs.  It was very limited for a lot of guys.  Even for Mark, it was a couple carries here and a couple carries there.  The playing time was just spaced out, and that’s because it’s the first preseason game and there are a lot of guys trying to get playing time and it becomes limited for quite a few players.”

 

S Roman Harper

 

Can you talk about the dominating performance by the defense tonight?

 

“We wanted to come out and start fast.  I think we achieved that.  We blitzed a little bit more than what we thought we would.  Whatever Gregg Williams is thinking, we’re going to call that play.  We played well tonight and we got a couple of turnovers late which was good for the young guys.  Earlier, we have to try to fall on a couple of those fumbles they had.  We’re going to try to continue to improve and look at some things on tape to get better.”

 

How were you able to get so much pressure on the quarterback today as a defense?

 

“I thought we mixed up some of our looks.  We did a good job of disguising for the most part.  By now they should know we’re going to send some pressure.  We like to pressure the quarterback and get to them early and continue to be relentless.”

 

Can you talk about your sack and forced fumble?

 

“I came off the edge pretty free.  Anytime you get around the quarterback you try to go for the ball instead of the sack and he let me get it.”

 

 

49ers Player Quotes

San Francisco Center Jonathan Goodwin

“It’s a challenge for anybody to come into a new system and learn things. The good thing is that we are finally playing for real. It’s always good to get a game under your belt.”

 

“ This team reminds me a lot of the Saints back in 2006. You’re talking about a first year coach, there’s a lot of hunger and we have a lot to prove. And we have a lot of talent here on this team. Of course talent doesn’t win you games, but that’s what the preseason is for.”

 

“#95 RICKY JEAN-FRANCOIS: “It was the first time I’ve been in the ‘Dome since we (LSU) won the national championship and it was really weird not to see a lot of Ohio State fanes screaming against me!  But it was a great experience to return as a professional and see a lot of people I knew.”

 

“It’s great to play with the first team and get a lot of reps…that’s the only way I am going to get experience and get better. After playing just one pre-season game, we now have an opportunity to correct our mistakes and get better and prepare for the season.”

 

 

 Alex Smith (quarterback): “We didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, but we came in and executed as best we could. It was terrific to just get out there and play. We are now in a routine. Now we have to look at the film and just get better. We have a long way to go but we started the season tonight.”

 

“I think we will be a lot better this year. We have a new head coach and he is really pushing us, so we are only going to get better.”

by Ed Staton

(Visit Louisiana Sports t\Talk.com to order you Matt Ingram jerseys and LSU/Oregon game shirts).

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  

 

Website: www.louisianasportstalk.com

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