What We Saw: Week 12

The What We Saw team recaps everything you missed from Week 12

New Orleans Saints @ San Francisco 49ers

Final Score: 49ers 13, Saints 0

Writer: Michael James (@MikeoftheFF on Twitter)


San Francisco hosted New Orleans at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara CA with the Saints attempting to fight their way back to .500 in the volatile NFC South and the 49ers are looking to keep up with their first-place tie with Seattle.  The Saints took the kick-off to start the game, but on the 4th play of the drive, Alvin Kamara would fumble the ball over to the 49ers and San Francisco took over already in New Orleans territory for their first drive of the game.  Highlighted by a Deebo Samuel catch up the right sideline for 20 yards, the 49ers drove inside the 10 but failed to punch through the Saints’ defense, bringing out Robbie Gould to put the 49ers on the board for 3 points.



After trading punts, the Saints took the ball to midfield on an Andy Dalton 35-yard heave to Rashid Shaheed but unfortunately, the drive would end with them punting it back over.  With both defenses playing relentlessly, it was a struggle for either offense to get anything meaningful going.  After trading even more punts, the 49ers sparked some life to them as with a naked bootleg for Jimmy Garoppolo who hit Brandon Aiyuk for 27 yards across midfield.  They followed that up with another completion to Aiyuk for an additional 20 yards and San Francisco was just inside the red zone.  After Elijah Mitchell punched it down to the New Orleans 3-yard line, Garoppolo opts to throw it to Jauan Jennings to bring up 4th and Goal on the 1 as Jennings cut his route short of the goal line instead of on it.  It is worth nothing, Christian McCaffery was wide open in the end zone uncovered, but Garoppolo just didn’t notice.  A delayed quarterback sneak getting stuffed on the next play resulted in a turnover on downs to the Saints.  Oof.



We finally got some offense, with Mitchell breaking up the middle for a 30-yard touchdown… and it’s called back offensive holding.  But they would go back to Mitchell two more times before passing it to Jennings for a ball that was tipped by the defense into the arms of Jennings for our first touchdown of the game as San Francisco took us to halftime up 10-0 in this barn burner of a defensive showdown.

On a drive that started on their own 25 from the touchback, the 49ers would take it to midfield off a Samuel short catch and he would run up to midfield for 16 yards.  Then we had 4 straight plays each with 4 penalties, but the big one was roughing the passer that would put them in field goal range for another Gould kick to add 3 points to the 49ers’ lead.  In a drive that saw Taysom Hill line up as quarterback three times (3 rushes, -1 yards) the Saints moved the chains near the red zone but a penalty would take them to 4th and long bringing out Wil Lutz to miss the field goal attempt keeping New Orleans scoreless and the 49ers’ streak of second half shut outs since Week 7 alive.  The Saints moved the ball to almost midfield off a Shaheed catch and run for 18 yards, then crossed midfield with a deep ball to Chris Olave for 20 yards.  After that Nick Bosa registered a late hit on Hill’s throw to produce a 15-yard penalty that would take the Saints into the red zone, where Kamara would catch the ball and proceed to fumble it just short of the goal line turning it over for the second time today to the 49ers.



Bosa would make up for it later though after the 49ers punted out of their own end zone and gave the ball to the Saints in 49er territory.  After going for it (again) on 4th and goal, Bosa would sack Dalton giving the ball back to San Francisco on downs.  This would end up being the last hurrah as the 49ers would run for 4 more first downs running out the final quarter and ending the game for the 49ers’ shutout, 13-0 despite multiple chances for the Saints to kick some field goals.



New Orleans Saints




Andy Dalton: 18/29, 204 Yards | 4 Carries, 21 Yards
Taysom Hill: 0/1


I present you with the week 12 leading rusher for the Saints, Andy Dalton.  San Francisco’s defense played hyper-aggressive, giving no time for Dalton at all to be comfortable in the pocket.  Heck, it was hard to find anything resembling a “pocket” on most snaps.  As a result, you see a stat line that only has 18 completions and 200 yards.  He took care of the ball, however, recording no interceptions.  Which means something when you’re Andy Dalton.  I am going to look for quarterback hurries for the 49ers’ defense after this game because it felt like from watching this game it will be high.  This team was 4 for 11 on third down conversions, the longest being 3 yards to go.  The Saints turned the ball over, be it a fumble or on downs, twice in the red zone, just absolutely demoralizing to watch.



Running Back


Alvin Kamara: 7 Carries, 13 Yards | 7 Targets, 6 Receptions, 37 Yards | 2 Fumble (Lost)
Mark Ingram II: 4 Carries, 10 Yards | 1 Target
Taysom Hill: 6 Carries, 13 Yards


If I just told you that Dalton was the team’s leading rusher, you know this section is going to be bare.  Alvin Kamara came into this season with 5 fumbles in his career.  He is now up to 9 so far after this season after adding two more today.  The first on the game’s opening drive, and the second at the goal line, a real back-breaker.  He would have put up a double-digit day if not for the fumbles, but then again he might have had a touchdown if he didn’t fumble, so yeah.  It was good to see his utilization in the passing game as San Francisco’s front line was just shutting everything down.



Wide Receiver/Tight End


Chris Olave: 9 Targets, 5 Receptions, 62 Yards
Jarvis Landry: 4 Targets, 2 Receptions, 20 Yards
Rashid Shaheed: 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 53 Yards | 1 Carry, 6 Yards
Taysom Hill: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 7 Yards
Adam Trautman: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 17 Yards
Tre’Quan Smith: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 8 Yards


Speaking of fumbles, okay this one wasn’t technically a fumble, but Chris Olave had a 30-yard pass thrown to him by Taysom Hill that he caught and brought in only to let go of.  Thankfully for the Saints, he did not make a “football move” so it was only considered incomplete.  But compliments to Hill, it was a gorgeous-looking pass.  Two plays later, Dalton hit him with another 30-yard arc that went to his hands, but unfortunately had a third hand of a defender preventing him from bringing it in.  At this point of the season, I don’t need to tell you that Olave is legit, but considering the defense he was playing against today, these were encouraging results for the rookie star wideout.

No one else on the team really amounted to anything.  Rashid Shaheed only had two catches but used his speed to pick up extra yards after the catch which helped add to his stats.  On the one drive where they had it with first and goal to go, the three people that got end zone looks were Jarvis Landry, Mark Ingram, and Hill.  Juwan Johnson had two targets in this game but failed to bring in either.



San Francisco 49ers




Jimmy Garoppolo: 26/37, 222 Yards, TD | 4 Carries, 4 Yards


My goodness, you face a defense that shuts down your running game and you unleash a pass-happy Jimmy Garoppolo.  Jimmy G had 28 pass attempts today for 175 yards… at halftime.  I don’t know if they just panicked out of the run game early or were just practicing for future games in the postseason, but Garoppolo had more pass attempts at halftime than he had in 4 complete games this season, two shy of it being 6 complete games.  The Saints were also quarterback bullies today hitting him 6 times and hurrying him a lot more.  It wasn’t as pretty of a performance today as they were in Mexico last week.  He had an interception bailed out by a defensive penalty, another one that was almost picked off on a bad throw in the end zone, and his lone touchdown of the day was tipped by a defender and got lucky that it was tipped right into the arms of his receiver.  Despite 26 completions, most of them were short-yardage plays as the Saints also mounted a lot of pressure forcing quick releases.



Running Back


Christian McCaffrey: 11 Carries, 32 Yards | 6 Targets, 4 Receptions, 17 Yards
Elijah Mitchell: 7 Carries, 35 Yards | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 8 Yards
Jordan Mason: 5 Carries, 25 Yards


The 49ers lined up a lot of two running back sets that featured Samuel and Christian McCaffrey.  Almost none of them were handoffs, but rather the quarterback’s choice of which direction to throw it into the flat- left to McCaffrey or right to Samuel.  McCaffrey did not get much in the way of open holes to get downfield when being handed the ball, and just generally did not have a very productive day.  The 6 targets were encouraging, but the yards were lacking.  They all came in the first half before he was put on a restricted snap count in the second half.  He did have a deep route that Garoppolo sailed 7 yards over his head that would have completely changed the way his stat line read for the day if he had been able to hit him in stride.

In the second half, he seemed to have his snaps limited as he did something to his knee that took him out for multiple points in the following drives to have doctors look at it and try to loosen it up.  You could see they added something to his knee pads on the sidelines.  We’ll see what this week turns up.  The more effective runner today was Elijah Mitchell, who broke through for a 30-yard touchdown only to have it called back from holding on their tight end.  Ouch.  Then he was ruled out at halftime for an injury Shanahan said looks like a potential MCL sprain that will need to be monitored for managers of Mitchell, McCaffrey, and those looking at the potential of Jordan Mason moving forward.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Brandon Aiyuk: 8 Targets, 5 Receptions, 65 Yards
Deebo Samuel: 7 Targets, 3 Receptions, 43 Yards
Jauan Jennings: 7 Targets, 6 Receptions, 49 Yards, TD
George Kittle: 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 26 Yards
Ray-Ray McCloud III: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 12 Yards
Kyle Juszczyk: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 2 Yards


The star of the first half was Jauan Jennings that was who Garoppolo looked at most of the first two quarters.  He brought in 5 of his 6 catches on the day including his first touchdown of the season.  Brandon Aiyuk had 47 yards at halftime, 27 of them coming off a downfield bomb, and ended up the most targeted receiver for Garopollo.  Deebo Samuel found his usual work by picking up chunk yards after catching a short toss but was only able to bring in 3 of his 7 targets.  George Kittle did have an end zone target early in the game but it was a poorly thrown ball that was closer to being picked off than it was being caught for a touchdown.  All of his work came in the first half and was not targeted once in the second half.

In the end, this was a rough one to watch with not a lot of offense to report on.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.