The 49ers led 21-10 at one point, but the Saints got themselves back in the game before turning the ball over deep in their own half late in overtime. Following the turnover, 49ers kicker Phil Dawson was able to kick the game-winning field goal, as the 49ers improved to 5-4 on the season.
It was a huge win all around for the 49ers, who are now back in the playoff race, and there were plenty of numbers worth noting from Sunday’s key victory.
Numbers worth noting
3: Takeaways by the 49ers. Coming into the game, being able to force turnovers was one of the keys for the 49ers, and they were able to do just that against the Saints. The most important turnover was Drew Brees’ fumble in overtime, which was forced by Ahmad Brooks and recovered by linebacker Chris Borland.
2: Penalties committed by the 49ers against New Orleans. Overall, the 49ers played a very disciplined game and committing only two penalties for a total of 15 yards was surely a large factor in San Francisco’s overtime victory.
3: Number of red zone conversions by the 49ers. Having struggled mightily in recent weeks, the 49ers were able to convert three out of their four red zone attempts, which is a positive sign for the offense going forward.
144: Rushing yards for the 49ers. Overall, San Francisco was underperforming on offense, partly due to their inability to effective run the football. Against the Saints, however, the 49ers established the run early and stuck to it down the stretch, including in overtime.
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17: Tackles by linebacker Borland. Filling in for Patrick Willis is no easy feat, but Borland has done an excellent job for Vic Fangio’s defense in Willis’ absence. After racking up 18 tackles against the St. Louis Rams last week, Borland had another great game with 17 tackles against New Orleans.
76.3: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s rating in the victory. Kaepernick made some tough throws early on in the game, and an early fumble was his only major mistake. But he still struggled overall, completing only 14 of 32 passes for 210 yards and one touchdown. Kaepernick will have to play better if the 49ers want to build up a winning streak going forward.
5: Drops by San Francisco’s wide receivers. This number includes 4 drops by wide receiver Anquan Boldin, which is unusual for him. All of the blame shouldn’t fall on Kaepernick’s shoulders, as the receivers struggled to hold onto the ball against New Orleans.
20-9: The 49ers record on the road under Jim Harbaugh, which is the best in the NFL since he became coach in 2011.